Discover Boating gaining exposure

CHICAGO – Since its debut in April 2006, the Discover Boating consumer marketing campaign has increased awareness of the Discover Boating brand by 36 percent, with more than one-third of all people claiming to be aware of the ongoing effort, Discover Boating officials said in a release yesterday.

Those findings are from a recent online survey of 4,300 non boat-owning Americans conducted by New York-based Russell Research Inc. A similar study was conducted following completion of the marketing campaign’s first year, which showed an increase of 25 percent in Discover Boating brand awareness. These new results exceed the 2006 findings by 11 percent and this year’s goal of 30 percent.

“In comparison to other major U.S. brands, Discover Boating’s overall budget is much leaner, which is why it’s even more remarkable that we’ve increased awareness to such an impressive level after just two years,” said Carl Blackwell, vice president of Marketing & Communications for Grow Boating Inc. and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “Our scores result from a combination of marketing initiatives, including advertising, public relations and event and interactive marketing—all of which play an integral role in spreading positive boating messages to Americans.”

Specific to the advertising campaign, the research showed a high score of 79 percent “likeability” for the “Dogs” television commercial. Scores above 60 percent indicate the likelihood that a commercial will influence consumer perception and behavior. What’s more, the research also revealed that one-third of non boat-owning Americans who viewed the Discover Boating television commercials said the ads would have a positive effect on their likelihood to go boating in the future, with 48 percent of viewers saying they are “extremely likely” or “very likely” to go boating sometime in the next 12 months.

Demonstrating the campaign’s impact, is already seeing Web traffic approach the industry’s goal of 3 million visitors. In addition, orders for the “Get Started in Boating” DVD have topped 50,000 and the number of potential boat-buyers requesting direct contact from manufacturers and dealers is just shy of 20,000—an increase of 7,000 over 2006 totals.

Another factor contributing to this year’s increased brand awareness is the 2007 Discover Boating public relations effort, which is expected to exceed 200 million media impressions by the end of September. These results will surpass the industry’s 2006 goal by more than 50 million media impressions. Local initiatives in key markets across the country are driving a strong surge in media attention related to boating and the boating lifestyle. National initiatives are also impacting media coverage with major media placements in 2007 including: Wall Street Journal; New York Times; Reuters; Chicago Tribune; Los Angeles Times; CBS Early Show; ESPN the Magazine; CNBC; Fox & Friends; FHM Magazine; and many more.

Event marketing opportunities have also helped spark a growing consumer interest in Discover Boating. Most recently, in support of the 2007 National Marina Day on Aug., marinas across the country hosted a series of events previously registered on’s “Test Drive Calendar.” This unique Web site feature, unveiled in June, gives visitors a dedicated resource to seek out local boating outlets. Manufacturers and dealers simply log on to and post their scheduled boating demos/test drives on the calendar for consumers to view. More than 80 events have been listed to date, with new events added weekly. The “Test Drive Calendar” is just one of several benefits in the works as part of a “Test Drive/Demo Days” pilot program being tested this year, with a more aggressive launch slated for 2008.

“One of the primary reasons we’ve been so effective at increasing consumer awareness of the Discover Boating brand is that we have worked diligently to integrate all our various marketing efforts and create a strong tie-in to the overall campaign,” says Blackwell. “All of our outreach—whether through television and print advertising, PR efforts or event marketing—collectively drives consumers back to, where they can go to learn more about the boating lifestyle. Keeping our messaging clear, consistent and connected is ultimately fueling our success.”

Brands align with boating lifestyle
In a separate press release, Discover Boating officials also reported that at least 72 non-endemic companies have used boating in their televised product commercials in the past six months.

Companies that feature boating in their current advertising include:

  • Allianz Group
  • Allstate
  • Anheuser Busch
  • AT&T
  • Connecticut Lottery
  • Daimler Chrysler
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Geico
  • Heineken
  • H&R Block
  • IHOP
  • Illinois Lottery
  • Izod
  • Kellogg’s
  • Legoland
  • Long John Silvers
  • McDonald’s
  • MetLife
  • Mountain Dew
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Nissan
  • Pennzoil
  • Pepsico
  • Progressive Insurance
  • Quaker
  • Red Bull
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Travelers Insurance
  • Sunny Delight
  • Toyota
  • UBS
  • “With the Discover Boating marketing campaign rounding out its second summer boating season, boating is making its way into mainstream America,” said Blackwell. “In turn, major corporations are increasingly associating their products with the lifestyle that comes with being on the water.”

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