MDRA attendees address funding of industry ad campaign

PALM BEACH, Fla. – Over 60 senior executives representing boat manufacturers and suppliers were updated on efforts to grow boating at the April 18-19 Marine Design Resource Alliance's (MDRA) Eighth Annual Creative Conference, according to a statement from MDRA on Friday.

A discussion session focusing on the merits of developing and funding a national marketing communications boating campaign took place at the conference. It included presentations by Tom Faludy, vice president, Group & Corporate Development of Scott Fetzer Corp., Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association and John Dorton, president of Mastercraft Boat Co. and chairman of the Grow Boating marketing committee, MDRA said.

Dammrich updated attendees on a recent meeting of the Grow Boating Committee in St. Petersburg, Fla., while Dorton outlined tentative plans for launching a national advertising program promoting boating later this year.

Faludy, who spearheaded creation of the GO RVing campaign, detailed the recreational vehicle industry's efforts in creating and funding the GO RVing program, which in its eighth year has been credited with building a positive public image of the RV lifestyle and helping to drive growth in RV sales over the last several years.

The three-hour session included two hours of questions and answers from attendees, including nearly 20 boat and engine company CEOs, as well as executives from industry suppliers, MDRA said.

Few questioned the merits of creating a program, similar to GO RVing, for the recreational marine industry. Instead, much of the discussion focused on how the industry might fund such an effort. In the end, most attendees said the time has come for the boating industry to reach out to new prospects through a comprehensive marketing communications effort, according to MDRA.

"Our goal simply was to bring together industry leaders and hopefully move forward the dialogue on this long debated issue," said Peter Granata, MDRA president. "The feedback we've received from attendees is that we accomplished just that."

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