This summer, the recreational boating and fishing industry rallied together in support of a public service campaign to encourage consumers to take to the water, which yielded unparalleled results on many levels. The Get On Board campaign from Take Me Fishing and Discover Boating amplified the industry’s collective voice during a time when consumer interest in safe outdoor recreation was at an all-time high amidst COVID-19 – ultimately generating 1.8 billion impressions and more than 20 million online video views.
“We joined forces with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA) to create a first-of-its-kind industry-wide effort, which uniquely positioned us to tell our story to new and existing audiences in a more impactful way,” says Frank Peterson, president and CEO of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF). We are thrilled to see an influx in participation and to have strategically sparked more meaningful engagements, including a 167% year-over-year increase in digital traffic to Take Me Fishing. Reaching new audiences is invaluable to bringing in the next generation of boaters and anglers in an organic way.”
The Get On Board integrated marketing campaign featured digital advertising, public service announcements, social media and public relations.
Highlights of the campaign’s success include:
- Three million more fishing license purchases year-over-year according to RBFF.
- 44,000 new boat buyers entered the market during the busiest selling period (March-June) according to NMMA.
- 261,000 new boats sold year to date, up 9% from 2019, marking the highest sales volume in 13 years according to NMMA.
Paid & Earned Media
- 9,768 PSA airings equating to $1.3 million in ad value.
- 1.4 billion of earned media impressions and more than 13,000 earned media placements, including articles from CNN, the Washington Post, People, HuffPost and USA Today.
- 381 million impressions from paid advertising in media outlets.
Web & Social Performance
- 107% average increase in digital traffic on Discover Boating’s website and across Take Me Fishing digital assets year-over-year, especially among target audiences like females (up 65%) and Gen Z ages 18-24 (up 155%).
- The Get On Board video was a top-viewed social post among Discover Boating’s nearly 800,000 Facebook followers.
- 1,600 uses of #TheWaterIsOpen created a social media movement among influencers, industry partners, outdoor enthusiasts, anglers and boaters.
- Social content from @TakeMeFishing and @DiscoverBoating reached 179 million impressions, a 165 percent year-over-year increase.
- 2 million likes, comments, shares, views and clicks generated by social influencers, significantly exceeding expectations in consumer interactions.
- Us The Duo generated one million views in a single week with their original cover of the Get On Board theme song and a date night video with safety tips.
- Allison Anderson went on a boating adventure and encouraged her more than 1 million followers to get on the water because of the benefits and accessibility boating offers.
“Not only was there a rise in new boat buyers and fishing licenses purchases, the Get On Board campaign piqued consumer interest at the right time and provided the perfect remedy to pandemic stress that triggered a flurry of positive attention around boating and fishing,” says NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer. “During these unprecedented times, Americans were compelled to experience the restorative power and social distancing benefits that only boating and fishing can provide. This campaign helped to motivate more people to rediscover their love for the outdoors by offering safe ways to get on the water and reconnect with loved ones.”
In 2019, RBFF saw new participation records in diverse audiences. More than four million Hispanic participants and nearly 18 million female participants participate in fishing. During the pandemic, NMMA also saw upticks in diverse boat buyers amid the pandemic compared to the baseline – more female first-time boat buyers and repeat boat buyers (up one percentage point), minorities (up three percentage points for repeat buyers) and younger demographics in first-time boat buyers (median age is 48 compared to 51).
“With the industry’s collaborative efforts, we were able to leverage the Get On Board assets and bring more awareness to boating and fishing than ever before,” says Matt Gruhn, MRAA president. “We are proud that nearly 400 marine industry businesses got involved to support the campaign and help spread the message that boating and fishing are enjoyable ways to recreate responsibly among many Americans who were yearning for safe outdoor recreation this summer.”