Go RVing brings ‘Wildhood’ to a new generation

The organization shifts its platform to meet demand among younger people who want to keep their adventurous spirit alive during a pandemic.

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RVing has typically been seen as a pastime for families and empty-nesters, but with adventurous millennials left with few options to explore, Go RVing Canada is updating its “Wildhood” platform to give them a new way to satisfy their travel itch.

The new phase of the campaign, “Live Your Wildhood,” includes a more direct call to action for people considering the RVing lifestyle, says Christopher Mahony, president of the not-for-profit lifestyle organization. Through TV, online video and social media, the campaign’s creative promotes the lifestyle by showing people disconnecting from their everyday lives, getting out and exploring – all with the help of an RV, of course.

Meanwhile, a revamped website offers helpful resources, such a trip planner and buyer’s guide, to those who are considering the lifestyle.

The pandemic has impacted the RVing industry significantly. Though many dealers had to shut down in the early stages of lockdowns, by May, “there was a huge increase in demand,” explains Mahony. There was a 36% increase in page visits on the “find a dealer” section of its website, with traffic increasing 80% for sections on trip itineraries, showing that more people were searching and planning trips. Some dealers even managed to report significant increases in sales, despite pandemic closures and restrictions.

Some of the increase could be attributed to a lack of other options in the midst of a pandemic. But Mahony says the biggest driver was a shift in the industry’s typical customer demographic: over 65% of people planning RV trips are now under the age of 55. While other demographics, including “adventurous families, empty-nesters and zoomers,” remain essential to the organization, Mahony says it has been connecting better with “young adventurers” – people in their 30s who don’t have kids.

“I wouldn’t say we’re targeting them more, but perhaps relating to them better,” he says, though couldn’t disclose if its marketing budget has changed along with this shift. “One of our barriers has always been the misconception that RVing is not for people like me. But now we’re seeing young, adventurous people who might not have gone RVing in the past, that are considering it because of the restrictions in travel.”

The goal for the new effort is to show younger people, in particular, that RVing is a lifestyle for them – the spot has very few rambunctious children or serene-looking retirees, instead focusing on millennials who are pursuing their spirit of adventure. And though the campaign was devised before the pandemic, it has offered a fitting message for people at a time when they may be looking for an escape from their everyday lives, Mahony adds.

“We’ve always been talking about the nature of RVing. At its very core, it’s about getting outdoors and into wide open spaces,” Mahony says. “‘Live Your Wildhood’ is probably truer than ever now.”

Go RVing Canada worked with its agencies of record, Doug&Partners on advertising and Agnostic on PR, on the campaign. It will officially launch at the Toronto Spring Camping and RVing show on Feb. 25. The revamped website launched this week.