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How do you make the 62nd California RV Show successful?

Being the 62nd annual show makes it a real challenge to get existing customers excited about something they have known about for this many years. And finding new customers isn’t easy.

First you need to understand the audience, what it is that will create their interest to attend the RV Show and what can you do to make it more of an event than just a typical RV show. After knowing these critical facts youLogo--CA Show then build around these findings to create a successful California RV Show. It is important for the media and publicity teams to work together by exchanging information to develop a campaign that will have the greatest impact. The PR Client in this particular case is the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association). Unlike other RV shows, this is produced by the manufacturers association, not the dealers. The RV dealers are represented by displaying the manufacturers new RVs for 2015. Interested customers can talk directly to the manufacturers representatives to learn about the RVs, while the purchasing must go through the dealers.

This year’s show had several challenges. Among them was the size: over 1200 new RVs with 21 dealers that counted for 800,000 sq ft of space. To create some excitement we wanted the customers to know more about

Gayle Anderson and George Carson

Gayle Anderson and George Carson

what to expect at the show to create the “desire” to attend. To do this we worked with Gayle Anderson at KTLA, channel 5. Her solid following of viewers and her personality to make things interesting gave the show the needed publicity exposure prior to the opening. We presented to Gayle what is different. Things like Genesis Supreme RV building a 19 foot Toy Hauler at the show, a slalom challenge by Airstream, retro RVs like Winnebago’s Brave, and how roomy a Mercedes Class B Van is with a murphy bed. The local publicity helped many RV companies create the interest among potential RV buyers as well as those who might not have considered RVing but now see how much fun it can be.

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Tom Gaither and Josh

A few days later we had KCAL 9/CBS chief meteorologist Josh Rubenstein report the weather live from the California RV Show. Josh was great. He interviewed Tom Gaither, director of the show and many different manufacturers from Fleetwood, Leisure Travel Vans, to 5th wheel manufacturers. Josh even went inside a custom class A motor home built by Show Hauler.

AC Green and George Carson

AC Green and George Carson

To give the show added enjoyment we had former baseball greats like Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Chuck Finley and Randy Jones do a meet and greet sessions on different days. AC Green, former Lakers player, also known as Iron Man was there on Sunday to sign autographs with fans. And to rock the show, Bret Michaels the lead rock star in the band Poison gave the crowd a fun time signing his name on most anything his fans handed him.

This is one way to create a publicity campaign and make it successful.

Our company was appointed as the publicity agency for the recent 61st California RV Show in Pomona at the Fairplex. The goal was to increase attendance from previous years, which was about 20,000 people. We analyzed what the show had done in the past and made recommendations. This was a challenge because the show runs 10 days.

One of the first items on our list for this PR Client was to generate a lot of news media attention, which was not done in previous RV shows. Another element was to establish a partnership with a charity, we choose the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Orange County. I now wanted the event to have a personality who is an RVer and is a diabetic. This lead me to contact Bret Michaels. Bret is a Type 1 diabetic, and last summer had a successful show called “Rock My RV”. What a perfect match! After contacting Bret Michaels and telling him of our goal to help raise money for the ADA, he immediately wanted to participate.

George Carson and Bret Michaels

The California RV Show, our PR Client still needed other “attractions” to keep people coming all 10 days of the show. Having unique RVs on display would give the consumers something to see while shopping for their favorite RV to purchase. I contacted three of the Rock My RV owners from the show whose RVs were completely re-built. The three RVs included Tapout, Gypsy RV and the Luxury RV. Now we had a foundation for the publicity.

We first focused on the new RVs having Gayle Anderson from KTLA do interviews with various manufacturers reps from Fleetwood, Winnebago, Airstream, Diablo Toy Haulers to describe their products. We also had interviews arranged with the owners of the Rock My RVs and did an entire segment on Glamping. That’s a new term used to describe “Glamours Camping.” Other media coverage include CBS chief meteorologist Josh Rubenstein who did interviews while reporting the weather during his morning segments. ABC did an interview with the director, Tom Gaither, and we had the Hispanic news media, Que Buena radio and Telemundo TV do an interview with the first Hispanic owned manufacturer of RVs, Pablo Carmona of Genesis Supreme in Perris, California.

Bret and Punkass from Tapout throwing T-Shirts

TV news media coverage began 5 days before the show opened. Other news coverage in print and radio also began early and continued throughout the week of the show. Our publicity enhanced all the ad placement resulting in a 39% attendance increase over last year. Having a plan and knowing how and when to implement that plan is critical to getting maximum news media coverage.

If your business or event needs a boost, contact George Carson at 949-477-9400 before your competition does!