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Boating Association Seeks Agency

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A trio of boating trade associations is in the early stages of a search for an agency to develop the industry's first national campaign designed to drive participation in recreational boating.

The coalition, made up of the Marine Retailers Association of America in Oak Park, Ill., the Marina Operators Association of America in Washington, D.C., and the National Marine Manufacturers Association in Chicago, hopes to pick a consultant within two months, with the goal of selecting an agency by September, said Carl Blackwell, vp of marketing and communications at the NMMA.

Some details, including spending and the scope of work, are still being hashed out. In an RFP distributed to search consultants last month, the NMMA estimated the budget would be between $5-15 million.

"With a search consultant retained and research in hand, we will begin to identify our agency needs," said Blackwell. "Concurrently, a task force consisting of industry leaders is discussing funding scenarios and will make a decision this summer if and when funding will begin."

Blackwell, who joined NMMA in September, is spearheading the process as staff liaison to a marketing committee made up of 12 manufacturers, retailers and dock operators. Before NMMA, he spent eight years at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, where he was executive director of product marketing, dealing with the retail and food-service trade. From 1991-95, he was marketing director at Olive Garden. Blackwell also has agency experience, as an account supervisor at Chicago shop Bentley, Barnes & Lynn.