Richards Goes RVing

The Richards Group accelerated past the competition to win GoRVing’s estimated $40 million advertising account. The real challenge, however, will be increasing recreational vehicle business in a soft economy.

The Dallas agency outperformed Atlanta’s WestWayne, The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., and Baltimore in-cumbent Eisner Communications in the finals of a review. Presentations were made last week at the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.

Each finalist had one hour to present a creative, strategic and media approach to the Reston, Va.-based association’s board. The pitch was followed by a brief Q&A session.

“Stan Richards made a good case when he talked about what his advertising has done for Home Depot and Corona beer,” said Gary LaBella, RVIA’s vice president of marketing. “Now the expectation is he’ll do the same for us.”

A television, radio and print campaign, built around a “Pursuing your passion” theme, is expected to break later this year.

Richards’ efforts will also include tie-ins for the association’s 1,700 RV dealerships.

The RV industry, which encompasses manufacturers and dealers as well as park and campsite operators, has seen business trend downward over the last year. The slump follows a five-year growth spurt that saw the average age of RV aficionados drop nearly a decade to the mid-40s.

Richards’ task over the next three years is to continue to drive that demographic downward to include 30-somethings. At the same time, the agency’s work must help build retail sales and fees income.