For more than 50 years, Winnebago has welcomed owners to Forest City, Iowa for its annual Grand National Rally (GNR), a week-long celebration of Winnebago RVs and their owners. This year’s event took place July 25-28, but many attendees stayed at the rally grounds for a full week of camping and outdoor activities.
After being canceled last year, Winnebago was pleased to welcome back attendees – capped at 750 RVs. GNR provided an opportunity to meet Winnebago employees, tour the product display area, participate in educational seminars, receive RV service, and enjoy evening entertainment.
Many attendees also supported Winnebago’s community service efforts by participating in an on-site blood drive, signing up for RV Care-a-Vanner Build Day, benefitting Habitat for Humanity, and competing in a trash clean-up contest.
For more than 20 years, DKY has helped plan, promote and execute the rally, creating collateral and signage, including COVID-safety and social distancing signage this year.
As the first in-person Winnebago customer event since the pandemic began, GNR offered the chance to re-engage with attendees. DKY was called upon to flex its creative muscle and provide some new ideas to enhance the on-site customer experience and engagement.
In response, our team styled RVs with props to accurately reflect the lifestyle segments the products support. For example, we used a pergola with lounge furniture and dining set to enhance the impact of the models geared towards customers who like to entertain.
We also used outdoor activity props, such as bikes and kayaks to demonstrate the models that support more adventurous off-grid lifestyles. Products aimed at families featured a picnic table, fire pit, and inflatable kids’ toys. Finally, we used more casual outdoor furniture and other props to connect with customers who prefer to be more comfortable when enjoying the great outdoors.
As a result, attendees enjoyed the more inviting product display space and were able to relate or see themselves more closely as an owner of a particular new vehicle based on the lifestyle set-up.
GNR is a summer highlight for many RV owners. To ignite even greater interest, DKY created an anthem video set against lively music that showcased rally highlights from previous years. Two of DKY’s senior art directors were on hand at this year’s event to capture photos and videos, which our team is editing and producing for Winnebago’s website.
Also new this year, DKY provided information about the #SupportYourParks campaign, which we helped launch earlier this summer. A QR code on campaign materials made it easy for rally-goers to register their support for the initiative, participate in the giveaway contest, and ignite donations to the National Park Foundation.
Plus, DKY helped coordinate a live concert by folk musician Chris Koza, who sang his version of the campaign’s anthem, “On the Road Again.” Chris’s performance was one of the most well-attended events at the rally.
Normally, Winnebago would also offer in-person tours of its manufacturing facilities at GNR. Instead, Winnebago pursued a hybrid approach, enlisting DKY to produce “virtual tours” highlighting various motorized vehicles. The videos were then broadcast outdoors underneath a large tent, with Winnebago staff providing a live Q&A.
The hybrid approach at shows may be sticking around for the long-term since they’ve proven popular and are attracting more participants at a proportionally lower cost and with a reduced carbon footprint.
As noted in Forbes, “One way for companies to protect themselves in case of another pandemic… is to plan all future events using the hybrid model.” Many businesses seem to agree. According to an industry survey, half (50.7 percent) of executives think that in the future, all live events will indeed possess a virtual dimension, according to Marketing Charts, 2020.
Whatever the future brings, DKY is poised to help companies engage consumers in creative ways in person, virtually, and everything in between.
For more information about DKY’s event planning capabilities, feel free to contact us.