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Honouring the next generation of boaters | #BehindTheIdea

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The newly rebranded Discover Boating, the world's largest online resource and guide to recreational boating, has teamed up with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and creative and media agency Cutwater to launch a campaign honouring the next generation of boaters.

Reflecting the younger and more diverse audiences the hobby has found in recent years, Cutwater Founder and CCO Chuck McBride and ECD John Norman devised the “See You Out Here” campaign, which invites long-time, new, and prospective boaters to join life on, in, and under the water in a unifying voice. 

Rooted in extensive segmentation and mindset research, with MRI-Simmons and ZMET respectively, it includes an original content library anchored by an exhilarating brand anthem film and the real stories of passionate boaters turned brand ambassadors throughout the country.

We spoke to Chuck and NMMA Vice President of North American Marketing Kevin Williams recently to gain insight into the authentic, moving narratives that for the heart of this ambitious campaign.

What was the brief?

After co-developing the refreshed visual identity, our task was to relaunch the Discover Boating brand, powered by NMMA and MRAA, as more than a resource for boating or place to find a boat. It’s a complete boating lifestyle.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

There was a lot of excitement from our end, considering this was the first campaign since winning the creative and media agency of record title. Early conversations ran smoothly. The folks at Discover Boating are very talented and collaborative. We all shared the same vision of honouring the next generation of boaters.

What was the process behind ideating the concept?

Having been lucky enough to spend my life boating, it was intuition and strategy that ultimately led the way. Our key insight was boating as a verb. When you talk to people about boating, they never show you a picture of their boat. Rather, they share pictures of all the adventures embarked on, places explored, as well as family, friends, and loved ones along for the ride.

What was the production process like?

From a production standpoint, shooting on the water is hard. It takes a lot of coordination, which is why we partnered with Camp4 Collective whose roster of directors and DPs really understood water sports and activities.

Since we never had to focus on the fibreglass, we just went out and had fun. Our cast had families and individuals who are actual boaters, so they just did what they normally do. It was up to us to make everything look fluid and visually interesting to those standing from the shore.

What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?

Filming during the late fall in North American lakes can be a problem. The weather can be really tricky, and it only gets worse as the days go by. It was hard to keep the crew warm, but everyone pulled through.

What kit/tools/software were used to create the project?

We used every kind of water-proof camera that was out there. There are no effects, just great framing and light.

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?

We took some Discover Boating team members out on a personal watercraft while we were capturing the PWC-driven sequences, and let’s just say that we had a little too much fun.

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

This is an open invitation to come out and spend some time on the water. Being on the water changes you. It makes you more aware of the surrounding natural world. It connects you to a bigger mystery of another world we have yet to fully explore.

It’s relaxing and has proven effects on improving our mental state of mind. It can be the most fun you’ve ever had.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

The whole process took about 6 months, including the refreshed visual identity.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

NMMA Vice President of North American Marketing Kevin Williams: We hope the campaign and the real stories of Khristian, Jana and Cindy, as well as Andy resonate with the next generation who are interested in exploring boating, but didn’t necessarily grow up boating.

The campaign is an open invitation to the water, and we hope people feel welcomed and inspired to join in on the fun - enjoy the comfort, freedom and sense of a community special to life on the water. Our goal is to invite the next generation while maintaining our strong connection to the current boater.

Credit list for the work?

Brand: Discover Boating

Chief Brand Officer: Ellen Bradley

Vice President of Marketing: Kevin Williams

Brand Strategy Consultant: Patricia Swindle

Agency: Cutwater

Chief Creative Officer: Chuck McBride

Executive Creative Director: John Norman

Executive Producer: Brooke Hopkins

Art Director: Kyle Morais

Senior Art Director: Chris Cavalieri

Senior Copywriter: Russell Dodson

Group Account Director: Sandy Laliberte

Director of Media: Lizzy Ryan

Executive Strategy Director: Ilana Bryant

Production Company: Camp4 Collective

Director: Anson Fogel

Executive / Line Producer and Casting Director: Michelle Wang

Director of Photography: Ben Sturgulewski

Underwater DP: Andy Mann

Photographer: Will Saunders

Post-Production: Lost Planet

Executive Producer: Krystn Wagenberg

Editor: Kenji Yamauchi

Editor - Ambassador Docs: Rachel Butler

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