How To Steer Boat Sales By Using Creativity

How to steer boat sales by using creativity

Have you ever thought of using creativity as a marketing and selling tool?

It might be a great idea but the most recurring problem, in this case, is making sure that it actually brings results in sales and not just amusement or curiosity from non-prospective clients.

Did you know that one of the most viral campaigns in the advertising industry actually generated a decline in sales?

The Evian “Roller Babies” video was released in 2009. It went viral and attracted 50 million views. The brand lost market shares and sales dropped by 25 percent. (More here). Surprisingly, this Roller Babies video was one of the most awarded.

It is frustrating to see that advertising agencies are rewarded for their creativity and not for their results. Who cares how viral, creative or beautiful your ads look if they don’t help you sell anything! Some marketers might tell you that they are doing some branding. But branding is what marketers say when they don’t know how to get you business. “Sorry, we didn’t get you any business but we are branding it.” Always remember that if it is not selling, it is not marketing!

I remember watching a video from Dan Kennedy, a world class marketer. He mentioned that every time he asked an audience which company used a little bunny to play drums in their commercials, 30% would say Duracell when it was actually Energizer. What does this mean? It means that a shocking percentage of viewers remember your advert but forget the name of your brand.

Many small businesses fall into the trap of attempting to imitate the brand strategies of big, international companies like McDonald’s or Starbucks. These companies have multimillion dollar advertising budgets to build their corporate brands. You cannot afford to use the same strategy. You would be wasting your total budget.

Be cautious of agencies or marketers that will gladly take your money and try sell you on this exact approach. They often talk about building your brand through repeated exposure, which essentially translates to you spending thousands of dollars on advertising that doesn’t get measurable results.

I am sure that you don’t have the budget of Evian to create a creative advert or video, so let’s have a look at two examples adapted for smaller businesses.

The first one I chose is Nitro Boats’ commercial. Their video went viral with close to 3.5M views.

My second choice is the brilliant Ojal Valley Taxidermy that has over 15M views.

What we can learn from these videos:

They both did a fantastic job getting millions of views, but what impact did the videos have on their sales?

The first video is really funny, but we have a hard time understanding what is being advertised. The message at the end is not clear and could be confusing, (doesn’t state boat anywhere). Finally, the message (even if quite funny) seems to be a bit insulting to women. We all know the influence that women have when it comes to boat sales. This advert might not help you get your wife’s approval on buying the boat.

The second video is brilliant. It’s very funny but most of all very focused on advertising the business to the viewer. The message is extremely clear and the use of repetition reinforces the commercial message and call to action.

As you can see, creativity can help you sell just as it can create confusion or send the wrong message to your audience.

I have seen and heard a lot of different uses of creativity travelling to boat shows all around the world. Here are some examples for you:

How you can use creativity to grow your business.
Here are two examples of creative campaigns that sold and were focused on the client and not the product:

I remember hearing about this Porsche dealership in Toronto that was using Google Street View to capture photos of customers’ homes. Then, they would use Photoshop to add a Porsche in front of their driveway and send them a beautiful postcard with the caption: ‘It is closer than you think’!

You could do the same with your boat if your client lives in a waterfront property or if you sell the boat on a trailer. Just go on For $5 you will find a designer who will design the perfect card for you that for sure will make a big impact on your clients.

I also read about Cessna’s selling campaign for their plane, the Citation. They sent prospects carrier pigeons with their address and asked them to release the pigeon if they wanted an invitation to an event based on the latest Citation.It was a very original and fun way to request marketing material. I am sure that a few pigeons finished on the prospect’s kitchen table or some got lost on the way back. However, once the interested prospects released the pigeon and it arrived at its destination, they sent the customer a brochure with an invitation for a show event. And apparently, this campaign generated two Citation sales!

Or the story of the fake hand written boat proposal printed on the napkins of the boat show cafeteria. At the last Singapore Boat Show, Sunseeker distributed little foldable hand fans with the message ‘I am a Sunseeker fan’ on it!

We personally use creativity to keep in touch with our customers in a fun and creative way. Below are 2 examples of cards that we designed and sent to our clients.


I think that there is a lot of room for creativity in the boating industry. Marine marketers are quite conservative but it is well known that we are in a fun industry, so chances are that your clients will love it.

So go out there and bring your creativity game on. Forget about the applause or awards and make sure that your message is clear, and most of all, helps you sell some boats.

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Vincent Finetti

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2 thoughts on “How To Steer Boat Sales By Using Creativity”

  1. Hi, I am trying to bring new and creative ideas to increase boat sales. I just started one month ago and have been researching how effective our website is to our sales ratio. I can relate to what you have already said on your blog. I would love to hear what you might have in mind. We also, sale hunting and fishing equipment. I consider our customers and target market: our friends and future friends. Thanks for your great ideas.
    Amanda Young

  2. Vincent Finetti

    Great Amanda. Email me your website and a few of your ideas. I will give it some thoughts.

    vincent @

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