How To Steer Boat Sales By Using Creativity

October 18, 2018

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.

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 multi-million 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.

And 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:

So, how can you use creativity to grow your business?

Here are four more examples of creative campaigns that sold and were focused on the client and not the product:

Number 1: I remember hearing about this Porsche dealership in Toronto that was using Google Street View to capture photos of customers’ homes.

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 and for $5 you will find a designer who will design the perfect card for you that will make a big impact on your clients.

Number 2: 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!

Number 3: Or the story of the fake hand written boat proposal printed on the napkins of the boat show cafeteria.

Number 4: Once, at the Singapore Boat Show, Sunseeker distributed little foldable hand fans with the message “I am a Sunseeker fan” on it!

We can 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.

Creative Postcard #1

Post Postcard #2:

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.

But, before you do just that, there’s one thing you must be very mindful of in your marketing. And that’s this: marine sales and marketing has drastically changed over the last 5 years.

And if you don’t understand the reasons why, you’re marketing campaign will fall flat.

And so, I’ve put together the following course to give you the insights that will help you steer boat sales with creativity:

It’s free and you can get it here: 7 Days to Boat Sales Transformation

To your success!


— Vincent Finetti
Founder & Instructor

P.S. Try a listing strategy from my FREE Listing ebook here.

P.P.S. I’m doing an exclusive virtual Listings & Sales Workshop with a small group next month to go deep in applying my best strategies to your brokerage business.

Would you like to join us? If so, go here and enter your name and email for more details!

P.P.P.S Check out my client results here.

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