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Should white boaters be replaced in our ads?

One of the major topics at last month’s first-ever boating summit in Chicago was the need to reach minorities with our boating lifestyle message as a path to growth. So, it might seem that all we need to do is replace some white people in our ads with minorities, right? Well, it’s a start but it’s not that simple.

While diversity in appearance in ads is important, new research is revealing that alone won’t get the job done. “One thing we heard is not to just take an ad that has white people in it and replace them with an Asian family,” said Lauren Weinberg, vice president of strategic insights and research at Yahoo!, whose group conducted the study with Mindshare and Added Value. “They said brands are picking people who may look like me, but they are not speaking to concepts that are relatable to me. Respondents said they would prefer to see ‘someone who is not famous, but who is authentic’ as a spokesperson for a brand, not just ‘white-washed celebrities’.”

What it really means is that ads should reflect some core values and interests of the specific minority. For example, only 25 percent of white respondents indicated food was a cultural “driver” for them, but 59 percent of Hispanics cited food as a big “driver.” So, showing a white family eating on board will have minimum impact while seeing a Hispanic family enjoying a meal on the back deck would strongly resonate. That’s because Hispanics say an ad with a Hispanic family sitting down and enjoying a meal together shows that the brand knows what is important to that group, Weinberg explained.

Another example of notable cultural “drivers” for us in the boating industry is parenting/family. While 23 percent of whites indicated parenting/family was a “driver,” 45 percent of Asians cited it and 54 percent of Hispanics noted it as a big “driver.” The high marks for parenting/family by these minorities plays right into the boating lifestyle. But, of course, our ads, digital and otherwise, must show it. We must come to understand what ethnic authenticity is for various minorities and incorporate it in our ads.
It’s been a long time coming but there now seems to be growing agreement we’ve been missing the boat when it comes to appealing to ethnic minorities. That’s not really a revelation, I know, but it is an undeniable path to growth. Industry leaders like Thom Dammrich, NMMA president, and top marine marketing veterans like Wanda Kenton Smith have been pointing it out for years. But now, ethnics are also acknowledging that advertising, especially digital, is failing to engage them.

In the study, Asian-Americans, blacks and Hispanics agreed they don’t see themselves in ads. While the study did not specifically address marine products, or any specific products for that matter, the results are telling and clearly document what Dammrich and Smith have been saying. When asked for three brands doing a good job reaching them, most respondents said they couldn’t name even one!

In the study, 78 percent of blacks, 74 percent of Hispanics and 72 percent of Asians agreed that diversity in ads is the best reflection of the real world and, therefore, ads should show more of that diversity. Has the time finally come when boating will begin navigating in the abundant waters of diversity?


28 comments on “Should white boaters be replaced in our ads?

  1. Arch

    This subject has been discussed over and over on Soundings the last few years. I will promise you that it makes no difference whatsoever. I have made it a point to discuss this with minorities that I talk to who are boat shopping.
    #1- They said they don’t look at the race of people in ads that that it’s irrelevant. They even said that if very few minorities are boaters (let’s just say 5%), why would they show minotiries in 25% of advertising? I AGREE.
    #2- They are offended at the notion that we can increase minority representation in advertising and therefore earn their business. They told me that they have their own money, make their own decisions, and don’t need us to appeal or appease them in any special way. It’s insulting to them.
    #3- They were quick to point out that we are in a prolonged recession and that advertising to minorities isn’t going to make that go away.

    The last think they mentioned was that as long as they were not purposely EXCLUDED, they would not feel alienated. Again, I AGREE. With most boat shows being held in downtown urban areas with high % of minorites, what more do you think the industry can do? You can’t take the lake to them.
    THIS IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF THINKING BY OUR GOVERNMENT THAT HAS GOTTEN US IN TROUBLE. Trying to intervene, trying to level a playing field that is already level, trying to steer the direction in the way they see fit. It’s a free market. Don’t try to steer or regulate it. It’s dangerous and a massive waste of money and manpower.
    Until the economy recovers (housing for starters), boat sales will suffer. The government interfering in the market is what caused this recession to begin with. Efforts to increase boating among minorities will just be another wasteful project yielding little or no positive results.

  2. Shelley Golden

    I have had this same discussion with Thom Dammrich, and any one else who would listen for years. We as an industry have lost a lot of ground , for our failure to present inclusion to all minorities. Canadian Trade has made much better use of its readership than we have.What we want to do is: 1- provide better service to everyone, 2- Our ads and programs should show whites. blacks, Hispanics and Asians having fun together on there boats , just like the real world, not the narrow Marine World

  3. Van Snider

    Norm: Good article and a good point regarding putting minorities in advertising not being enough. Enticing more Blacks, Asians and Hispanics into the boating community requires not only multiple initiatives and strategies, but both for the long-term. Changing demographics require it. Each one of us is a “Boating Ambassador” and we can introduce boating to friends and business associates, many who are not white, that are unfamiliar with boating.

  4. Rick Dieterich

    This is absolutely ridiculous! It’s our fault that there aren’t more minorites boating?! Are you kidding me?! I’m so tired of the PC rhetoric. What next? Oh, I know, let’s get the government to establish boating quotas and regulations.

  5. Jim Stewart

    Advertising 101 would state that your art needs to look like your target. The boating lifestyle is attractive to ALL, there’s no question about it. What we have to do is to REACH OUT to those “underserved/under represented” audiences in a way that is culturally sensetive and effective. Simply photographing “models” that are black, asian, etc. is NOT going to be effective in reaching those audiences.

  6. Kimberly

    Really? Let me start by saying this….I have to drive thru a “minority” neighborhood to take my kid to school….do you mean to tell me it’s MY fault or the white mans fault that the streets on which they inhabit are liter ridden and there are crack houses on every corner. It’s the white man’s fault that tax dollars pay for their subsides housing where they choose to put crack house rather than making a stable home for their family! And then crapping up the neighborhood that they given and pay practically nothing for? Really? This makes me so furious I can’t even type. Honestly, what isn’t the white man’s fault? How about get a job, get a life, get some responsibility and stop blaming the world for your BS. Pull yourself up by your boot straps and take responsibility. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish feed him for a life time. Do you honestly think they care that they don’t have boats? when they’re too busy milking the system and taking what they can for free. What’s next in the already failing yachting world….subsidized yachts?

  7. Peter Swanson

    Jeez, Kimberley, your having to drive through a bad neighborhood has blinded you to the fact that there is a huge, though largerly unheralded African American middle class. The have good jobs, send their kids to college and travel, but by and large, they don’t buy boats as much as members of the white middle class. The irony is that 150 years ago, three out of five individuals working on boats in U.S. waters were black. It’s time to reconnect this group with a boating lifestyle.

    And while you a considering this. Think about learning Spanish. It will help you communicate with your next boss.


    By the comments I think we can all agree that “political correctness” is becoming a casualty of the current economic situation; and rightly so. Margaret Thacher, ” said socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money” !! Guess What !!! Boating will grow and all classes of people, including minorities of whatever persuasion, will participate if we can restore our free enterprise system which will create disposal income that can be electively used for recreational activities. Until then, everyone will be squeezed and discretionary income will cease to exist. Boating is the most expensive recreational activity the average person can pursue. Guess what goes firsr? (or is it already gone !!!!)

  9. Lou Sandoval

    Norm- good article. The ethnic component is just one part of where we are missing the proverbial ‘boat’ in the marine industry. We have also failed to make our advertising relevent to women and a younger demographic. Economics withstanding, this process has been in place for too long. While I agree with some of the comments and the Yahoo study- ethnic (age and gender) outreach does not just consist of selecting ads with models that represent your target demographic (that is patronizing)- the true shift in perspective occurs when you you alter your appeal to those groups.

    For example, to understand that a cultural driver for the Hispanic (or Asian) community is family- an ad might revolve around showing a hispanic looking family reconnecting in the cockpit of a boat, or a boat underway (perhaps representing a couple of generations of people on the boat: a grandfather, the son and his children). “Sharing the sport” if you may. That’s an example of the type of outreach that would make a difference and land better with the target customer. Balance in advertising is where the true gold lies- not just showing white haired ‘retirees’ sailing a boat.

    The other area where we have missed the boat as an industry is appealing to families (as a whole). How many of our ads feature families enjoying their boats? More now than a few years ago, but when you look at one of the reasons why we’ve not seeded a newer younger generation of boaters is that they have not been exposed to boating at a young age. (studies show that early exposure yields greater likelihood of staying in the sport longer)

    As a participant in the recent summit, I can tell you that one of the other factors that has limited access to the water is ‘affordability’. We consistently “brand” boating as a past time of the privelaged. While that might be true in some respects- we have understand that population demographics don’t support continued investment in just this sector of the market. As an industry we need to focus on selling the ability to participate in boating at various price entry points.

    How many times have you seen an insurance or financials services ad with a sailboat or ‘yacht’ in it? I absolutely love how the financial services industry equates boat ownership with a ‘sign’ that you have made it. Speaking from the perspective of sailing: A little known (yet obvious) fact is that 75% of the people that participate in sailing don’t own a boat. Growth lies in connecting with that 75% and finding the ownership model that works best for them.

    The summit was great from the perspective that it challenged the dogma that plagues the marine industry and impedes our growth. Thomm Dammrich is to be commended for his leadership in piloting the summit. It is the first step of many if there is to be a marine industry that is vibrant and viable in the years to come.

  10. Larry Russo, Sr.

    Kimberly… you have missed the point. We should not waste time and resources attempting to engage ghetto dwellers, crackheads and welfare cheats. Our economic future depends on engaging the emerging ethnic groups that will be more highly eductaed, more affluent and be more inclined to participate and adopt boating as a lifestyle. At the recent Industry Growth Summit in Chicago, we were presented with population trend data that suggests that persons of color will outnumber whites within a few decades in this country. It’s not too early to come together, as an industry, and build a sustanied campaign that will address this inevitable change in the “color of America”.

  11. Russ Jennings

    Thank you, Norm for addressing this often sensitive subject. I have been in the marine industry in one form or another since 1992. Compared to the previous industry I was in, insurance claims; the marine industry is in the Stone Age with regard to diversity in advertising and in employment.

    It is very unusual to see minorities in advertising, although I have seen some signs of progress. What is rarely seen is minorites employed in our industry, outside of manufacturing. How many minority salespeople do our dealerships employ? How many technians? How many factory sales reps are minorities?

    Unfortunately, our industry is much like Nascar. It is a “good ole boy” system, and even Nascar has attempted to increase its diversity more than we, as an industry have. It is embarrassing, actually.

    I am not a minority, and I am a political conservative, by the way. The sooner we make genuine efforts to change our mindset on this issue, both from a personal and professional standpoint, the sooner our sales to minorities will increase.

  12. C. Moore

    Lou your coments about the 75% participants in sailing not owning a boat also rings true in power boating. Even Thomm Dammrich who you commend for leadership isn’t a boat owner, neither have some of his past apointees to lead the failed Grow Boating Intiative been boat owners.

    Larry Sr. You make good & acurate points regarding hispanics & you are one of largest dealer for the largest boat builder (& influencing corporation in the marine business) & yet even yours & Searay’s website doesn’t offer it site in Spanish as an option? The only way to get information on Searays in spanish is to go to their Mexican dealers who have there own sites. Though I have noticed at the Florida Boatshows featuring Searays, Marine Max has Bilingual customer representatives, as do most south Florida dealers.
    I understand Norm’s & the focus groups point that all American businesses should understand the browning of America & the shift in being bi-lingual & they are correct, but it has been so obvious for so long it really is old news, & just reinforces how small & out of touch the US boat building & selling comunity are, outside those area where the change has happened. Putting browner faces in ad’s isn’t worth talking about. We all need to embrace the transformation that we are in the midst of – it is here & now, not tommarrow or in the future.
    Look around, look at what you are reading: Even Soundings & Trades Only, (print & digital) are only available in White english. The change has started at the small builders & dealer levels in those area that have or are going thru the transformation because they had to for those builders & dealers to survive & grow.
    It’s the marine media, the larger builders, the NMMA: who controls the majority of boat shows (Norm says that they are the biggest marketing weapon we have) that have to act immidiately to extend the message of inclusion by talking the language that these emerging middleclass & above Americans are comfortable speaking.
    They have the beacon scores we all desire now & in the future….

  13. Scott Croft

    It is disappointing how some confuse personal politics and perceptions with marketing opportunities and potential growth markets. Money is green, folks, and the white majority won’t be with us forever. If you can’t recognize this, you’re not helping yourself.

  14. JMC

    Active 50 years in boating, 40 years in the business, 20 years as a dealership owner The primary and on going change that the RV Industry saw that has been missed by Boating is “Family”. Through the mid 70’s boating was a “Family” friendly activity. A change started in moral behavier that included Drugs, alcohol and sex as a primary reason to purchase a boat making the marina and swimming enviroment difficult for the family boater to enjoy. Economy always challenges this industry with its cycles but I feel a large demographic that needs to reverse is not what ethnic group purchases but the moral class of people that make the second or third purchase.
    I will thank Van Snyder for his efforts in promotion and legislation to attempt to make boating enjoyable and safe. In his own words “ambassador’s” will get new people in, Morals and safe courtious boating will keep them and bring more.

  15. Rick Dieterich

    Look, advertising in not the answer and it’s not the “industries” fault for minorities not being involved in boating. It’s family values and priorities. I venture to say we all started boating at a young age because our families did it or they encouraged us too. Until you fill the funnel with young minorities, we will never be able to really increase the numbers by any significant margin. The rest is just pissing in the wind.

  16. C. moore

    Now in Spanish ( this is third time I have tried to post in Spanish)
    Lou sus coments sobre los participantes del 75% en la navegación no poseer un barco también suena a verdad en la motonáutica. Incluso Thomm Dammrich que los felicito por el propietario de liderazgo no es un barco, ni tienen algunos de sus apointees pasado a liderar el no crecer Náutica INICIATIVA sido los dueños del barco.

    Sr. Larry Usted hace cosas buenas y con respecto a los hispanos ACURATE y usted es uno de los mayores distribuidores para el constructor de barco más grande (y que influyen en sociedad en el negocio marítimo) y sin embargo, incluso la suya y la página web Searay no lo ofrece el sitio en español como una opción ? La única manera de obtener información sobre Searays en español es ir a los concesionarios mexicanos que tienen allí propias páginas web. Aunque me he dado cuenta en el Searays Florida con Boatshows, Marine Max cuenta con representantes bilingües de los clientes, al igual que la mayoría de los comerciantes de Florida hacia el sur.
    Entiendo Norm y el punto de enfoque los grupos que todas las empresas estadounidenses deben entender el oscurecimiento de los Estados Unidos y el cambio en el ser bilingüe y están en lo correcto, pero ha sido tan evidente desde hace tanto tiempo que realmente es noticia vieja, y hace más que reforzar lo pequeñas y fuera de contacto de la construcción de barcos EE.UU. y la venta de Comunidad son, fuera de aquellas áreas donde el cambio ha ocurrido. Poner caras marrón en el año no merece la pena hablar. Todos tenemos que aceptar la transformación que estamos en medio de – es aquí y ahora, no tommarrow o en el futuro.
    Mira a tu alrededor, mira lo que está leyendo: A pesar de sondeos y Oficios Sólo, (impreso y digital) sólo están disponibles en blanco Inglés. El cambio ha empezado a pequeños constructores y los niveles de concesionarios en aquellas áreas que tienen o están pasando por la transformación, ya que tuvo que para los constructores y distribuidores para sobrevivir y crecer.
    Es el medio marino, los constructores más grandes, la NMMA: ¿quién controla la mayoría de los salones náuticos (Norma dice que son el arma más grande de marketing que tenemos) que tienen que actuar de inmediato para extender el mensaje de inclusión al hablar el idioma que estos emergentes los estadounidenses de clase media y más se siente cómodo hablando.
    Ellos tienen las puntuaciones de faro que todos deseamos ahora y en el futuro ….

  17. Patricia Kearns

    “Advertising 101 would state that your art needs to look like your target. The boating lifestyle is attractive to ALL …”

    I quote from an earlier comment that, unfortunately, cuts straight to the bone. Having skipped entirely over marketing to women, the very mothers and grandmothers who could be introducing a large generation of younsters to the “boating lifestyle,” our industry continues this ridiculous debate. Who is “your target?” How would you know if you say that “… boating lifestyle is attractive to ALL …” but fail abysmally to be inclusive by putting some representation of “ALL” onboard in advertising.

    The arrogance of so many of the foregoing opinions is a sad blow to an already fragile recreational industry. I’ve listened and watched opinions like this for nearly 40 years. I bought my first boat 8 years ago but not from a local dealer who, at a boat show, suggested I bring my husband back to talk about making a deal. Nothing appears to have changed and that, not the current economic conditions, will ultimately toll the bells as our national demographics change and immigrants and minorities gain economic traction. 100 years ago the Irish were seen as societal trash. Isn’t “Kennedy” an Irish name?

    We have met the enemy and it is us. (A paraphrase of Commodore Perry’s famous “We have met the enemy and he is ours” from the War of 1812). Of course, Perry was a sailor at the time. I’m a woman and a sailor; two out of three strikes but at least I’m not Hispanic, Asian or black. Whew! Getting into boating would really be tough then. There is huge value in being invited into unfamiliar territory. Huge deficit in territory visually marked as identifying the target market as white male only.

  18. Benito Alomia

    When I first read the title of this article I was both thrilled and shocked at the same time. What thrilled me was that this is the first time that I have seen the subject of Diversity in the Boating Industry discussed in a public forum. What shocked me was the question itself.

    As a Black Latino, I know for a fact that people of color and women are not looking to “replace” white men in anything. As members of a modern society, we all strive for the same things in one form or another: Opportunity, Fairness, and Respect. These are all common goals that cut across every gender, cultural, economic, political, and racial construct. But there can never be a rational discussion on diversity until the irrational fear that any group of people are looking to replace white men is washed away.

    Two years ago I began working in the boating industry for MarineMax, the largest power boat dealership in the US. At the time I knew little to nothing about the recreational boating industry. I was given the opportunity to work for the company because of my experience and abilities, not because of a quota or government mandate.

    At first, I was struck by the boating industry’s apparent lack of diversity. As I got to know the industry better, I discovered that the lack of diversity was not the result of corporate bigotry or insensitivity. It is because the boating industry, unlike any other that I have worked in, is built on a passionate bond shared by all types of boaters.

    This bond, also know as the “water gene”, is both a strength and a weakness for the industry. The strength is that the industry has an incredible network of relationships between consumers, manufacturers, and merchants. The weakness is that these relationships can give the false appearance of exclusivity, and can lead to some very insulated beliefs and opinions (as demonstrated by the few negative comments posted here).

    Case in point. When you scratch below MarineMax’s polished fiberglass exterior, you will find one of the most progressive and diverse companies in the industry. You can find people of color and women at every level of the company; from the service yards to the sales team and even in its corporate offices. The company’s attitude toward diversity is to find the right people who will do the best job.. regardless of color, gender, or culture. This not to say that the company doesn’t falter sometimes, but the intent to do what’s right is always there.

    I believe that the boating industry can take a cue from this attitude and develop a comprehensive strategy for expanding its customer base beyond the core constituency. This expansion is necessary if the boating industry wants to be prepared for the economic recovery which is sure to happen.

  19. AnonymousBob

    Bravo to Benito for the most cogent, thoughtful, logical, reasoned comment in this thread!!
    It was nice to see that a majority of the comments were mature and smart in the realization that our industry needs a big dose of diversity – inclusion, not replacement. Fortunately, the proverbial bad apples (Arch and Kimberly) are pointed out as such and are the minority (pun completely intended) here. Let’s hope the small-minded Arch’s and Kimberly’s of our world remain the minority and those like Benito and the others guide our industry towards future prosperity. There is a lot of potential for our industry and there is no reason we shouldn’t share the excitement of our industry with everyone.

  20. twisted dealer

    Why did you post such a statement? Why would we as a species continue to perpetuate this level of intelligence?. I have seen many difference races on the boardwalks at Boat Shows buying boats. The continuance of trying to put the Racial spin on everything just blows my mind. Do you see racist ads about Chop Sticks?, Hair Products for Black people? Spaghetti Sauce?, Kosher Food?, Dog Sleds & Igloos?, Japanese Fishing Junks?, Bull Fighting? German Beer Gardens? Russian Vodka? Hula Dancing? Indian Casinos?,, want me to go on? It’s our own American foolishness, concocting squibs like this that perpetuates racism. Or did you loose yourself in the financial side of racial propaganda? Which is it? Money/Greed/ or did you just have a brain malfunction when you decided to post this? Thanks Alot

  21. Arch

    Some of these comments just blow me away. For anyone to associate my rational comments with Kimberly’s is both ignorant and irrational. But that is exactly what I expect from ANONYMOUS BOB. He is a true product of the brainwashing of America and one of the most politically correct people I’ve ever come across. Political correctness is the medicine that the weak use to sooth the guilt they bear for being white and having money.
    BENITO, who said anything about women or minorities replacing white men? Do you actually think that white voters (besides UNANIMOUS BOB) think in those terms? Sure, we are all aware of the population shift, but you act as if there is a limited amount of boats or boaters available. Your post was very well written, but it sounded more like a plug for Marine Max. As a fellow man of Latino Heritage (BOB’S BRAIN is probably short circuiting right now), your post sounds great but lacks backbone. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you, but your post is TEXTBOOK CORPORATE AMERICA. Lots of fluff, and little substance. Humor us…..Just tell me, EXACTLY how will sales increase by putting more minorities in ads? NO minority is going to see a minority in a Sea Ray ad and say, “HONEY, IT LOOKS LIKE THE MAN HAS GIVEN US THE OK TO GET INTO BOATING. LET”S GO BUY A BOAT!” Explain the process to me, soup to nuts.
    Using blacks and hispanics in advertising makes sense because they are part of the population. Business is down right now because of the economy. And when it comes back, it will have NOTHING to do with diversity and everything to do with the economy. Advertising is important, but the color of the people in the ad is irrelevant. We need to be more COLOR BLIND in this country. If a black person wants to buy a boat, there is no litmus test for that. There is nobody at the boat show or front door of the dealership keeping him/her from buying one. This isn’t a white only industry. It’s not a MALE only business. It’s white dominated due to our CULTURE. There are SPANISH dominated products/industries and black ones too. And that is fine. PATRICIA KEARNS mentions being offended by the boat sales person mentioning bringing her husband back to buy the boat. That isn’t the boat industries fault, that is the salesman’s fault. There are a lot of older rednecks in our industry and whether you were car shopping or boat shopping, that salesman would have said the same thing. But let’s not ignore reality….It’s true that when it comes to boat purchases, the men usually do take the lead in making the decision. If you think that remark is sexist, you are truly one of the brainwashed and should sick the Dept of Justice on me and that sexist salesperson. The fact is , the salesperson made a mistake making that assumption. Slowly but surely, the old school guys are being replaced by younger people that don’t work that way. That’s a good thing.
    There are posts here that sound great, are politically correct, gives me a warm feeling, and would appeal greatly to the cultural diversity departments at big corporations and major universities. But then there are those that are realistic and rational. The fact is, we need to focus on being good Boating Ambassadors. We need to get KIDS (Rick is right)into boating. Getting kids and young adults (of all races, colors, creeds) behind the wheel of a boat. THIS IS KEY. Once they feel how great it is to drive a boat on the water, and how much fun they can have out there AS A FAMILY, then their outlook and opinion of boating will change.

  22. Arch

    Reading the article again makes me realize how ridiculous this all is. So, should we show an ad with several generations of Hispanics all gathered around a pig roasting on the deck of a motor yacht? Or should it be a pontoon boat to reflect more of the socio-economics of the targeted audience (not to mention the fact that aluminum can’t catch on fire)? Seriously.
    How about we show a family of black people launching their deck boat with their ESCALADE. Oh yeah, the wheels are really turning now (literally…there are spinners on the ESCALADE).
    Seriously? This is what the brainics at the NMMA and boating summitt have come up? It doesn’t surprise me that this idea originated in Chicago.

    SCOTT CROFT: It looks like you are in public relations at BOAT US. What else would we expect you to say? Maybe you can tell us what BOAT US is doing for minorities. Since they are economically disadvantaged, and discriminated against in our industry, maybe BOAT US should offer them lower rates and free towing? Would that not be fair?

    SHELLEY GOLDEN: Since the marine industry is made up mostly of whites, your comment was insensitive and RACIST against whites. That means me and Obama are both partly offended. Maybe you can explain how the industry hasn’t presented “inclusion” to minorities? Omg, you might have Bob beat for the PC Queen title.

    VAN SNIDER: I agree somewhat. Let me ask you something. NICE CARS and YACHTS go hand in hand with high profile blacks (musicians, actors, professional athletes, clothing lables, etc). THat is a fact. Just watch music videos and you will see what I’m talking about. Now answer this. Luxury car sales (ESCALADES) for example have shot through the roof among blacks, yet boat sales haven’t. Once you figure that one out, you will realize why this advertising campaign targeting minorities will not work.

    RICK: exactly
    JIM: very true
    KIMBERLY: Maybe you were just having a bad day when you made that post. It came across just slightly bigoted (but no more than comments our President has made, so you are in good company). Peter Swanson is right about the sizable black middle class. they don’t alll live in the type neighborhoods you drive through. BY THE WAY, you can now get a microsoft app for your smart phone called AVOID THE GHETTO. Get it, problem solved. I hear Microsoft will advertise this new product to boaters and use only WHITE models (for obvious reasons).

    PETER SWANSON: Funny comments to Kimberly! But seriously, blacks building boats 150 years ago? Ughhh, shall I remind you that they were not working by choice and earning a good salary? Ever hear of slavery? 3 out of 5 boat builders were blacks? I’m sure 3 out of 5 workers in about any industry were black. Or maybe you are confusing 3 out of 5 with 3/5’s? As in 3/5’s comprismise and 3/5’s of a vote that slaves had. ???

    GTO Patriot: agreed

    LOU SANDAVAL: about Every boat AD I’ve ever seen shows families enjoying themselves. Seriously, you act as if you don’t see it that much. And you actually think that has made a difference? Your post is EXACTLY the type of rhetoric that the NMMA, BOAT US, and MARINE MAX’s of the world love to see. Sounds great, and gives us the warm and fuzzies, but it’s mostly just hot air (other than your comment about exposing boats to younger people and the affordability factor.

    LARRY RUSSO: you make some good talking points and it’s the same ones we hear over and over from the NMMA, MARINE MAX, BOAT US, and all the other big corporations in our industry.

    RUSS JENNINGS: If you aren’t on some marine industry board of directors, you should be. You’ve got the talking points down to a T. You talk about minority employment in our industry as if we are intentionally NOT employing them based on their skin color. If I need an employee, I’m going to hire the one best qualified. It doesn’t matter what color he/she is. Minority employment in our industry is very low because blacks choose not to work in our industry. It’s the same reason they don’t boat that often. It’s a CULTURAL ISSUE ON THEIR SIDE, not discrimination or a lack of inclusion on our side. There are tons of studies on this kind of stuff. SURE, you can spend millions creating all kinds of programs and initiatives to change that, and in 9 cases out of 10, they either don’t work or end up being financially unsustainable. The leaders of our industry are just playing politics and don’t want to be accussed of being bigots or racist. They are just Cover their arses and trying to look inclusive, knowing it will really make little difference in the end. It’s politics. That is all.

    C MOORE: I”m glad you acknowledge that having browner people in the ads makes no difference. You push for spanish language option on the sites. That actually makes much more sense than some of the other comments I’ve seen, but in how many markets is that necessary. Being of hispanic descent, I understand your point, but an extremely high percentage of hispanics buying boats are fluent in English. THe small percentage that can’t read an English only site are going to be immigrants that #1- are not buying new boats, #2- don’t have Beacon scores.
    So, like many of the others, you make a few good points, but not real accurate or realistic in the real world we live in (versus the Utopia many are striving for that doesn’t exist).

    PATRICIA: You also make some good points. But I beg to differ that somehow we are not including women or minorities. EVERYONE is included in advertising and nobody is excluded. Nobody is keeping women or minorities from buying, except for themselves. Let me ask you a question. LESBIANS are very active in boating and in my markets, they are more involved in boating than hispanics or blacks. WHY IS THAT? Does our industry target their market in our advertising. Do we have a sign on the dealership including them but excluding male homosexuals, hispanics, and blacks? Again, you have been brainwashed like so many others to think minorities need an invitation or need your support to buy something. It’s totally bogus. Just because you had an experience with some redneck salesperson, that doesn’t mean the industry is sexist, racist, and exclusionary. We need to target ALL in our advertising and if only 1 % of blacks and 10% of whites respond, that is their choice.
    BENITO: You sound like a great guy, but I’m not buying into all the diversity and pc jibber jabber. I don’t need somebody to tell me what is right, what is wrong, and how we should be. And I definitely won’t be taking cues from Marine Max. We will leave that subject for another day though. But I am offended and shocked by some of your comments/implications though. “As a Black Latino, I know for a fact that people of color and women are not looking to “replace” white men in anything.” WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THAT? VERY ARROGANT AND IRRATIONAL if you ask me. “As members of a modern society, we all strive for the same things in one form or another: Opportunity, Fairness, and Respect.” EXACTLY, IS THERE A POINT HERE OTHER THAN TO SOUND LIKE A POLITICIAN OR REPRESENTATIVE OF A PC CORPORATION ? “These are all common goals that cut across every gender, cultural, economic, political, and racial construct.” EXACTLY, SO WHY MENTION IT OTHER THAN TO HIDE YOUR THINLY VEILED ACCUSATION THAT WHITES DENY THIS TO MINORITIES. “But there can never be a rational discussion on diversity until the irrational fear that any group of people are looking to replace white men is washed away.” REALLY? SO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS THAT THE INDUSTRY HAS CONSPIRED TO KEEP MINORITIES OUT SINCE WE WANT IT FOR OURSELVES (yes, I’m half white and half hispanic, so I can comment from both sides). REALLY BENITO? This folks is EXACTLY why racism is alive and well in this country. It actually has gotten worse as of late as those that claim to be victims continue to show their hatred and racism against the majority (most of which have let that boat sail a generation ago). Let me guess, does this also explain why boats have gotten more expensive, to keep minorities from being able to afford it? I’m sure one or two of you really believe that. WE ARE THE 99%! Maybe we should try that line in the next grow boating ad.

    ANOMALOUS BOB- You can’t fix dupid so I wont try.

    Seeing comments that many of you made makes me realize exactly why this country is spiraling out of control. Social engineering is a disease that has afflicted and bankrupted most of Europe, then the United States. Now I see it has contaminated the boating industry. Go ahead and jump on the band wagon if you must. It’s worked so well thus far.

  23. AnonymousBob

    I’m giddy that this topic got under your skin enough that you spent an inordinate amount of time spelling out your completely illogical thought processes for all to see. To say you completely miss the point of the thread is a massive understatement. I am just glad you continue living up to your usual lack of comprehension of the topic at hand. At least you’re consistent in that respect.

  24. Arch

    Hey….Indians, Chinese, and Phillipinos, are some of the fastest growing population segments on the earth, as are Muslims. Why don’t we make sure to add some of them too since they too have money and are growing at a faster rate than blacks. And make sure some of those Muslims are wearing Jihabs, so that we don’t look bigoted. And if you use Indians and not a Pakistani, they will be offended, so make sure you throw in one or two of them. And lets not forget about Vietnamese and Korean, they too are very important and we shouldn’t overlook that large and very fast growing segment of our population. And if you are going to use blacks, make sure you use some Mulatos (1/2 white, 1/2 black). That would only be fair and representative of our population. Besides, since they are 1/2 white, they are more likely to be interested in boating than somebody that is 100% black. Since close to 10% of the population is gay, let’s make sure the ads are LGBT friendly. We don’t want to offend any of them. So make sure plenty of the family ads show 2 dads with their multiracial kids and 2 moms with their multiracial kids.
    And make sure you don’t just target the wealthy in those groups. That would be discrimination. Target all socio-economic levels so that we are giving everyone the opportunity and fair share. Lets give some incentives for these different cultures and economically disadvantaged to get into boating. Bring back the Bayliner 1400 with a Force 50hp. Ok, it might not be $4995, but we can probably do $7995 or maybe $8995. The people buying those boats will have to move up some day, right?
    Too bad our gov’t isn’t smart enough to intervene like we are when they see the obvious injustice of low minority boat ownership!
    OH YEAH, THESE ARE INGENIOUS IDEAS! Keep thinking people. You are certainly on the right path. We will save our industry yet!

  25. Arch

    This is attempt #3 to get my comments posted. I have edited out about everything that can be considered offensive.

    I COMPLETELY MISSED a very important segment we should be targeting…..OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE. OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE make up a majority of our population and it has nothing to do with race, sex, or nationality. And all of you that think our ads and brochures discourage blacks and hispanics from boating because we don’t show them, then the same would apply for OVERWEIGHT people. I would guess there are more miniorities in our ads now than overweight people.
    We are missing the largest and fastest growing population segment! NOBODY HAS THOUGHT OF THIS YET? We need to get a memo out to ALL the manufacturers and mandate that they use overweight people in 33% of their photos, OBESE in another 30%, and slim people in the other 37%. THAT IS ONLY FAIR and makes sense since that is reflective of our population according to Gallup and the CDC.
    I want to know if any of the posters above whom agree with using more minorities in the ads have an issue with this. You shouldn’t, it’s the exact same reasoning and actually a much stronger case.
    Nevertheless, I think we have discovered a solution to our problem!

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