Press Releases

RBFF changes brand to “Take Me Fishing”

Target audience expanded to include women

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation announces a new branding direction and expanded target audience to enhance its ongoing marketing initiative to grow fishing and boating participation nationwide.

The non-profit organization’s Water Works Wonders brand has been changed to “take me fishing.” The RBFF board of directors made the decision in response to findings from a 2004 advertising awareness study and other campaign evaluation considerations.

The study revealed the campaign’s message to be powerful and effective, and reached 23 percent of lapsed/occasional anglers and 31 percent of the avid/semi-avid.  Both groups had significant increases in post-campaign awareness from 2003 to 2004, at 5 and 13 percentage points respectively. After four years, the campaign continues to score well above advertising industry averages for common measures of effectiveness such as ad recall, involvement, salience and persuasion.

However, brand recall for the campaign is underperforming.  In aided brand name testing, the Water Works Wonders brand was recalled by only 10 percent of avid anglers and six percent of lapsed/occasional anglers.

Among the findings, consumers said use of the Water Works Wonders brand left questions about what exactly the ads were asking them to do and who is doing the asking. They also said the campaign’s “Take me Fishing” message and images were more straightforward and easier to understand.

During the decision process, the RBFF board revisited why the Water Works Wonders brand was originally created. It was developed to serve as an umbrella brand for all boating and fishing stakeholders, to provide a shared rallying point, and because it was universal enough in

meaning to include aquatic stewardship. However, even among industry users of the campaign’s elements, the “Take me Fishing” images and message have been more utilized than the Water Works Wonders logo.

Voicing support of the new change was RBFF board member, Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA. “The NMMA is in support of RBFF’s decision about the campaign,” he said. “Their research indicates that the ‘Take me Fishing’ message appeals to the target audience and furthers the goal of increasing boating and fishing participation nationwide.  We see the effort as highly complementary to what we’re doing with our Grow Boating initiative,” said Dammrich.

“Those who are already using Water Works Wonders materials will continue to benefit from the significant equity of previous years,” said board member, Mike Nussman, ASA president and CEO.  “But ‘Take me Fishing’ is a loud and clear call to action, and leaves no doubt as to what we are asking the American public to do. With ‘take me fishing’ as the message and the brand, I’m confident that more industry members than ever will jump on board to help grow participation,” he said.

RBFF is quick to point out that the logo change is not a change in brand strategy.  “Our brand strategy remains the same … family connection is still the primary message,” said Bruce Matthews, RBFF president and CEO. “This is what our stakeholders have really embraced from day one.” 

In anticipation of questions as to how the change might affect the current marketing efforts of industry partners, RBFF board chair and the president of Zebco, Jeff Pontius, had this to say. “We understand that this change will have implications for the companies who have leveraged the Water Works Wonders logo. Some of the program’s biggest supporters are RBFF board members.”

“At Zebco, we have been using the Water Works Wonders logo on product catalogs, packaging and collateral materials.  We’ll gladly change our materials over time to use the new logo, which we agree is stronger.  When you get right down to it, we know this change will make the advertising even more effective, and that’s what we all really want.  More good news is the fact that the message works so well for our newly expanded target audience,” Pontius said.

Pontius is referring to the board’s other major decision, to broaden the RBFF target audience to include women, ages 25 – 54. That change also comes as a result of the RBFF consumer surveys and evaluations.  In fact, the 2004 advertising awareness study revealed that the creative scored as high, and in some cases higher, with women than it did men.

Up until now the target audience had been men only, aged 25 - 54, married, who are lapsed or occasional anglers. At about 24 million, it was a sizable and easily accessible audience for targeted national advertising on a limited budget. However, with “Take me Fishing” scoring so well among women, RBFF sees the findings to be a real bonus for the program and for every stakeholder who uses the campaign’s new “take me fishing” branded materials.

“We’ve known from the research that women have crucial roles in determining family leisure plans,” said RBFF’s Matthews. “They make about 58% of those decisions. And our data shows they are also as likely as men to think that fishing is a good activity for the family to do. We felt like we struck gold when we learned how effective our ‘made for men’ ads tested with women. Including them in the target audience expands our advertising reach exponentially” he said.

The most immediate benefits that come from audience expansion are media buy efficiency and reach.  The expanded audience greatly increases media delivery options, opening the doors to more cost-effective choices and stretching our advertising dollars (see 2005 media schedule at The bottom line is, the expanded target audience means more families will see and hear the “take me fishing” advertising than ever before. The outcome will be more families seeking quality time on the water.

The new “take me fishing” logo is now available for download at, and is located under “Cooperative Marketing Materials.” The logo is also available on CD ROM by contacting Monica Powell at 703-519-0013 or Cooperative marketing materials will be updated with the logo in the coming weeks. Beginning on March 25, visitors to will automatically be directed to

Dave Landahl

703-519-0013 x 107