Tuesday, September 26, 2023


New RV industry ad campaign puts boomers on back burner

I’ve got some good news and some bad news for longtime baby boomer RVers. The good news is that the “seniors” age group likely won’t be getting bombarded (as much) with ads and emails encouraging you to purchase a new RV. While RV manufacturers and dealers will still gladly take your money, those born between 1946 and 1964 are no longer the prime target market for RV makers and sellers.

The bad news is that Go RVing™, the multi-million-dollar, 25-year-old marketing program run by the RV Industry Association, is setting its well-funded sights squarely on the new generation of RV buyers, which numbers in the millions.

The average age of RV buyers is dropping… fast

A recent RV Industry Association study found that the average age of a new RV buyer has dropped rapidly, and now sits at around 33 years of age. When I was 33, my camping dream was getting out of my sagging canvas pup tent and upgrading to a fancy nylon four-person umbrella tent—and maybe a Coleman cooler with a drain.

So, just why is Go RVing’s fixation with younger RV buyers a bad thing? I guess it depends on your perspective. If you’re a longtime RVer who laments the extinction of the available walk-up RV site at the end of the travel day, you likely won’t applaud the manufacturers’ desire to push past sending out 600,000-plus new RVs this year.

The folks who oversee Go RVing are experts at selling the RV lifestyle. (Full disclosure: I had a seat on the Go RVing Board for about a dozen years through my role at Kampgrounds of America Inc.). As the Go RVing re-branders stated in a recent press release, “Our target market has changed over the years, so we have redefined Go RVing’s visual branding to create a timeless relevancy while embracing the energy and vibrancy that Go RVing represents.” You’ve got to admit, Go RVing knows how to sell the sizzle in the steak when it comes to promoting the RV lifestyle.

Go RVing’s rebranded campaign is selling more than just an RV…

During my time on the Go RVing board, I often got into friendly debates with the RV industry staff about what really “sold” the RV lifestyle. Me being a campground guy, I always pushed for reminding folks about the pleasures of the destination; the interaction with friends and family around the campfire; and the joy of sleeping in your own bed at the end of the camping day.

I mostly lost those arguments to the folks who valued all the points I made above, but often thought RVers were more enamored with driving their rigs and not just actually camping. I still think driving a 40-foot boxed behemoth down the highway is the least pleasurable part of the trip. Just give me a cold one and let me sigh with relief as I settle into a lawn chair after camp is set up.

A new logo

I suppose the new logo (at right) and slogan (Go On A Real Vacation) will resonate just fine with the millions of potential RVers who apparently are still willing to take out a 20-year RV loan on top of their looming college student loan debt. It took me a while to figure out that the new Go RVing logo represented a road stretching toward a far horizon. At first glance, I took it to be the head of a raccoon, or perhaps a rotund camper leaning forward on pointy legs flashing me the full moon (now just try to unsee that).

Although I was tied to marketing departments for more than half of my working career, I never seemed to be able to generate the personal excitement most marketing directors muster when they roll out a new logo. Yet I know that logos are an important part of a brand’s identity, and the new Go RVing symbol is simple, clean and conveys a singular idea. You may not think branding and logos matter much, but they do. That’s why you are bombarded by them every day.

Is Go RVing’s rebranded campaign overkill?

In the current post-pandemic climate that includes billions of dollars in factory order backlogs and long lines of buyers, it seems any expensive marketing campaign could be overkill. How hard do you have to try to sell an RV right now, anyway?

But the RV industry pros are a wise bunch. They know that the Go RVing campaign has served the industry very, very well for the past 25 years. Many of you were likely lured to the lifestyle by the messages and resources provided by Go RVing. They also know that the current buying frenzy won’t last forever and they’ll need a smart campaign like “Go On A Real Vacation” to compete against the cruise lines and European airlines when we reach a new normal in the travel business, whenever that will be.

Keeping the industry rolling with an infusion of new, knowledgable RV buyers is a good thing – really, it is. We’re feeling the pain of crowded campgrounds right now, but this high demand will bring investment and, eventually, more campsites.

I’d invite you to watch the video below that explains the new, Go RVing rebranded campaign program. It will give you an idea of the industry’s target market going forward, and you’ll get a good look at the folks you’ll be sharing your camping with “down the road.”



Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.


  1. I am a 65-year old and retired. My husband and I have a 31-foot Class A and we’re always on the go. I watched the new ad and I LOVE it! People our age don’t just sit around the campfire anymore. The ad showed us and our friends dancing at music festivals and partying at gatherings. If you think this fresh new campaign is going to lose the “boomers,” maybe the Boomers need to have more fun.

  2. This campaign seems to be targeting the crowds that we most complain about with loud activities, music and bright light/ TV’s blaring at all hours in so many of the campgrounds. What age demographic is most likely to have the disposable income needed to make this purchase unless we figure in the “forgive effort” for student loans and other financial burdens that the target population willingly signed on for at the time. Sounds grumpy, I know but just sayin”…

  3. I had no problems reserving campsites just now for Memorial day weekend. I guess it depends on where you are willing and wanting to camp. So far full campgrounds are just hype, but I have been planning ahead, as should we all.

  4. We’ve had our Class C for 3 years, and we are putting it on the market this week. And this articles says 600,000 more new RVs are rolling out this year?? Good luck finding RV parks and state and National Parks(be sure to call ahead-sometimes 6 months in advance) and boondocking spots. RVs are a lot of work, you need to use them a lot to make worth having one, and they are expensive (if you have a loan, plates, insurance, maintenance and then paying high gas and other road expenses). I will miss some of it, but it’s not making sense for us anymore.

  5. Am I the only one who did a double take with the logo? In my mind, I was seeing an upgraded peace symbol!

    When I look at the ads, I see us 30+ years ago. When our son was 12, we managed an RV park. Half were the seasonals — retired, gray haired folk. The weekenders were the party crowd (we were glad to see Monday come!)

    When we first joined our Good Sam camping group, I recall the original founders withdrawing, one by one, to pursue other things — leaving us “young folks” to set the path. It is a part of the aging process…one door closes, another opens. I hope those senior members never felt pushed out; I like to think they were glad to have someone else to carry on the tradition.

  6. The city of Lincoln Nebraska recently created a new city flag.it is meaningless. Could be the same design firm that created the new camping logo. Do a Google search for their new flag. Have a good laugh.

  7. If they want to focus on younger people, fine. However, an ad like this that pretty much blatantly says that the older generation doesn’t count anymore and is somehow boring is a total insult to those who have been loyal to the industry over so many years. Yes, I’m insulted.

  8. My guess re: the new logo: it looks like a picnic table in a dome tent. Maybe it makes more sense to the younger generations?

  9. Advertisers are not trying to sell to me because I have everything I will ever need.- except food and the gas to get to the store, shore, or camp grounds. Besides, When I see a commercial or ad I HAVE NO IDEA of what they are trying to sell. What are evidently car ads don’t even tell me a single thing about the car itself or even the name or manufacturer of the car. AND I know that that stupid little thing in no way can get to the top of a mountain or speed thru a city at 70 mph. However towing companies love seeing any kind of RV or vehicle trying to drive down a sandy beach when the tide is out. As to the icons / symbols used to advertise, they lost me.

  10. This article and it’s noted changes to our RV lifestyle are why we are selling and getting out of it. Change is not always good for everyone.

  11. I hope they didn’t pay some millennial ad agency too much for the new logo, because clearly you got bamboozled.

  12. I had to laugh when I saw the truck pulling a trailer down a desert dirt road and wondered how far did he have to back up to get out of there and how loud was his wife screaming.

  13. I’m sorry to hear this. I guess the younger crowd have more money than I thought, or are willing to go into more debt, school loans, house loan, maxed out credit cards.

  14. Living near Seattle, we have plenty of local places we can go RV’ing at, and, yes, going on a two week (or longer) trip means we spend over ten hours a day behind the wheel. And the older we get, the harder it is to recover – especially when you have to drive 1500 miles to a NASCAR track. Another thing they fail to mention is that Mom doesn’t get a ‘real vacation’. My wife still has to do a lot of cooking and cleaning, (although I help her), and we try to visit restaurants we’ve seen on Food Network shows to limit her workload.

    The advertising I have seen is aimed at ‘Yuppies’, with a nice upscale Class B/B+ or toy hauler trailer for the kids and their quads/Predator. That is probably because the area has lots of well-educated, high tech families/jobs in the Puget Sound, but also more ‘outdoorsy’ larger families on the east side of the Cascades. Driving up I-5, you see the dealerships now jammed with Diesel Pushers and Fifth Wheels, and Boeing retirees sure are browsing!

  15. I believe the GoRVing braintrust knows/thinks that the new kids on the block are going to get the inheritance anyway, so they are targeting the newfound wealth. They think we are the over the hill gang. But I told my kids that “I have it planned that the last check is going to bounce, so keep working and save your $$ like we did”. :)) Enjoy life on the road.

  16. I could easily see the new logo fading onto a picture of a straight stretch of road heading into the horizon. I also see the good and the bad as you do with the campground crowding that seem to only be getting worse. I(we) have been going to more primitive areas where we need a generator but are still finding those areas much less noisy and crowded.

  17. Why should the RV Industry be any different than the rest of the countries enterprises? They like to project the various minorites as being the majority. Mikey Mouse as a pedophile, etc. As a result, today, everyone has to be blended, molded into some abstract creation and homogenized. Now, there is no such things as an individual and we must all conform. It’s hard to find any commercial that is “Normal” that actually represents people or social groups as they really are. They portray the nation as being what some politician would like to have us all be. Uniformly misinformed.

  18. This is the first time I’ve heard of Go RVing and we’ve been traveling, camping and RVing since 1979. I don’t think their influence is really very far-reaching. And, speaking of 1979, we were also in our 20s then so I don’t think it’s unusual or a surprise that 20- and 30-somethings want to go camping/RVing. And with so many people having gone through Covid with many realizing/learning they can make a living without going to a 9-5 office job, it makes sense they want to get out there and enjoy the RV lifestyle. I think they are probably learning how on social media and watching YouTube channels of young RVers like they hope to become.

  19. Boomers care more about the steak than the sizzle. As we continue to age, we will be more and more marginalized because, commercially, we don’t matter.

  20. The partially eaten purple pizza logo makes no sense. Modern art meets stupid marketing, not well thought out. It is like a non-sense personalized license plate no one can figure and, so no one cares about it.

  21. Curious to see how long it takes these NewAge Nomads to tire of their adventuring and go camping on Mom & Dad’s property. I envision a lot of Rustbuckets Ala Cousin Eddie!
    As to the logo…Pacman-ish. I see Eric Cartman shooting the moon (Ala Mike’s comment) or Cartman wearing his motorcycle cop helmet with his sunglasses.
    “Respect My Authoritah!!!”

  22. Sorry Mike but I declined your offer to watch another commercial. The reason the ad community is focused on a younger generation is mainly due to them realizing that boomers are not influenced by commercial advertising. Their money is better spent on a more gullible demographic. We are the generation that bought into the idea of cable TV because it was supposed to replace all the advertising on free TV that we had begun to hate. Most of us never watched the Super Bowl for the ads. Most of us were never influenced by go RVing ad campaigns – we saw RVs in campgrounds, neighbor’s driveways and at trade shows and viewed them as tools to enhance a lifestyle we were already embarked on, not as an alternative lifestyle. We also understand that commercials don’t reflect reality and all the insurance commercials do is ensure higher premiums because we all know that Limu Emu doesn’t work for free. Ads aren’t as effective on people who think, something the current crop can’t be accused of.

    • Exactly. The ads are targeting where they think the money is today. Tomorrow will be a different target audience. And the day after that, another one.

  23. The new logo is ugly & really doesn’t represent what they claim it does. It looks more like a dead Pac-Man or a bike helmet. As far as gearing the ads towards younger crowds, that’s ok, doesn’t bother me as a boomer, that’s where the money is now. I will say I saw plenty of grey hair in the ad, which to me is the Gen X, which is good. I’m barely a boomer, let’s face it, us boomers are getting old and we don’t spend as much on travel as we did when we were younger (although I seem to be spending more lately. lol). I’m ok with the ad, I just hate the stupid logo.

  24. When I first saw this logo, I thought of a helmet and goggle mfg. How this represents RV’ing is beyond my old feeble mind . . . Just sayin’.

  25. You mention the average age of “now sits at around 33 years of age” – I’m curious how that has changed. Do you have any historical data about what it was in the past?

  26. Maybe for some Millennials and Gen X’s… the RV they buy is nicer than what they live in at home,.. ie: M&D basement?

  27. Actually, I’d venture that a great percentage of future RV buyers and owners will be living full time in them because of the unprecedented cost of traditional housing.

  28. I’m 72. Been there, done that. Like all the other ads I’m seeing lately, its a fantasy world that is highly doubtful will actually exist. My peak RVing years are now astern of me. I’m very happy that “my era” occurred when it did. Only time will tell what the true future of RVing will be, but if you look at projected fuel costs, social and political trends, population growth, cultural change and the financial state of the USA, well, again….I’m glad “my era” was when it was. Yup, time will tell.

  29. Looks like the new logo is PacMan facing down turn it 90 degree’s and you’ll see what I mean. As a Boomer I could care less on the ad campaign of who or what they target.

    • Yes, I was going to mention Pac Man too, but I wasn’t sure what the line meant either- seems to have nothing to do with camping and I think what Mike Gast’s description of its significance is a stretch to say the least, but if people associate the new logo with Go Rv’ing then maybe they succeded.

  30. The new Logo does nothing for me as a symbol of the RV industry. Doesn’t give ANY vibe of the RV life for recognition. I would think a effort to change the attitudes of the RV industry in the methods and Customer Service attitudes to revive Customer Service confidence by the buying public.

  31. When the new branding lures people to buy an RV for a “real vacation” and they cant make a reservation anywhere for the 2 weeks…..the sell off will begin. But that lets the dealer make money 2 times….so they are happy!

  32. Dh and I were thinking of the garden lady signs (the one where she’s bent over weeding)…lol. I guess our age really is showing! 😀

  33. This will give us an opportunity to help and guide the younger RV owners, and set good examples around the campground or trails. This will also boggle the minds of travel agents who do not understand why you don’t want to fly somewhere. We were the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, they have phones…

  34. I don’t know what the Logo means either, but Logo don’t have to mean anything, they just need to “Branded” as the industry Logo. Good luck with that. “Baby boomers control over 53% of the country’s wealth, while Gen X accounts for just over 25% and the silent generation holds around 17%, according to the Fed’s data”. I am a Boomer and saw the change in advertising as a kid shift from the WWII Generation to the Boomers. I think most all of American advertising is shifting to the next generation, just look at the adds. They know Gen XYZ will get their parents money sometime in the next 25 yrs or so. I wish the next Generation and Industry the best.

  35. It is like anything else – a new vision takes over to “freshen up” the stale old idea.

    Personally, though I immediately thought they made the logo in the Go RVing initials, they missed the mark. It has potential but who wants this ugly thing on a shirt or decal? Thinking nature and road travel is not angular, but free flowing, they should have done better.

    As to demographics, they really tried too hard to include “everyone” in the new inclusive ideology of today’s marketing push. And worse, they show trailers being hauled at top speed through city streets and through rocky, gravel off-road trails. Bad idea! There are too many new RVers flying fast down the interstate already. They don’t need more encouragement.

    Whatever their goal, the whole thing encourages the wrong mentality.

    • Amen to that, brothers & sisters…beware of the ‘me first’ mentality…tow & bodyshops will rejoice in the money gushing in from these speed demons’ stupidities…

    • Be careful what you wish for. While I am thrilled we are encouraging new membership, be sure the new owners of the power know what they are in.

  36. Haven’t paid any attention to Gorving since they published their grossly misleading “study” on comparative vacation costs – that totally ignores the cost, insurance and maintenance on the rig! Perfect example of misleading advertising and a lack of respect for the RV’ing public.

  37. I really don’t see the problem with the demographics change. Boomers are now getting to the age where brand new shiny stuff doesn’t matter like it used to. It’s not only with RV’s. Look at the ads for cars, trucks and even new homes. These are also geared towards the younger generations. I was born in 1949, 73 years old, and even though we can afford to buy new stuff, there is no real reason to. We’re comfortable where we are at.
    At one time, ‘we’ were the younger generation!

    • Bob nailed it. At 71 I don’t want a new RV and am happy and will always be happy with the one I’ve got. I don’t need or want an ad campaign directed at me.
      However I don’t get the logo, I doubt most others will either.

      • I agree. In my younger days I had a full list of wants. Now I enjoy the familiarity and contentment of what I have. That said, I do enjoy the excitement my young adult kids display for what’s ahead for them.

    • Bob
      You hit the nail on the head! Also one key thing to remember is that as you get older fancy marketing campaigns make us laugh and opposed to making us want to buy.

  38. Personally, I don’t identify with that new logo at all. Much prefer the old one. And as to the video…yes, it does seem that us older folks are the “assumed” audience–the one that they don’t need to work on targeting because we are already a “given”. hmmmm….once this younger generation realizes the costs involved, those RVs will be back on the lot, for resale. It seems to be the cycle.

  39. AND life moves on as is intended…. it is natures design. The young pups take over and the old ones retire to the cave…

    • yes, my cave but it is paid for and well cared for. This campaign strikes at the I want it now mentality that surrounds our society, specifically the “younger” sector


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