Go RVing Canada GoRving Canada, a partner of the Canadian Recreation Vehicle Association, launched its “Wildhood” brand platform in 2015 with “Bring Back Wildhood,” a chapter focusing on the desire within all human beings to venture off the beaten path.

The fourth evolution of the brand is “Find Your Wildhood,” this year’s new campaign which encourages people to connect with the fundamental desire to come face to face with their true selves.

“’Wildhood’ is more than a campaign, it’s a state of being that exists in all of us – if we’re willing to look,” said Chris Mahony, president of Go RVing, Canada, during a February interview with Adland.tv. “We are all explorers, motivated by wanderlust, and our most powerful memories tend to be of the moments shared with loved ones, of discovery, of places that fill us with awe and wonder. This is where the magic lies. Big or small, these moments enrich our lives.”

Whether this latest chapter in the Wildhood campaign will draw more would-be RVers into the lifestyle remains to be seen, but if the initial reaction is any indication, “Find Your Wildhood” is having an impact.

Here is a sampling of comments on the Go RVing Canada YouTube channel, where the lead video in the campaign, “You Are Out There” is posted. (Click here to watch the video.)

  • This commercial hit me hard. It’s incredibly beautiful! Thank you!
  • SO POWERFUL. Find yourself and set your spirit free. AMAZING COMMERCIAL, THANK YOU.
  • I cry every time I see this! Fantastic commercial. Thanks to the team who came up with this.
  • So deep. Beautifully done!
  • Have never said this about a commercial before ….perfection! Hits home, hard!
  • This speaks to me. Nicely done.

The spot focuses on a man struggling through the workaday world in a busy downtown office landscape. As he grapples to find space on the subway, he’s struck with the idea of finding himself and his Wildhood.

He is shown leaving the city behind, tossing aside his jacket and briefcase and eventually trekking through several wilderness scenes before encountering a mysterious person at a raging bonfire. Chasing the shadowy figure through the woods, the protagonist eventually realizes the person he is chasing is himself and the pair find themselves enmeshed in a spiritual reunion. The spot ends with the man, after finding himself, walking content and alone toward several RVs parked at a serene campsite.

Chris Mahony

“I think the concept comes from COVID-19,” Mahony told WOODALLSCM.com last week. “Which, of course, was a moment for many people to pause and evaluate whether we were living our most authentic lives.”

He said the post-COVID mindset was reflected, “in our data around high quit rates, divorce rates and even demand for mental health resources. There was a recognition that people want to exit in a different way. They are more motivated, I would say, than ever to find and live out that missing piece. That missing piece is the inner self that you’re looking for. For us that really fits well within the construct of Wildhood,” Mahony said.

Wildhood is a philosophy built from a fundamental desire people have to connect with each other, with the natural world and themselves, “so that’s the very nature of camping,” he said. “Connecting with our natural world and ourselves is what we’re trying to get at. Wildhood is an expression of who we are and a recognition of what gives us joy, including out most powerful memories and moments we share with loved ones.”

GoRVing Canada uses a mix of mediums to reach its audience but relies mainly on digital outlets.

“Our digital buy is still heavier than our broadcast buy,” he said. “Which has obviously changed over the years, but we’re still trending through the usual channels of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, et cetera. Our digital buy is still robust, and we continue to look at new and interesting ways with the technology available to us to reach our prospects.”

The campaign still does employ a traditional TV buy because, “while TV has seen some inflation, there’s still a big, solid viewing platform, especially in Canada, although I would say the majority of our buying is surrounded by news and sports. We’re more on the live side of TV than anything else,” he said.

TV buying is supplemented by online video buying with channels like Zone-TV, the Soccer Channel and other Canadian networks that broadcast online.

The new campaign has “struck a chord” with viewers, he said, adding that aside from “tons” of comments on social media, he has also received many personal emails.

“We’ve had a cultural and societal tension, I think,” Mahony said. “People are telling us, ‘I am that guy.’ (The subject in the video.) The guy they see when the subway doors are closing and he’s turning around and running out to the wild, he’s tearing his clothes off, literally frustrated by life itself. People can relate to that.”

While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, there also have been detractors.

“I have also had – and I think this is not such a bad thing that I’m going to admit it – there’s been some divisiveness over this,” he said. “Some people are saying, ‘Who is this guy? He looks really disgruntled and the whole piece is kind of dark.’ Some people maybe don’t love it as much, but you what, they’re talking about it in coffee shops and they’re talking about it online so that alone is getting us traction.”

And, Mahony notes, the ad has achieved some acclaim in the ad industry, making Ad Age’s Top 5 Global Ad of the week, coming in at No. 3 ahead of Adidas.

While accolades are nice, Mahony stressed that connecting with the consumer remains the No. 1 priority.

Go RVing Canada has been serving as the Canadian RV camping industry ambassador since 1997, providing the public and media with information about the benefits of RV travel. The coalition consists of RV manufacturers, RV dealers and campground operators throughout the Canadian RV industry. Visit https://gorving.ca/