Coming off a banner 2014 year with its “Wildhood” campaign, Go RVing Canada will be looking to take it up a notch in 2016 and the effort will once again be steered by four-year Go RVing Canada Executive Director Chris Mahony.
Self-professed lover of the outdoors and everything food, Chris gave us a few moments of his busy schedule – he attends pretty much every industry event across North America possible – to chat with us about himself and the success the “Wildhood” campaign has had on attracting more Canadians to the world of RVing we all know and love.
What did you have for breakfast?
I just landed back from the RVIA’s Louisville show a couple of days ago and currently sticking to a shake, poached egg on rye bread. If I’m home, breakfast is an integral part of my day and key to keeping me going. You can usually find me having Greek yogurt and berries or something like that.
Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I was born in South Africa, raised in the UK, near London from the time I was 11 years old. I loved the UK – still do! It had a huge impact on my life and I still have many great friends and family back there. I took a gap year out of high school to travel the world, then ended up at Oxford’s Business College for my degree.
Oxford, hey? What was that like?
I concede that Oxford is a great school and is a great town. People don’t realize Oxford is made up of 36 colleges so it’s like a small city. I played on the rugby team, got to travel lots and the entire experience was a formidable part of my life.
We’re seeing a travel theme here. You like to travel?
I’ve travelled around the world twice in my life and yes, I love it. You could say I have the travel bug at all times. I’ve been to South East Asia many times and it continues to be a favourite destination of mine. I love Australia and New Zealand.
I’ve also crossed Canada by car five times – twice in an RV! I love driving this country; there’s so much to see, so many roads to take. Some of my favourite spots in Canada are the Okanagan, East Coast, and that point when you’re finished driving through the Prairies and see the Rocky Mountains for the first time. That moment is unreal.
I’ve been to a lot of places and Canada definitely matches the hype of those other places in terms of beauty. We’re very lucky here.
Do you RV often?
My wife and I try and go once or twice every year. Also, whenever Go RVing has a photo or video shoot on location I am usually camped-out in an RV and make a point to go on a little trip after the work is done.
I can remember a first trip to Trois River, QC with my wife when it started to pour with rain. We stopped at a Fromagerie for snacks. Back in the RV we sipped on a glass of wine and enjoyed the moment. That alone, plus the flexibility and comfort of RVing is what is really attractive. It’s what it’s all about.
Tell us about this now famous — and award winning — “Wildhood” campaign. How did it come about?
Simply put, it came to us as “Fort-building in the living room as a kid”… This sense of curiosity and discovery and building forts as youngsters. We kind of lose all that being an adult – with responsibilities and all.
We used to play in the street and go outside as kids. That’s not often the case today. Kids want to play, get dirty, not have a chaperone.
At it’s core – that is the definition of “Wildhood” – something that we once owned and have lost. We know RVing brings that out in people – both in kids and adults. We used to have this so we thought “let’s bring it back!”
The devices we process, while necessary, get dropped away pretty easily when there’s a bunch of things to play with outside and we provide an opportunity to explore. That’s why RVing is this great accessible thing.
How did people react to the commercials?
When the campaign first ran I got 5 emails a day. Past campaigns did very well but “Wildhood” blew it out of the water. We received notes from people who never thought they’d be RVers and have now taken it up. We even got calls from school teachers saying how they loved the idea of getting kids back outside, exploring, discovering and having a sense of wonder.
What’s in store for 2016?
In 2016 we’re going to extend “Wildhood” beyond TV and video into content and experiential concepts. Something BIG is in the hopper for “Wildhood” that I can’t share that has to do with broadcast TV.
Stay tuned! There’s more brilliance coming to a campsite near you.
Stay up to date with Go RVing Canada as they surprise and delight the experienced and newbie RVer in Canada. Follow them on Facebook facebook.com/GoRVingCanada, Instagram and Twitter @GoRVingCanada, and visit them online at GoRVing.ca. You can sign up for Go RVing Canada’s newsletter for great articles, recipes and information about RVing across North America. In 2015, The “Wildhood” campaign won a Canadian Marketing Association Award and a Cassie Award.
This story was originally published in the 2016 Bucars Magazine, which you can download for free here.