Jan. 31--Visitors to this year's Florida State Fair might be forgiven if they believe Lazydays RV just bought the whole property.
The RV megadealership on Interstate 4 has just made a significant sponsorship deal with the agency managing the fairground to place the Lazydays brand name all over the property, all year long, and just in time for this year's state fair, starting Thursday.
There will be Lazydays signs at the entrances facing U.S. 301 and Orient Road. There will be Lazydays banners on many buildings. There's already the Lazydays logo on the website for the Florida State Fair for Heroes Day ("Presented by Lazydays"), and Lazydays will park luxury RVs throughout the property during big events as advertisements for the dealership. The dealership will even provide up to 25 RVs on-site during the fair for use by fair staff.
"This is a big deal for us because we're playing in a marketing discipline that we've never played in before," said John Lebbad, the chief marketing officer of Lazydays, who joined the company in July. "This is really only a starting point, though."
Lazydays has always been a big player in the RV market, running the largest single-site dealership in the country as well as major campgrounds. But moving into more overt mass marketing and sponsorships is a new direction that Lebbad says he saw work well when he organized sponsorships of major sporting events for companies such as HSN, Sears and Office Depot.
The deal will not mean a Lazydays takeover of the MidFlorida Amphitheatre at the fairground, but the Lazydays signs will be up all around the concert venue entrances.
That's exactly the kind of public presence the new management team of Lazydays had in mind when it took over last year.
The Lazydays name will remain all over the fairground property throughout the year, including during several dozen equestrian events, music festivals, home shows, boat shows, gun shows and, of course, the annual RV show. All those events mix well with the target market for RVs, Lebbad said.
As for the cost, records at the Fairground Authority lay out a three-year deal worth at least $210,000 in cash to the fairground plus $90,000 in other marketing activities. Among those: Lazydays is providing 15 to 25 "fifth wheel" RVs during the state fair for a dozen designated fairground staff members who often need to stay overnight during the fair, plus a contest to give away a weeklong stay at the Lazydays Campground in Seffner each year.
And when musicians come to the fairgrounds in the years ahead to put on concerts, look for them to stay in luxury RVs on-site, provided by Lazydays.