Brands ‘fishing’ for new customers should cast their line now

The call of the great outdoors has lured many into its splendor over the last year. At a time when social distancing has become essential, many have found that connecting with nature is a good way to spend their free time while staying safe. In fact, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation reports that three million more fishing licenses were sold in the US last year compared to 2019; a 40% sales jump.  

Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that 30% of the US population (nearly 100 million Americans) regularly enjoys outdoor recreation, up from 27% in Q4 2019. Moreover, there have been significant gains in the hunting and fishing categories, especially among Gen X individuals who have likely discovered more time to pursue such activities during the lockdown. Interest in hunting/fishing among active Gen Xers rose 66% to 10% total, while also rising 25% among active Millennials to 10% of their total. 

This surge in outdoor activities is presenting brand marketers with new opportunities, especially as spring and a new fishing season is just beginning this year. Mountain Dew, for example, recently ran a promotion involving a “Hook the big one golden fishing can” game – 50 golden cans were offered in select packs, and customers who found the marked cans received prizes, including a 2021 Phoenix Bass boat and a virtual meet and greet with pro bass angler Gerald Swindle. The PepsiCo brand also teamed with Dick’s Sporting Goods to give away $25 gift cards for 1,000 consumers who tweet a picture of their favorite fishing lure as part of a #DEWLostLureSweepstakes activation.

Leading retailer Bass Pro Shops has seen the momentum first-hand and launched its first-ever Super Bowl ad in January, shortly after acquiring Sportsman’s Warehouse for around $800 million in 2020. Major brands looking to connect with younger demographics should open their tackle boxes to find new customers. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, and even Gen Z has shown rising interest, which bodes well for the future.