How I got an RV with my most successful ad campaign

Roadtrek

I just met a HUGE goal, largely due to a relentless advertising campaign I’ve been waging on myself for the last couple of years. Two years ago purchasing a motorhome seemed impossible. By last month it felt inevitable. Today I have a new RV sitting in my driveway. I’m completely convinced advertising is what made the difference.

(Hold on – I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not like that! This one is small, cute, and gets good gas mileage. )

The ad campaign

This was my earliest, longest-running, and arguably most successful ad campaign. It mostly just used brute repetition; for at least 500 days between October 2005 and March 2007 I showed myself a picture of an RV several times every day. I made sure there was always a picture of the rig we currently thought we wanted in my Google Sidebar slideshow. At various times I also put pictures of it in my Hipster PDA, my screensaver slideshow, and on the refrigerator. I even gave an RV to my avatar. The picture you see on this page is a card I printed in 2005 for my Hipster PDA. The illustration for Widgets and gadgets and klips (oh my!) was another early ad for this campaign.

As time passed and I kept seeing these pictures every day, the idea of owning an RV became increasingly more familiar. In retrospect I think that familiarity was really important.

While a lot of other ideas came and went during that period of time, the ads motivated me to keep taking one more step forward on the RV project. They seemed to have the ability to:

  • generate, focus and amplify my desire
  • move my thinking forward in relationship to the goal
  • sustain my attention span over a long period of time

I had conceived of buying an RV as a possible solution to achieve some really important objectives about health, recreation and connection. What I think the ad campaign did was keep that gestalt of priorities/solution in my consciousness. Or rather, it kept returning my attention to that gestalt. In spite of many competing distractions over many months, the ads kept nudging me with reminders about the goal of owning an RV, which in turn prompted me to take the many small actions that finally led to its realization.

Obstacles and difficulties

I’ve been the lab rat for all of the TBYB experiments and am continually amazed by how well these techniques work. I think this campaign was particularly notable because the RV was such a big goal, and because that goal seemed so far off. In fact, early on there were several good reasons why achieving this goal was impossible. It not only felt ridiculously out of reach financially, but none of the rigs I liked would fit in my small driveway and perhaps most importantly, my partner didn’t want one! But I didn’t worry about those things. I just kept focussing on the parts I could do something about and used frequent ads to remind myself that it was a priority.

I noticed that rather than worrying about whether achieving this large goal was possible I just kept identifying and taking small steps that were easily within my reach. For example, I’d often stop to pick up a free local weekly paper to check the RV ads, or do online research to figure out what we wanted. I also:

  • Attended an RV show
  • Visited dealerships
  • Attended an RV club event
  • Watched rvtraderonline and craigslist

It’s interesting to me to note that even though the price tag on this project seemed hopelessly, unattainably high, after advertising about the idea for about a year I began to have ideas about where I might find that kind of money.

In March of this year I thought my dream had come true. After looking at hundreds of RVs online and dozens in person, I drove several hundred miles to buy a used rig that we both loved. We were so excited! Tragically, I discovered mold in the walls a few weeks later, and we eventually had to abandon that rig due to health problems.

At last!

From March to September I did not advertise. I was very discouraged by the loss of our first rig and distracted by some really intense family events over the summer. However by that time the idea that we would own an RV was so deeply embedded in my consciousness it was apparently no longer necessary to advertise. Even though I had stopped the ad campaign and was thinking about other things, the passion and inner certainty that had developed over the course of the previous year and a half remained at the same level all summer. We bought a new Roadtrek on September 3rd.

Timeline

Following is a chronology of my RV ad campaign. Lest you think advertising to yourself is too much work let me assure you that I’ve done plenty of ads advocating for smaller goals that used just one or two of these methods. I include the details about this campaign to illustrate how I used advertising to achieve a really big nearly impossible thing in my life. Notice how many of the steps below were things I could do without knowing how I was going to resolve the impossible parts.

Unless otherwise noted the term “slideshow” refers to the Google Sidebar Photos gadget.

  • Early 2005 – Talked about getting an RV sometime in the future and attended an RV show.
  • Oct 2005 – Printed Hipster PDA cards with exterior and interior photos of Roadtrek Adventurous.
  • May 2006 – Put Adventurous photos in slideshow.
  • May 2006 – Signed up to visit an RV club event to see if it would be fun. Put picture of campground for that event in my slideshow.
  • June 2006 – Visited several RV dealers and had a saleman take our photo in the Adventurous.
  • June 2006 – Added another Adventurous photo to slideshow.
  • June 2006 – Added floorplan of FunFinder trailer to slideshow.
  • July 2006 – Added picture of Roadtrek Popular to slideshow.
  • July 2006 – Attended RV club event.
  • August 2006 – Added photos of Provan Tiger to slideshow.
  • September 2006 – Photoshopped Tiger into picture of our driveway.
  • December 2006 – Printed Tiger photo and posted on the refrigerator.
  • January 2007 – Added dog’s photo to the refrigerator to activate positive association.
  • February 2007 – Visited RV dealers to look at Roadtrek Adventurous and Winnebago View.
  • November 2006 – Changed my Yahoo avatar to include an RV in the background.
  • March 2007 – Visited dealers with partner to show Winnebago View.
  • March 2007 – Looked online for more affordable models with similar characteristics. Joined online group for Toyota RVs. Actively monitored used models on craigslist.org and rvtraderonline.com for used Toyotas.
  • March 2007 – Made an offer on a used Toyota Sunrader but did not get it. Put interior and exterior photos of that rig in screensaver slideshow.
  • March 2007 – Drove several hundred miles to look at another used Toyota and bought it.
  • April 2007 – Drove it home.
  • May 2007 – Discovered mold while preparing for first camping trip.
  • June 2007 – Sold at a huge loss.
  • July-August 2007 – Discouraged and distracted.
  • September 2007 – Bought a new Roadtrek SS-Agile.

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12 Comments

  1. Posted October 4, 2007 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Congrats on your new RoadTrek! That’s a great little RV. I’ve actually had my eye on the Adventurous RS since it first came out, and plan to buy a 2008 in the next few months.

    I’ve been doing my own form of an ad campaign for the past few months – which is how I found your site. I use the free Google Alerts service, and receive an email notification any time something new appears online for the term “Roadtrek Adventurous.”
    http://www.google.com/alerts/

    A few minutes ago, I received an email with a summary of your post, and I hopped right over!

    I’ve also got a picture of the new 2008 model on my computer desktop (which I see all day), and other pictures scattered around my office/home. A bit obsessive, for sure, but I know first-hand that you attract what you think about. Looking forward to Spring!

    Good luck with your new RoadTrek. Keep us posted…

    best,
    -joe
    http://www.WebVideoZone.com

  2. Lynn
    Posted October 5, 2007 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Hey Joe,

    The Agile is awesome! Using it has surpassed my expectations. Clearly Roadtrek has really thought about how to build these rigs. I’m sure you’ll get your Adventurous, as aggressively as you’re advertising. Google Alerts are a great idea.

    Lynn

  3. Frank Briard
    Posted October 12, 2007 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Hi, Lynn…

    Your TBYB approach to buying your Agile seems to codify the innernost agonizing that I am currently undergoing in my approach to making the second-most expensive purchase of my life (my home, of course, being the first). I, also, have zeroed in on the SS-Agile as the most likely candidate for my RV choice.

    What seems to be missing from your saga and that which would be most useful for me is the reason(s) why you chose the Agile over, say, the Provan Tiger, or any other of your candidate RV’s. Ideally, I would appreciate a personal review of your Agile. Of particular interest to me would be answers to questions, such as: “Why did you buy new instead of used?”, “What did you pay for your new Agile”, “Do you think that two very compatible people can co-habit within the Agile for an extended period of time?”, “What do you like about the Agile?”, “What don’t you like about it?”, “Does the Agile really achieve the 23-25MPG that is claimed?”, Is the construction of high quality?”, “How is the bed/quality of sleep you get?”, etc., etc.

    I realize I am asking a lot of questions, however, as you may already imagine…..I have been “advertising” this goal in my mind for quite some time….and since you have already “gone through the process to the max”, I place great impetus on your insight. As a result I would really appreciate your sharing your post-SS-Agile-purchase experiences.

    Thank you and regards,

    Frank

  4. Lynn
    Posted October 13, 2007 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    * Why did you buy new instead of used?
    We had a really unfortunate experience buying a used rig in the spring that turned out to be infested with toxic mold. Prior to that I had been assuming our first rig would be a used one (I guess it was). That experience made the huge price tag on new class Bs look better. 2007 is the first model year for the Agile, so I have not seen any of them used yet.

    * What did you pay for your new Agile?
    77K loaded up with most options except fancy paint.

    * Do you think that two very compatible people can co-habit within the Agile for an extended period of time?
    I don’t know yet. I’m at a rally right now and have met two couples traveling in Roadtrek 190s. One couple says it’s their third Roadtrek, it’s great on long trips, and they would not buy anything else. The others are seriously thinking about trading for something larger. I’m traveling by myself right now and could be comfortable in my little Agile for a long time. For extended travel with another person the full swivel range of the drivers seat and the front table on the Adventurous might be nice.

    * What do you like about the Agile?
    My number one priorities were gas mileage and parking in my 20′ driveway. The Agile is perfect on both counts. It’s also a dream to drive, and fits into normal parking spaces anywhere. I keep being delighted by discovering great little features Roadtrek has thought to include because they have so much experience. The other thing I like is kind of intangible, but it’s just…nice. Both the interior and exterior aesthetic is gorgeous.

    * What don’t you like about it?
    The driver’s seat doesn’t swivel all the way around, because the counter is in the way. I knew that would bother me and it does. What’s not so obvious is that in addition to not swiveling around all the way it also can’t recline because it hits the steering wheel. Mostly I just leave it facing forward. And of course there’s very little storage. That doesn’t really rise to the level of disliking it for me, because I’m an old backpacker from the “less is more” school of traveling, but I can see how it could be a disadvantage for longer trips or if you have a hobby like golf that requires large objects. There really isn’t much storage space at all, especially for stowing larger items like chairs (get the kind that roll up into a bag). I have seen folks stow things like that on top of the bed in garbage bags, though – that seems to work well enough. Finally the back lounge area is not real convenient to get in and out of with the table set up. I’ve noticed that most class B people just dispense with their table and leave the bed made.

    * Does the Agile really achieve the 23-25MPG that is claimed?
    It seems to, especially if you drive slow. The first tank of fuel I used was 500ppm #2 diesel and I religiously drove about 50mph to break in the engine. I got 25.5 mpg. The second tank I got 23.8 driving a little faster, partly through mountainous country, with 15ppm fuel (which is supposed to affect mileage a bit) and water tank full. Recently I drove a couple of thousand miles at 60-65mph using mostly 15ppm fuel and averaged 22-23mpg. Still not too bad for an RV. I don’t think the 2008 Roadtreks (with 2007 engines) will get that kind of mileage, because Dodge is switching to a 6 cylinder engine on the 2007 Sprinters.

    * Is the construction of high quality?
    Yes. I have been very pleased with the quality of construction. I’m a carpenter myself and am pretty fussy so it would bother me if it was not well made. There have been very few instances where I have noticed craftmanship glitches.

    * How is the bed/quality of sleep you get?
    The bed is a patchwork of sofa and cushions, as I’m sure you know. I was assuming I would have to add some kind of foam mattress topper and am still experimenting with a combination that will be perfect. Storage for that piece is an issue.

    * etc., etc.
    The Agile only has one waste water tank for both gray and black, instead of two like the Adventurous. Some people might find that to be a disadvantage, but it doesn’t bother me. The bottom line for me was gas mileage. I want to be able to just hop in it and go anywhere I want to, without worrying about how much gas it will take. I’m not aware of any other RV that comes even close to the mpg on the Sprinter van conversions. It’s a real shame Dodge is redesigning the engine. Talk about fixing something that’s not broken!

  5. John Hegeman
    Posted October 16, 2007 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    We bought a new Agile last month and couldn’t be happier.
    My wife and I spent 2 long weekends in the RV without any problems – you just learn to adapt to the smaller spaces.
    For the bed, we bought an queen size air matress that fits perfectly over the cushions and is very confortable.
    Only problem we had was the bathroom – it has a soap/toothbrush holder that has a small green plastic plate as a base. This base sits very loosely in the holder. As Murphies Law rules in our house, while cleaning the toilet, the base plate fell into the toilet – this requires a trip to Roadtrek service to remove the plate from the grey/black combo water tank.
    Otherwise, a great RV – using it as a second vehicle as well.
    John

  6. Lynn
    Posted October 19, 2007 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve been traveling in the rig for almost two weeks now and love it more every day. Sure it’s small, but like John says – you adapt. And every time I park in a normal parking space (all the time) or fill it up with gas (very infrequently) I’m 100% sure we made the right decision to buy the Agile.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Wow, I appreciate self-advertising works but after reading about your RV campaign and how this is “arguably your most successful ad campaign yet” you’ve finally convinced me that you are completely insane.

  8. Lynn
    Posted November 15, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Hard to argue with that, Anonymous, but I’m sure enjoying the RV!

  9. Posted March 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I have always been a big believer in the “you accomplish what you think about” idea. I love the way you put it as “advertising” to yourself. I think my computer monitor and my bathroom mirrors are going to be seeing a lot of sticky notes starting this week!

  10. Posted September 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Great Post Lynn!

    I’ve been looking at a lot of information regardin the law of attraction and other “achieve by thought” type of activities, and I’m always encouraged when I see somebody like you doing just that!

    I hope you’re enjoying your RV!

    Ted

  11. Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Congrats on accomplishing your goal. It sounds like you really programed your mind to go for what you want. I recently started making vision boards to program my mind for success. What will be your next goal to accomplish?

    JoeT

  12. Ellen
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Lynn,

    I am really intrigued by your self-advertising. It does sound a little insane, like Anonymous said, but I get it!

    You said you are a “less is more” person, so you should check out the new Class B called the Lil Tripper XV (just for fun, of course, since you already have your RV). It’s built on (yes, believe it) a Ford Transit Connect! It has a total length of 15 feet but has all the amenities of a regular-sized Class B – even a stand up shower without the toilet in the middle of it – like so many marine showers. It’s quite incredible. Gets 27 mpg. Here’s the web address. (I hope I am putting this in correctly.)

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