Outdoor Industry Association Campaign Highlights Power of “Coopetition”

The new advertising effort led by the group, launched at a major winter tradeshow, brings together retailers, manufacturers, advocacy leaders, and even a governor.

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) isn’t just about climbing a few rocks or catching a few fish—though that’s certainly a part of it.

The organization, which has become a bit of a force in Washington in recent years, is highlighting the importance of collaboration throughout its industry in a new ad campaign announced this week at the Winter Market Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in Salt Lake City.

The campaign, titled “Together We Are a Force,” features a series of photos of officials—two per picture—who  represent different parts of the outdoor industry and emphasize the work they do. OIA leaders, like Executive Director Amy Roberts, are represented, but so too are manufacturers and nonprofits that have teamed up, along with famed filmmakers like Cedar Wright, and even Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. The initiative features multimedia elements on the OIA website.

The posters are designed to emphasize OIA’s success in what it calls “coopetition,” or collaborative efforts that highlight a competitive spirit. In Hickenlooper’s case, for example, he’s teamed with David Leinweber, a specialty retailer based in Colorado Springs, on policies favorable to small retailers.

The initiative is also designed to highlight the strength of the industry’s voice, including on the advocacy front. Wright, for example, is teamed up with Jessica Wahl, OIA’s recreation policy director, and Roberts is shown with Rich Hill, the president of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance—a sometimes-competing group that worked with OIA to reschedule a tradeshow to hew closer to product cycles.

Roberts says the campaign is meant to emphasize solidarity among its members during a tough political climate.

“We know that there are numerous issues that are too important, too significant to be shouldered by the individual—they need to be addressed by the entire industry. On issues like the environment and sustainability, by working together and uniting our voices, we can achieve great success,” OIA’s Roberts said in a news release.

The campaign is taking center stage at the Winter Market Outdoor Retailer, which takes place through Thursday, and depending on the reaction to the campaign, could play a role in OIA’s later events.

Fly fisherman David Leinweber with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. (Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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