Thinking Ahead

Congratulations to the Hot Tub Council for having the foresight, taking the initiative and raising the money to execute a plan that will no doubt improve the business climate for everyone in the industry. Not a bad way to start the new year.

At the AQUA Show in Las Vegas, the Hot Tub Council heard proposals from the three public relations firms that made the final cut after the council sent out a request for proposals to help elevate the image of hot tubs. The council asked firms to each present a plan that would address three key public relations goals: Generate positive press coverage in the consumer media, generate positive press coverage in health and medical trade media, and drive more traffic (and leads) to hottubliving.com.

Even if the Council hadn't hired a firm after the full morning of presentations, everyone in attendance learned a lot about how the "outside world" views hot tubs and the industry in general. That's because each of the three firms took it upon themselves to do a little research in preparation for their presentations — the kind of research that can and should be available to the industry on a regular basis.

But the Council did hire Gibbs & Soell, a New York based agency with offices in Chicago, Raleigh, N.C., and San Francisco, and partners worldwide. The firm has extensive experience in the home and consumer lifestyle category (they are part of the reason everyone knows that Delta makes faucets) and in the healthcare category, which makes G&S a great fit for hot tubs. And the firm has something to work with to get things going: The Hot Tub Council is planning a "Million Dollar Hot Tub Giveaway," that will present $1 million worth of free hot tubs to people across the country. Manufacturers are donating the tubs and the recipients will be chosen based on need and the impact that a hot tub will have on their quality of life.

Let's all resolve in 2006 to be as tenacious and forward thinking as the Hot Tub Council.

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