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Commentary: Keeping The Show Going

Even though the 2021 Miami International Boat Show is eight months away, no one call tell you with any certainty—given all the dynamics of COVID-19 pandemic—that the show will go on. My hunch is that it will. Among the (very) good signs is that previously cut-back staffers of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the outfit that puts on the Miami event, will go back to working full-time tomorrow.

Virtually or otherwise, the show goes on. Photo from the 2018 Miami International Boat Show by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.

Then again, four months ago my hunch was that next month’s Boyne Thunder and 1,000 Islands Charity poker runs would happen. Both have been cancelled.

No forecast of gloom and doom here—just a reality check. Uncertain times are, by definition, uncertain.

That’s why yesterday’s news that Brunswick Corporation will hold its first virtual boat show, July 21-22 via its website, piqued my reporting interest. Among the brands that the publicly traded company will showcase during the two-day online event is Mercury Racing.

To learn a bit more, I reached out to Andrea Jansen, the brand manager for the Fond du Lac, Wis., the undisputed leader of high-performance marine power.

“Mercury Racing will be participating very similarly to how we would present at any other live show,” she explained. “You will be able to explore Mercury Racing’s thrilling product lineup through interactive content like videos and digital brochures. You will also be able to interact with our experts through live chat channels.”

“What is really interesting is this digital format allows us to keep the show experience going long after ‘show hours’ are over, allowing consumers to access the content for 60 days after the event has concluded—a real benefit if a user wants to revisit the content or isn’t able to log in for the live show” she continued. “It will be a truly unique experience and something very new for Mercury Racing to try as we engage consumers during these unprecedented times.”

For better or worse, the online experience will not be the same as walking the docks at what we all hope will be next year’s Miami International Boat Show. But virtually or otherwise, the show will go on.

Related Story: Virtual Boat Show To Feature Mercury Racing