(The following is commentary from Partner Lanette VanWagenen)
9:00 a.m. Wed Brochure Shoot.
Today the shoot is buzzing with excitement. Our biggest Fan has arrived, with his lovely wife, Denise. Bryan Hermann is from Clinton, Iowa, and has been a loyal Manitou boater for years. He has arrived to check out the new models, and to be part of our photo shoot.
It was a pleasure to meet them both. Down to earth, with a deep love of boating, Bryan has been a supporter, advisor and general all-around Manitou Man on our Facebook page since the beginning! They arrived to a beautiful day on the lake, and we were so grateful the predicted storms did not arrive. Watching him take off on a 2012 Legacy SHP 27 with a 300 ETEC motor was awesome. But I think the smile on his face told it all.
The jokes were flying as Team Manitou swapped his shirt out, adjusted his makeup and hair, and asked “Did he know how to drive one of these?”. But as expected, he sure did and looked great at it.
I think the part I liked best was when he mentioned that it was Denise who now wanted a new boat. The look on her face was priceless.
The day rolled along, with lots accomplished, and even a factory tour for Denise and Bryan.
The shoot is nearly finished, maybe a couple boats tomorrow. It has been a great experience, and completed with speed and efficiency. Always a good thing. Thanks to Bryan and Denise, for making this year so special!
(More on this year’s photo shoot from Greg VanWagenen)
Day 3 started off with a grim weather report. The afternoon called for thunderstorms and hail. The rush was on in the morning to see how many boats we could finish before the day was rained out.
Bryan Hermann and his wife Denise came all the way from Iowa to see the new boats and take part in our video and brochure. They are two of our most loyal Manitou owners who just love their boat. They were able to drive 3 new boats and take a tour of the Manitou factory. We are very appreciative of their time and dedication to boating and Manitou.
As the day progressed the weather report got a little better each hour. Before we knew it 7 boats were completed and we had only two left to shoot before the photograph portion of our on water fun. Looking back on the weather forecast and worrying about our timeline makes me wonder how all the weather services could have been so wrong. Don’t get me wrong I am thankful for the sunny productive day but I could have done without the stress and worry the night before.
The sun is rising on our last morning for photographs and I am happy to report that this year turned out to be one of our best shoots for pictures and for timing.
(More from the 2012 shoot from Greg VanWagenen)
Day started off with intense sparkle on the water. As expected the day has started more quickly. We all know our jobs and are off running. A bit of a stiff breeze today, that will add to our challenge. Shooting boats on the water has it’s own unique challenges.
1) Is it a still shot? If so, it can be easy, as long as the wind is not too fierce, which can blow either the shoot boat or the subject around. Holding still and looking natural can be arduous, but our photographer knows how to keep it relatively painless.
2) A moving shot has it’s own peculiarities. All things have to be lined up………sun, ( no clouds, please) subjects, models all poised. Hair not too blowing around. With our VToon performance boats, keeping everything in place can be tough! And we have had to upgrade our Shoot boat over the years, boosting it’s HP to make it able to keep pace with the model boat. Camera equipment for these shots is paramount. SPEED SPEED SPEED.
3) Action shots with skiers, tubes or wakeboarders makes #2 just more intense!
(This is a stream of thought update from Greg VanWagenen, Director of Marketing and Sales Communication, from the recent 2012 model shoots)
Mist over the corn fields as we approached the lake. Always surprising to have this beautiful lake appear, suddenly amongst the verdant farmland. Beautiful morning, bodes well for a great day of shooting.
Sky over the lake is baby blue with trailing cloudy wisps, not unlike the wake behind a boat. A group of swans grace the water, their images reflecting in the clam, mirror-like surface. Maybe the lake should be renamed Swan Lake?
It’s always a slow start on the first day of the shoot. We are all rusty; a few hours later and Team Manitou is a fine tuned machine. The questions come easily, and better yet, the answers flow with creativity.
- Which boat next?
- What is our motivation? Atmosphere?
- Who are the best models for this shot?
- What shall they wear?
- Props? Too many, over kill. Just the right amount set the scene.
- Load ‘em up…jump on the shoot boat…fire up the walkie talkies and get another shot in the can.
Of course we shoot a lot of young people for the brochure. Lots of obvious reasons, but you can add free time, youthfulness, and lots of choices in swimwear to that list. Interesting to watch them as they patiently wait for the model time. One with a book, several with magazines, but ALL with cell phones. Cell phones that, even in this fairly remote spot, on a glorious day at the lake, are GLUED to their hands, ears and eyes. Checking texts. Playing games. My how things have changed. I tried to imagine what they would be doing if there were no cell phones. What did kids do at the beach before the advent of this hand vice? Probably there were more conversations and interactions. Possibly more physical activity, tossing a football or Frisbee.
The 2012 Manitou Dealer Meeting has just wrapped up. Attendance increased substantially this year, with current dealer and perspective dealer attendance highest in Manitou history. So far, we have successfully signed eight new dealerships. Manitou’s reputation of producing quality and performance boats is becoming the talk of the pontoon industry. Dealers around the country are beginning to grow weary of larger builders run by investment groups who seem to focus only on numbers and quarterly reports. The friendly, intimate size and hands-on approach of Manitou is a rarity in today’s market.
Our new changes were accepted with huge praise by dealers. The new raised helm and LX walls were the talk of the meeting. The look and style of the Manitou product has evolved continually over the last three years, and the hard work is paying off. The 26-year lineage of quality performance pontoons has successfully blended with some of the latest and most attractive pontoons on the market.
Dealers who attended the meeting were able to test drive four units in the water and look at 15 other boats in the factory. The biggest surprise for some of the dealers was the superior handling of our 20 Oasis VP with a 115 outboard. Customers cannot find a better value on the water for mid-level performance and style.
Receiving patent protection and marketing V-Toon Technology for seven years means huge dividends, apparent in our dealer meeting orders. For the month of September alone, Manitou will build 87 percent V-Toon hulls and 13 percent twin tube models, eclipsing our 2011 hull average of only 56 percent V-Toon builds. Although we do not expect to build 87 percent V-Toon hulls beyond September, we are happy to see such a strong demand for our performance pontoons.
I can’t tell you how many times I have met someone and started a conversation about work. They find out that I work for a company that builds pontoon boats, and 9 times out of 10, the first words out of their mouth are “that must be really fun” or “oh you get to ride around on boats all day”. While that is partially true, there are many stressful stretches at this job just like most others. Continue reading “Dealer Meeting Preparation”