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Exhibitors give reactions to ICAST journey into unknown

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ICAST 2020 Online opened its doors on Monday, taking the tackle industry on a journey into the unknown.
↑ Dave Johns, Vice President Consumer Experience, Zebco Brands: “We are very appreciative of the ASA for its agility in launching a virtual ICAST that enables us to share our exciting 2020 news with the industry.”

The fishing tackle industry in the US is currently navigating unknown territory during what American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Chairman Chris Megan described as the first and ‘hopefully’ last ICAST Online.

Although it is too early to gauge the success of the venture for exhibitors, Angling International caught up with a number to find out their thoughts on the experience so far.  

Chris Russell, Marketing Director of Plano Synergy, said: “ICAST Online is a completely new learning experience for all of us. It is difficult to tell what will work and what will not be as impactful, so we are trying a wide range of things and different tactics to connect with buyers and media this week, both within ICAST Online and outside the show platform. 

“We have had several live events driven though the ICAST website and attendance is just okay. Events hosted via social media like Facebook Live get many more people watching, but not necessarily the industry audience normally targeted at ICAST.

“Leads being generated by the online show have been strong so far and we are seeing them coming in from across the US and all around the world, so that is encouraging.”

“With only the first day gone, we have received some emails from potential new customers, from dealers and distributors both in the Americas and globally, which is positive to see,” reported Paul Michele, Global Director Sales and Marketing for A Band of Anglers.

“We have been able to expand this selling opportunity by inviting them to our more product-specific interactive venue. So far so good!”

Dave Johns, Vice President Consumer Experience at Zebco Brands said: “We are very appreciative of the ASA for its agility in launching a virtual ICAST that enables us to share our exciting 2020 news with the industry, despite the challenges of the disruptive COVID-19 environment.  

“We are pleased with virtual ICAST so far, but are looking forward to being able to return to the face-to-face format in the future.”

His views were endorsed by Tony Mehrl, Director Trade Marketing and Field Activation at Lew’s Holdings Corp. He said: “We’re happy with all that the ASA has done to develop and organise the 2020 ICAST Online in lieu of the originally planned ICAST show in Orlando. 

“They’ve done a great job of developing in a short amount of time a platform for companies to unveil and showcase new products to the world. Though we wish our health environment was in a situation where everyone was shaking hands and holding in-person meetings this week, as we’ve always done at ICAST, it’s great to see the ASA and the fishing industry adapt to this year’s virtual environment. 

“It’s always exciting to see new gear at ICAST each year, and we’re extremely excited about what we have new at Lew’s and Strike King.”

Matt Massey, Chief Marketing Officer, American Baitworks added: “Generally, the virtual version of ICAST 2020 is driving lots of interest in American Baitworks’ new products and we have a number of new dealer opportunities coming from the show. 

“Going into the event, we had three key objectives – generate interest in our new products with dealers and consumers, create new customer and partnership relationships and create broader awareness of our brands. We are already performing well against all three objectives.”

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