McClelland The Marketer

Category: notes

 Jan 29th, 2009 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jan 29th, 2009 at 12:00 AM

The first Bassmaster Elite Series pro to land event-specific boat-wrap deals, Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., is close to achieving another marketing opportunity.

McClelland and country singer Jeff Bates are exploring joint projects that build on the affinity that country music fans have for bass fishing, and vice versa.

Their collaboration began with a tie-in to the recent release by Bates, “Riverbank.” The song is about a son’s visit to his father’s grave, and his memories of their fishing trips together.

“Jeff had recently released the song ‘Riverbank,’ and his label wanted some video and still shots of him fishing for his Web site and other purposes, so that’s how we got together,” McClelland said. “Now we’re talking about other possibilities for cross-marketing.”

To do the shoots, McClelland took Bates out on Tennessee’s Percy Priest Lake. “Out on the water, we talked a lot about our backgrounds, as far as growing up fishing and how relaxing it can be,” said McClelland, a six-time BASS winner and five-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, including the upcoming Feb. 20-22 Classic on the Red River in Louisiana. “Even though it is my occupation, it’s still something I can do to get away and relax and make memories with family. That’s the biggest thing we had in common.”

In the 2008 Elite season, McClelland made a midyear deal with Tahoe Smokeless for a boat wrap, yet retained the Champion Boats-Falcon Rods wrap with which he began his season. Teaming with Bates is further proof McClelland is one of the most progressive marketers among Elite pros, although he says it’s something he has learned along the way.

“I have to give a lot of credit to a very good friend of mine, Bobby Whitson, a sports marketer,” McClelland said. “He’s been a very strong relationship for me because he’s opened my eyes to the possibilities and how we as professional anglers have to market not only ourselves but our sport to the nonendemic world.”

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