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By Dan Schechner, Pool & Spa News Magazine

APSP Drops Major Initiative

The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals has abandoned its nationwide hot tub campaign.

In the works since mid-2007, the ambitious Hot Tub Industry Growth Initiative sought to reverse the downward trend in spa sales. Its goal was to raise $10 million annually for mass-market advertising, as well as education and certification programs.

Hurt by a lack of funding from spa manufacturers — many of whom were already battered by a sluggish economy — the campaign never gained the momentum APSP leaders had hoped would carry it through the early stages of implementation.

Officials with the group recently presented an alternate direction for the initiative, which would have placed more emphasis on sales training than marketing and promotion.

However, that too failed to gain traction.

“The support just wasn’t there,” said Lauren Stack, APSP’s director of public affairs and industry promotion, who helped spearhead the initiative. “We didn’t have the groundswell of backing from the industry.”

The campaign had collected and spent more than $400,000 on various research, planning and outreach projects in an effort to buttress an industry that has seen revenues decline steadily since 2004.

The decision to pull the plug comes on the heels of a May 13 meeting of the Hot Tub Council in Dallas, in which leaders discussed rollout plans for the revamped campaign. That meeting was followed by a Web-based conference call June 5 to announce the proposal to industry members.

For the complete story, including industry reaction, pick up the July 15, 2009 issue of Pool & Spa News.