Nudist association targets Gen Xers in new initiative

KISSIMMEE, FL: The American Association of Nude Recreation (AANR) has launched a campaign to encourage a new generation to visit nude and clothing-optional resorts.

KISSIMMEE, FL: The American Association of Nude Recreation (AANR) has launched a campaign to encourage a new generation to visit nude and clothing-optional resorts.

The 75-year-old organization, comprising 270 destinations in the US and Canada, realized that "a lot of its membership was getting older," said PR coordinator Carolyn Hawkins. The time was right, she said, to target the Gen X demographic and "introduce younger people in to see what the organization was all about."

Kissimmee, FL-based AANR noted that nude recreation has experienced tremendous growth within the past decade and is today a $400 million niche within the US travel industry. But "we have to look to the future," said Marie Kephart, senior account manager at AANR's Orlando, FL-based AOR, Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell PR.

Outreach efforts began with resort-owner seminars covering amenities that Gen X vacationers might want in a club. Topics ranged from high-speed Internet connections to premium coffees, Kephart said. Another seminar focused on how already-established Gen X nudists could serve as brand ambassadors and help club owners communicate new ideas and directions.

With help from in-house project lead Steve Vickers - himself a Gen X nudist - AANR has been inviting 18- to 35-year-olds to spend a day at resorts, which range in ambience from campground-rustic to luxury spa.

Phase two of the effort includes more aggressive outreach in the social media space, noted Kephart. AANR already has an active MySpace page and is set to launch a Gen X-angled "first-timers" blog and a series of podcasts shortly after the new year.

AANR is also reaching out to Gen X-targeted health, travel, and entertainment magazines, Kephart said, positioning its resorts as both "stress-free getaways" and excellent values.

"Membership in AANR can be purchased for less than the cost of a bathing suit," she said.

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