Shimano and B.A.S.S. launch new gear guide

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Today B.A.S.S. LLC launched, a new breed of fishing information website that educates anglers about Shimano’s bass rods and reels, and then helps them buy Shimano gear directly from a nationwide list of independent tackle shops.

“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this — it’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this,” said Jim Sexton, chief digital officer of B.A.S.S. The project is a collaboration of fishing industry powerhouses B.A.S.S. and Shimano. Joining the project is an extensive list of well-known independent retailers from across the United States.

“With the web site, we’re able to showcase our commitment to being the top innovator in bass tackle,” said Chris Hess, Shimano’s marketing manager. “We’re also easily able to point B.A.S.S. members to some of the best tackle shops in the country, shops that have the same commitment we have to fishing, and have proven to be as reliable when it comes to customer service as we always try to be.”

Many features make the site unique. One is the teaming of two of the sport’s biggest names in one URL address, a pairing that will drive bass anglers to the site, Sexton noted. Another is that the site educates anglers, and then helps them to an easy purchase option. With one click, an angler can access an up-to-date list of established independent retailers participating in the project. Organized by city and state, the listings include website, email and physical addresses, their Facebook and Twitter links, as well as the phone numbers of participating Shimano dealers.

Regardless of where they live, bass anglers can immediately purchase a Shimano rod or reel from any of the retailers offering online stores. Questions? No problem. The participating retailers are prepared to answer anglers’ emails and phone calls. Anglers can also quickly pinpoint the stores nearest to them.

“Shimano has always embraced creative marketing ideas and wanted an independent dealer-oriented program for their biggest bass product launch in Shimano history,” said Joe Higgins, senior director of sales at B.A.S.S. “This program offers them a unique promotion with magazine ads, a custom site on and an opportunity for their dealers to be featured on a national bass fishing stage.”

A series of Shimano print advertisements will appear in Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times magazines, beginning with Bassmaster’s 2012 Pro Guide published in February. The ads, which include the list of independent retailers, are designed to drive consumers to the new online classroom.

The site offers an array of learning experiences and top-notch teachers. Videos — featuring Mark Zona and Dave Mercer and Shimano experts — clearly explain why and how specific Shimano products were designed to handle specific tasks and techniques. Photo galleries and in-depth articles continue the angler education. Much of the content was produced by JM Associates, the division of B.A.S.S. that creates The Bassmasters, an award-winning television show.

Bass anglers of all skill levels can pick up loads of useful information from the site, notes Bob Mahoney, who heads up Shimano’s B.A.S.S. marketing program.

“Anglers are being provided with in-depth information on all our casting and spinning gear designed for tackling bass,” Mahoney said. “They can view videos and read articles from our product staff, quickly check specs for, say, a reel’s line capacity, or use the site to learn which new Crucial or Compre rod is perfect for which specific fishing technique.”

The content will be refreshed periodically as new tackle for bass anglers is developed and introduced by Shimano. Site visitors will be the first to see Shimano’s new Core Mg7 baitcasting reel, which will be officially introduced at the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.

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