One advantage of being an influencer is getting to partner with large brands. For these partnerships to work best, they should be mutually beneficial. However, sometimes these deals tilt in one party’s favor.
Recently, Chad and Tara of Changing Lanes revealed their partnership with Grand Design on a new toy hauler floorplan. While it sounds like a pretty sweet RV, it may appear the couple got swindled by a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
So what’s the deal with the Changing Lanes-inspired floor plan from Grand Design? Was it a great deal or a grand disaster? Let’s see!
About Changing Lanes
Changing Lanes is a social media brand by content creators Chad and Tara Florian and their dog Daisy. They’ve grown their YouTube channel to nearly 250,000 subscribers since 2017 and have become a trusted authority in the RV community.
They document their travel adventures and share RV DIY projects and other helpful tips and tricks to make the most out of the RV lifestyle. They use their massive fifth-wheel toy hauler to haul around their 2018 Indian Roadmaster motorcycle to enjoy the wind in their hair as they travel the country.
About Grand Design RV
Grand Design is an RV manufacturer located in Northern Indiana since 2012. They create a variety of travel trailers, fifth wheels, and toy haulers.
In 2016, mega-RV manufacturer Winnebago Industries purchased Grand Design for $500 million. Many owners feel service and overall unit quality suffered since Winnebago Industries took over the company.
Grand Design has gained popularity in recent years as they’re one of the few manufacturers that warranties their rig for full-time living. They have a reputation for creating high-quality rigs and taking care of customers after the sale.
The company says they feel that happy customers are repeat customers, and they’re one of the most popular manufacturers in the industry.
What Is the Changing Lanes-Inspired New Floorplan for Grand Design RV?
Changing Lanes has been traveling in their 2018 Grand Design Momentum 397TH for several years. They’ve lived full-time in the rig and taken great care of it. While it provided a great place for the couple to call home while on the road, there were some things the couple would have done differently.
The couple has been brand ambassadors for Grand Design for several years and had direct access to some of the top names in the RV industry, especially at Grand Design. They were able to work with Grand Design to create what they think is the perfect RV layout for full-time living.
The couple worked directly with Grand Design for almost three years on an ideal layout for anyone traveling full-time in an RV. The Grand Design Momentum 410THR is the product of a few years of blood, sweat, and tears between Grand Design and Changing Lanes.
Did Changing Lanes Get a Sweet Deal?
We already tipped our cards a little earlier on how this deal appeals, but there were a few benefits for all the hard work Changing Lanes put into designing the Momentum 410THR. Let’s take a look at the sweet side of the deal for Chad and Tara.
They Helped Create a New Floorplan
It doesn’t matter how much an RVer spends on their rig; there are usually some things they love and some things they hate about it. However, while many manufacturers receive customer input, very few listen or do anything with it. In this instance, Chad and Tara had the opportunity to sit at the table with the people in the position to make decisions and take action.
One of the benefits of the partnership was the couple’s ability to work directly with Grand Design and use the knowledge they had gained while traveling full-time in their rig. They created a rig that emphasized the important areas and features required by full-time RVers. At the same time, they could minimize those areas and features that are less important or unnecessary.
Upgrading Their Current Rig
The couple had spent the past few years traveling in their RV. While their toy hauler was still in fantastic condition, it was time for them to upgrade to a new and improved rig.
The partnership will make it easy for them to go through the process directly with the manufacturer and hopefully get the best deal possible for the couple.
Strengthened Their Relationship With Grand Design RV
It’s always good to have people in your corner when doing business. This project helped strengthen Chad and Tara’s relationship with Grand Design RV.
They were regularly speaking with and interacting with big wigs. If the couple faces any issues with their rig while on the road, Grand Design will surely return their calls and help them get back on the road as quickly as possible.
Did Changing Lanes Get Swindled?
While Chad and Tara are excited about announcing this massive project, it doesn’t appear as sweet of a deal as it sounds. Let’s look at how Changing Lanes may have gotten slightly swindled by Grand Design.
There’s No ‘Changing Lanes’ Branding on the New RV
Only one name appears on the new RV: Grand Design. There appears to be zero indication that it was inspired by Changing Lanes in any capacity.
The only indication of any involvement from Chad and Tara is a small Changing Lanes logo on the company’s website. You may not even notice the logo if you don’t know it.
The description of the RV lists all of the specs for the RV. But, it fails to mention anything about the collaboration between the two brands.
When many other vehicle manufacturers partner with brands to design a vehicle or rig, they make it obvious. Grand Design appears to have little interest in sharing the spotlight with Changing Lanes and instead wants to take all the credit for themselves.
They’ll Be Paying for Their Upgraded Rig
While Chad and Tara will have the opportunity to upgrade their rig, it sounds like they’re still paying for it. We’ve heard horror stories about Grand Design and other large brands treating their brand ambassadors with less than stellar respect.
Chad and Tara never share what they’re paying or how they benefit from the deal. However, they have stated in a video they will still be paying for the upgraded rig.
While it’s safe to assume they will not be paying a $100,000 price tag, it’s surprising that Grand Design is making them pay anything. Considering the fact that Changing Lanes has put in years of time and effort to help create the floorplan and will be marketing the new RV, possibly for free.
After years of work and the amount of attention Changing Lanes will give the RV, the least Grand Design could have done was to give them one of the finished models. When creating new RVs, they have to build multiple prototype models anyway, and those have to go somewhere. Grand Design could have given the final prototype to Changing Lanes.
They Worked on This Project For Years
The couple repeatedly mentions how much effort and work went into the project. They’ve never once disclosed any payment they received from Grand Design or discounts from the partnership.
However, judging from what we’ve heard from others and the verbiage the couple uses when talking about the process, it appears they did it for free. Working for years on a project for free is something that not many people would be willing to do.
Minimal Marketing By Grand Design
Good luck finding any marketing materials from Grand Design regarding the partnership. Changing Lanes has created almost all of that content.
If you weren’t aware of Changing Lanes, you’d never know there was a collaboration between the two entities. The small logo on the company’s website with the floorplan is nice but requires no effort on Grand Design’s part.
Examples of RV Collaborations That Are Clearly Partnerships
If you want to see what actual brand collaborations look like, below are a few examples. Here are a few great options from which Grand Design could learn a thing or two about future RV collaborations.
Airstream and REI
Airstream and REI announced their partnership on a Special Edition Airstream Basecamp. REI saw the growth in the RV industry and how many customers were turning to RVs for sustainability in travel.
Bob Wheel, Airstream’s CEO, stated, “We’re honored to partner with REI on this special edition Basecamp travel trailer, and this partnership is another example of the efforts we’re taking to help reduce the carbon footprint of travel across the world in an Airstream.”
This RV is a 16-foot travel trailer with 360 watts of flexible rooftop solar panels and a 200Ah battery bank. In addition, each rig comes with a 25-piece REO Co-op product kit that provides RVers with various useful camping gear to use during their adventures.
The camper starts at $52,900, and customers could start placing orders in July 2022.
Airstream and Supreme
Airstream knows how to do partnerships, and it’s why they entered into a deal with Supreme. If you extend the awning on this 22-foot travel trailer, there’s no questioning who Airstream partnered with on the rig.
The awning contains the Supreme branding prominently on the canvas. Step inside the rig and the bright red ultra leather used for the dinette reveals more branding for Supreme. It’s impossible to miss a partnership between the two brands.
Airstream and Pottery Barn
Another Airstream RV partnership is with Pottery Barn. They released this 28-foot travel trailer as a partnership between the two iconic brands. In this rig, you’ll find custom Pottery Barn furniture, unique storage solutions, and many more incredible features with the quality RVers expect from Airstream.
You can pick between a queen or twin-bed floor plan and sleep up to five people in this rig. Instead of cheap bedding, this model comes with specific bedding selected by the Pottery Barn design team.
Winnebago and the National Park Foundation
Winnebago partnered with the National Park Foundation to create a unique Travato. There are only 100 Limited Edition National Park Foundation Travatos in existence.
It includes custom graphics with the National Park Foundation logo and all-terrain tires. It also has a $250 donation to the National Park Foundation and a host of features that make it ideal for adventuring across the country.
We love that Winnebago wasn’t afraid to make the partnership obvious and that purchases of the rig supported an important cause.
We Believe Grand Design Got the Better Deal
While we think Chad and Tara did an incredible job designing this floorplan and that it will be an excellent rig for them to travel in, they may have gotten the short end of the stick. We would love to see Grand Design do more to promote the partnership between the two brands and give Changing Lanes recognition for all of the work they put into the project.
Grand Design RV, a company worth half a billion dollars, has a capable marketing department. It can create high-quality content to showcase the partnership and release an official statement regarding the rig. However, that may require them to share the spotlight for once, which it appears isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
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