Copper Mountain ‘Snow Day’ campaign wins accolades
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Vail, CO Colorado
COPPER MOUNTAIN – Along the I-70 corridor, Copper Mountain is sandwiched among ski industry giants, including Breckenridge and Vail. But a nimble campaign of clever marketing succeeded in turning heads toward Copper this season among the public and industry insiders alike.
Copper’s “Everyone Deserves a Snow Day” campaign won the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) 2009-2010 award for best marketing by a ski area with more than 500,000 skier visits.
The resort built its marketing program around the concept of the “snow day” and the associated feelings of youthful delight and unexpected freedom over hearing a radio DJ announce school is canceled. The campaign sported retro 70s imagery and design, further fostering nostalgia for childhood.
“I really felt it was a refreshing, fun approach,” said NSAA judge Christine Donovan. “It was entertaining, and they were really getting results from it, which is key.”
Starring in the Snow Day campaign is a group of improv actors Copper hired to dress in disco-era ski patrol uniforms and sport mustaches that would have been the envy of Magnum P.I. Visitors to the Snow Day website can generate their own ski patrol name tags, with middle names like “Safety Pants,” “Stache it” and “Welcome to Awesome.” Facebook members who access the site can choose from a variety of mustaches to affix to their profile pictures.
The ski patrol troupe flew to target markets around the country, including Dallas, Kansas City and New York City, conducting comedic guerilla skits and handing out Copper stickers and adhesive mustaches. The actors blew snow onto the lawn of a radio DJ in Austin and at American Airlines Arena during a Dallas Stars hockey game.
“I think the thing that’s most impressive about it is that it speaks to a variety of audiences, generationally,” said NSAA contest judge Andy Hawk. “Across different types of media – viral efforts, Facebook, the ski patrol running around – it pulls everyone in. The concept of everyone deserving a snow day is something we can all identify with, no matter how old we are. And it all boils down to the common need for more skiing and riding.”
Copper’s marketing department used the concept to drive website visits and package promotional deals and discounts. The mustache Facebook application could be paired with an offer for 20 percent off lodging, for example. And when Facebook users passed the application on to friends, they passed on the promotional offer as well, thereby doing free marketing legwork for Copper.
“We’re selling fun and promoting fun, so we should present it in a fun way,” Copper marketing director Pete Woods said. “If we can be seen as the clever pranksters you want to come ski with, that’s pretty cool.”
Woods said today’s public can easily tire of being marketed to, given the wide variety of advertising media companies use to promote their products. So the approach has to be authentic and tap into the consumer’s sense of value.
“We’re pretty confident that our skiing experience is great. But we’re in one of the most competitive ski markets in the world, and it’s easy to get overshadowed by Vail. We have to take some more risks and make it fun, or we get lost in the shadows,” Woods said.