Richard Carnes: Quite a week for exposure in the Vail Valley
“Surprise her with a bigger ski pole” read the ad on what looked like the front page of the Vail Daily Web site last Monday.
Imagine my surprise when I saw this little gem, showing a female holding a light bulb in her mouth (would it light up with a mouse over?), and now feign your own surprise as I reveal “ski pole” is my editor-induced, politically correct euphemism for a male’s naughty parts.
Not one but two ads were happily flashing across the top and right side of the page. With http://www.vaildaily.com being my home page (duh), I continued my daily routine of skimming the morning headlines (low-end cost-cutting in a high-end ski area) and clicked on the Drudge Report.
Lo and behold, the same promiscuous ad was front and center.
Continuing to http://www.foxnews.com (I have a lot of bases to cover each morning), I again discovered the same promise from Vimax, the alleged miracle drug touted by the ad, in all its light-bulb-enhancing glory.
Three sites, three identical “ski pole” ads. What in the wide, wide world of guerrilla marketing was going on? I knew advertisers were getting desperate nowadays, but this seemed a tad over the line, unless of course lawyers had taken over the biz.
Anyway, 10 minutes of research exposed the true culprit to be a specific piece of malware (a.k.a. an Internet virus), which hijacked the front-page ads on just about every site I visited. The Vail Daily, along with all the other sites, not only had nothing whatsoever to do with the “ski pole enhancement” ads, there was no way for them to know the intrusion was even occurring.
So, speaking of “ski pole” exposures and viruses, Monday happened to
be the same day the Web went viral with the all-encompassing, internationally worthy, world-changing news of the anonymous 48-year-old skier “dangling” from the Blue Sky Basin lift for seven earth-shattering minutes.
Please, oh please, let his name be Chad.
Yes, the puns are endless, and you can find them on literally hundreds of Web sites by now, none original any longer but all still pretty funny (if anything, Chilly Willy’s can use it in their advertising).
If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Vail Resorts planned every step of the way, from the moment the incident occurred to now. With the economy in tatters, the industry on hold and layoffs allegedly just starting, as long as no deaths are associated, then there is no such thing as bad publicity, especially with a viral-hungry Internet.
And please spare me the pretend outrage and fake righteous indignation, as this is the best thing to happen to Happy Valley since Kobe and his “dangling chad.”
Trust me, this story will grow astronomically over the years. I can see it now: The commando skier will become a snowboarder; or the “victim” will be a female; she’ll be topless; or it’ll be husband and wife; or a young couple embraced for hours upside down while kissing passionately for the appreciative crowd; Packy Walker and a chocolate Lab will somehow be involved; the possibilities are infinite.
I absolutely guarantee the scenario will be used in a TV sitcom with a horrid laugh track and the next B-grade ski movie that pretends to be set in Aspen but is actually filmed in Rifle.
But, seriously, I thought the “Surprise her with a bigger ski pole” ads would be a much bigger issue for public discussion than some unlucky sap who got toilet bowled on a ski lift.
Shows what I know.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.