New ads take Skico in ‘bold’ direction
August 24, 2006
When ski area advertisements appear in sports magazines next month, don’t expect Aspen Skiing Co. to rely on beautiful models in bright outfits slicing immaculate white power under a brilliant blue sky.”Every ad is the same,” said Skico senior vice president David Perry. So the Skico will distance itself from the Vails, Deer Valleys and Stowes of the world by making a bold statement focusing on global warming rather than skiing.”To be heard, you have to have a message that’s bold and able to break through,” said Skico CEO Pat O’Donnell. The company wants to expand its role as an environmental activist by taking its message beyond the Roaring Fork Valley, he said.It’s doing so with its major print advertising campaign for the 2006-07 season. Three ads with environmental messages will run starting in the October editions of Ski and Outside. They will continue running for three months.Perry declined to offer a sneak peak of the ads but described them as conveying a message “consistent with this community’s intense concern with global warming.” The ads will steer readers toward a website that offers more information about global warming and, presumably, with actions people can take to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.The Skico has gone against the grain of the sterotypical ski resort ad campaigns before. In the late 1980s its “Aspens” campaign, which showed the many faces of the town and resort, featured ads with images like an old pair of skis leaning against a log structure. It avoided skiers on the slopes.That campaign received mixed reviews locally (what doesn’t?). Some people thought the ads were sophisticated; others thought they were dull and too much of a soft sell.Perry said the Skico’s homework indicates customers and potential customers will be receptive to the environmentally based ads this year. Five years ago a Skico survey showed that only 10 percent of its customers said the environmental policies of the company were important and helped drive their decision about where to go on vacation. A survey last spring showed that segment surging to 30 percent, according to Perry. It’s even higher among younger customers, he said.The Skico is willing to bet environmental issues are equally important to skiers and riders who aren’t currently visiting Aspen/Snowmass.There is no evidence that environmentally based ads turn anyone off.The editions of Ski and Outside with the Skico’s first new ads should hit newsstands in mid-September.Scott Condon’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.