Skico’s new ad campaign touts Aspen’s leadership | AspenTimes.com

Skico’s new ad campaign touts Aspen’s leadership

ASPEN – The Aspen Skiing Co. scaled back the amount of print advertising it is running for the 2011-12 season, but the new vice president of marketing still aims to pack a punch with ads in magazines such as Ski, Outside and Freeskier.

Christian Knapp joined Skico two months ago and immediately overhauled the ad campaign theme.

“Kind of midstream this year after I arrived we made some decisions collectively that it was time to move the brand to a different point,” Knapp said. “We undertook some really quick work to make that happen.”

The prior advertising campaign was built around the concept of “come live the experience.” One ad showed a typical office in any given city and noted that while a person might work there, their heart was on the slopes. It featured gnarly terrain and touted the diversity of Aspen-Snowmass ski areas.

Knapp said Skico changed the theme to one that “really gets to the meat of the matter of why Aspen-Snowmass is differentiated from our competition.”

The new theme boldly declares that Aspen is the trendsetter for the ski world. Each ad starts by saying, “Before Aspen,” then gets into a specific issue. One ad says, “Before Aspen, Winter Was Just Cold,” and features an interesting picture looking down on a single skier making a turn among aspen tree trunks. The skier isn’t doing anything special, but the camera angle makes the image eye-catching.

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The small ad copy promotes the diversity of terrain. “Experience Aspen/Snowmass and its four amazing mountains and you will realize how vibrant winter can be,” the ad says. “Community, culture and nature exist in perfect harmony. The heart of a city. The soul of a mountain town. This is Aspen/Snowmass.”

The ad is running this fall in Outside magazine.

Another ad says: “Before Aspen, You Had Friends on a Powder Day.” It features a skier carving a turn in powder and getting a face shot. That ad is running in Freeskier magazine.

Other ads in the campaign feature copy such as: “Before Aspen, X was just a letter in the alphabet.” That proudly touts the fact that Aspen hosts the immensely popular Winter X Games.

On the other end of the spectrum, another ad features family-friendliness at Snowmass. “Before Aspen, happily ever after didn’t look like this.”

“We looked at some other campaigns but this one really spoke to us,” Knapp said. “It puts a line in the sand and says, ‘Before Aspen a lot of things in the ski world and the resort world didn’t exist.’ Aspen’s an innovator. Aspen’s an original. Aspen’s a leader.”

Skico isn’t using “uncrowded by design” as a catchphrase, but it is building off the fact that “we’re a little harder to get to,” said Knapp, who spent 13 years with Vail Resorts, most recently at Keystone. Skico will promote that it isn’t on Interstate 70, doesn’t allow jumbo jets to fly into its airport and doesn’t pull massive crowds from Denver, he said.

Skico will also tout Aspen-Snowmass as “inviting and approachable.” The key is picking the words carefully around that point. “We’re not going to say we’re a super-discounted place or value place, but there are ways to come here,” he said.

In the old days, print ads were a major part of the marketing campaign. Now social media demands more attention. Skico’s Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare pages and accounts have nearly 40,000 followers. The company will target those customers with video, messages and special offerings, Knapp said.

scondon@aspentimes.com