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iMountain

Paul E. Anna
Aspen, CO Colorado

So there we were, watching the Grammys.

They fade to black and then the commercial pod begins with the familiar iPhone theme music. You know the tune: “Dom­dum- dom dum-dom-dum” (OK, so I can’t hum any better than I write) with the guitar and the little piano-y thing going on behind it.

And then, right there on the big plasma screen we’re watch­ing, is an iPhone with a map of, first, Aspen Highlands, and then, as a finger comes into the screen and slides across the face of the phone, a map of Buttermilk. And then, get this, there’s a Zagat guide listing for Campo de Fiori and finally a shot of Jet Blue’s website.

“Dude,” I say, “That’s my hometown!” Someone says, “I can’t believe they used Buttermilk.” Someone else asks “How did Elizabeth get Campo into an Apple ad?” A third person chor­tles, “JetBlue doesn’t fly here!”

Is that inside or what?

To the rest of America, the spot was just another simple and cool Apple ad. They have this stuff down. The music is light. The voice-over doesn’t yell or hype. The video is a single track­ing shot of a phone held in a hand against a black background. Even the name of the phone begins with a non-cap. Under­statement at its best. Still, everyone who sees the ad gets a clear visual of just how great it is to have the Internet in the palm of your hand.

And yet here in Aspen, watching the spot brings up the usu­al Buttermilk bias, a query about how someone “got over” and a sneer about how they got the wrong airline. I love this town. In reality, it is a great ad. The voice-over begins by asking, “What’s so great about having the Internet in your pocket?” and then it shows you in a way that I, and I’m sure just about every other potential member of the iPhone cult, can under­stand.

“Well, then you can see the trail map when you’re on the mountain. Find a good place to eat in town … when you’re hungry. And change your flight when you’re just not ready to go home. That’s what so great.”

By my count, they use just 50 words and a single shot, and they have captured a lifestyle. They have shown how simple it is to live the dream just because you have one of these in your pocket. Wow.

As far as using Buttermilk, I don’t know why they did that, but I’m going to assume that visually it worked the best of the four mountains as a trail map.

How did Campo get in the spot? According to Campo own­er Elizabeth Plotke (in a quote that appeared in Penny Parker’s column in the Rocky Mountain News), ‘It happened because the guy in charge of their ad campaign is a great client and is friends with our manager, Dave Ellsweig,” she said. “iPhone did an ad in conjunction with Zagat and they asked if they could include us. I said, ‘are you kidding?'” And JetBlue? Well, the Frontier news is great, but I sure wish they would set up shop here. Likely the airline fits the same demo and zeitgeist as the iPhone cult, and so they went with the airline that feels right.

Full disclosure here, CNBC-style: “I do not hold any Apple stock and I do not own an iPhone.”

But I may buy both based on this ad.


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