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Print Ads
The simple reason Alta’s 2018/19 print ad stood out.

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Print is tough. On the one hand, you can try something radically different like Snowbird’s 1-Star campaign and really try to break through the noise. And you might just pull it off.

But such daring attempts at glory naturally carry risk. Risk that you, or your team/leadership, may not have the stomach for.

I really do love the idea of throwing convention to the wind and trying something new. But in the absence of an innovative, exciting idea, I think with print we sometimes try to be different without having a valid belief those differences will actually perform better.

We overthink and, yes, overdesign our ads.

Here’s a simple example. As I flipped the pages of this season’s ski mags this one from Alta stood out.

The recipe is very straightforward:

  • A simple headline.
  • A simple line below that.
  • A beautiful photo.
  • A logo.

Now, looking at such an ad it’d be easy to step back and say:

“Man, it didn’t look like they spent much time on this. Seems like if you’re gonna spend $XX,XXX on that ad, you should at least put more time into the design and message?”

Which is a really interesting thought. As if the only way to justify spending a certain level of budget on an ad is to then spend a certain level of time on the creative.

But what if the medium is one where simplicity reigns king? What do you do then?

An Alternative
My favorite magazine to read, hands down, is Offscreen. The content is incredible, the design even better.

The ads, though, are different. You don’t submit a spread, you submit text and a logo. Then, one after another, they sit in the middle of the magazine.

Here’s the thing. When I read SKI or Powder, I can occasionally remember 5-10% of the advertisers. But when I read offscreen, I can often remember 40-50% (or more) of the advertisers in an issue.

My Belief
The common thread between Offscreen and Alta? Simplicity.

As far as I can tell, the ads that succeed at being noticed and remembered are the ones that keep it simple. Sometimes I wonder if, secretly, Offscreen’s ad format is a designer’s effort to save advertisers from themselves as much as anything else. To say:

“Look, i know you want to spend a month with that agency going back and forth and I know it’ll make you feel better about the cost of the spread…but…trust me…it’s not worth it.”

In the absence of a crazy-innovative idea, I think resorts would be wise to consider doing the same. To follow Alta’s lead. You may not hit a home run, but you may not get overlooked either.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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