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So you are/aren’t on the best/worst list this year? A quick reminder about why.

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I just sent over my submissions of “Best/Worst” for SAM’s annual list. I can’t wait for the full piece to be released.

It’s a tradition I’ve always been grateful to be included in. Not just because of the place it holds in marketers’ hearts, but because it gives me the chance to recap the season, nerd out over my favorite campaigns, and give them a little extra love.

Every year, however, I get at least one email (usually four or five) that suggests we may be missing the mark with the way we interpret these lists. So let me take a moment to address these ideas so we can appreciate it for what it is and enjoy the tradition without reading too deeply into the results.

#1) Our Favorite Campaigns
If I had to define the “Best/Worst” list, I’d do it as follows.

“This list is a compilation of lists created by 4-5 people who keep a close eye on the resort and marketing industries. Each list represents that person’s favorite or least-favorite campaigns they saw during the winter.”

We each spend a lot of time combing through ads and videos and magazines to create our lists, but each group of best/worsts is created independently before we put them into one list.

So it’s not really an award (there’s no judging) and they’re not technically winners (there’s no voting), but it is what people like me feel list was best in the business from that season.

#2) Typically, Only Non-Vanilla is Included
Let me try to explain this by asking a question:

What was your best and worst things you drank last week?

Chances are neither of your choices would be water. A new beer, a fancy bean, that cider your friends were raving about, but probably not H20.

Which is weird, right, because what’s “better” than a drink that keeps you alive?

I often feel the same way about some “best/worsts”. These campaigns are typically the ones that are taking a chance by giving their campaigns some real flavor. Flavor, however, is subjective. So by simply going non-vanilla, you’ve made yourself 100x more likely to become a best and, at the same time, a worst. Like Copper’s videos this year.

Here’s how I described this campaign.

“Copper made marketing that stood out from the rest of skiing’s vanilla marketing and, by so doing, made something that was possible to dislike.”

It doesn’t mean it’s any more nutritious to your resort’s diet (though it might be), it simply means you tried something different and made it possible to like or dislike.

#3) You Can Do Great Marketing & Not Make It
And you may not make it for three reasons.

  1. We couldn’t see it (targeted campaign not in a market of a best/worst contributor).
  2. Your plan didn’t call for anything big, flashy, or noteworthy.
  3. Simply put, we didn’t “like” it.

That last one is an important point. We’re not in your shoes, we don’t see the results, we don’t know why you did this thing instead of that thing, we don’t understand the nuance behind content design for very specific audiences.

This list is a lot of fun and a great way to recognize some of the great marketing done during the season. But if you don’t make the list or end up as a “worst”, remember that the only reason you were a “worst” in the first place is because you tried something new, something different, and, more than likely, something a lot of people did love.

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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