skip to main content

Maybe We Needed to Admit What Viewers Are Thinking to Capitalize on Olympic Fever

divider image for this post

I haven’t been shy about sharing my concerns over the high-risk level of skiing that grabs primetime TV minutes. This year two such examples – the X Games and Winter Olympics – have this idea on my brain more than usual.

But getting non-skiers’ attention is hard, so if we get their attention with something that looks as dangerous as X Games or Olympic Downhill courses seem, is all hope lost?

Maybe, but let me share why my mind is going with this.

Other Industries
Lately I’ve started to see a really interesting pattern emerge in other industries. Here’s about how it’s gone.

  1. Sensationalized version of a story gets people’s attention
  2. Instead of getting upset, the characters in the story recognize that the sensational-twist has people’s attention and that’s a good thing.
  3. They ride this wave to deliver a message of “Like this? Wait until you see the real thing.”

In skiing, I think that’s the exact situation we’re in. A sensationalized version of our sport has the headlines. Our problem isn’t the skiing, it’s simply the way it’s portrayed.

I nodded in silent agreement when I saw Mike’s tweet because, to me, what I see on TV isn’t “skiing”.

The Counter
If I were in charge, this is the message I’d deliver during commercial breaks of ski events during the Olympics.

“FAMOUS SKIER: I know what you’re thinking, these races look pretty dangerous. One wrong move and it’s broken bones, torn ligaments, six months of recovery.

ANOTHER FAMOUS SKIER: So why does anyone in their right mind go skiing?

FAMOUS SKIER WILLING TO BE HONEST: Well, because this isn’t really skiing.

OLDER, NORMAL LOOKING PERSON: To me this is no more skiing than the Indy 500 is driving to work.

ANOTHER VERY NORMAL LOOKING MIDDLEAGED PERSON: Us skiers admire it just like you, but when we think of skiing, we don’t think of speed and skinsuits and triple flips…

A FAMILY: …we think of family, friends, fresh air, amazing views, and the joy of sliding – quite safely – down a sunny slope.

ANOTHER NORMAL LOOKING PERSON: So set aside your fears and join us. It’s never to late to learn.

WARREN MILLER: And remember, if you don’t try skiing this year, you’ll be one year old when you do.”

Maybe this wouldn’t work, but that’s the message I’d send. The hard part – getting people to notice skiing – is done. And messaging like this doesn’t dissuade anyone with lofty ambitions from wanting to be like Bode.

Agreeing with what viewers are likely thinking (to win a slice of trust) and pivoting to get to them to realize what they’ve been watching isn’t “skiing” like we all think of it may be a way to capitalize on the sensational side of our sport while clearing up the skewed impression they have of it.

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.

Get the weekly digest.

New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.