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How a dad with a GoPro turned an unlucky break into a marketing win for Kicking Horse.

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On Tuesday, January 5, 2016 at about 1:03pm, Peter Landsman from Liftblog sent me this video.

At the time, it had 100,000 views. Given the title – “(Kicking Horse) Gondola Rescue Insane Ride!” – it’s easy to see why.

But as I watched this GoPro footage, and then watched it again, I couldn’t help but think that the best marketing news Kicking Horse could hope for would be to see this thing continue to blow up.

First, the Why
Before we look at what happened next, let me quickly break down the four pieces that, at least in my mind, make this such a powerful piece of marketing.

A) Really Real
No matter what we try to do with our marketing, the bias within our branded voices can never match capturing real people doing real things. The fact that this isn’t a drill or a staged shoot is massive.

B) It’s Okay
Lifts can be intimidating things. They break, they swing, they hold your freezing butt 100′ off the ground in a snowstorm. Many non-skiers are scared to death of them. For a resort to admit that, yes, things can go wrong but, yes, it’s okay. It’s not just you and lift. Worst case scenarios are, in fact, both planned for and practiced. This “it’s not the end of the world” vibe was helped by how not afraid this father and son were.

C) Customer Service
And it’s planned for by confident, professional people waiting to help when you find yourself as part of the exception. We know that customer service is part of the product, but the one employee in this video hit a home run in terms of professionalism, confidence, and avoiding the “you’ll speak when I tell you to speak” power trip that sometimes comes in these situations.

D) Wow
Finally, just look at that scenery. Talk about a powerful commercial for BC. Craggy peaks, an evening glow on the horizon, clear air…priceless.


Let’s put those four points into a paragraph. A quick summary of the message this video sends:

Just like roller coasters or subways or trains or cars, lifts can break. It’s true. But when they do there are professional, trained people ready to help every get home safely. If you let that risk keep you home on the couch, these are the views you’ll miss.

For ski videos, once you hit pass 100,000 views you can be pretty sure that most people watching probably aren’t skiers. In the case of Liberty’s snowboarding possum, their 1,200,000 views didn’t carry much beyond the fun, cute message.

In this situation, however, that’s totally okay because in many ways that’s the perfect audience for a message that addresses and clarifies a concern many non-skiers hold about our sport.

What Happened Next
As I mentioned, the video had almost exactly 100,000 views when Peter emailed me the link. Instead of topping out there, the sharing continued.

Even 48 hours later the view counts continue to climb. On Facebook alone it’s been shared of 1,400 times earning a total of just under 300,000 views. By the time you read this post I’m sure it will be closer to 350,000 or 400,000. Heck, it was even shared 14 times on LinkedIn!

For a bit of perspective, Kicking Horses YouTube channel has 113,000 total views from 110 videos uploaded across seven seasons.

So, to me, it’s a huge win for Kicking Horse. It’s a good message that makes the best of a bad situations\, all under the umbrella of true authenticity that only these bits of serendipitous content can deliver.

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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