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Marketing information vs emotion.

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The other day I found myself reading an article about the opening of what the author queried might be the “last major ski area built in Colorado” as Beaver Creek opened its doors.

But after reading the coverage, I found myself intrigued by what sat on and around that news of yesterday.

On the one hand, there were new, digital ads for Park City and Copper Mountain placed between the scanned pages in the Chicago Tribune’s archive.



But on the pages themselves were ads. Old ads. Ads that sat in stark, visual contrast to the carefully designed 300×250 pixel rectangles we know so well..





The contrast exists in three forms but it’s the last one I want to talk about.

  • Format: print ads vs digital
  • Design: black & white line art vs full color photos
  • Content: list of features vs branding

Among all the changes that marketing has seen, it’s the content of our messages that seems to have changed the most. The size of the resorts above aren’t the best comparison, but let me use a quick timeline from Sugarloaf (with props to New England Ski History for crushing it in this department) to illustrate what I’m talking about.

Let’s start in 1956. All information. The headline, “Ski Sugarloaf.”

Moving to 1965, despite a significant increase in acreage, the same info-focused content. But, one change to the headline, “More to Ski at Sugarloaf.” This marks the start of the trend.

Then just a year later in 1966 this shows up. An even smaller size, it totally dispenses with the stats and uses words like “exhilarating” to sell the experience more than the numbers. The headline? “Year of the Mighty Gondola”

Five years later in 1971-72, we see the stats linger in some contexts but the headline is all story. It’s inspirational.

Then we go even further. It’s not snowmaking, it’s “9 tons a minute”. It’s not a hotel, “it’s a luxury hotel that sits right on the ski trails.” It’s not terrain stats, it’s the best terrain imaginable.

I’m not sure there’s a takeaway in this except for the thoughts that come when you reflect on where we were, where we’re going, what it meant to be a marketer at both of those points in time.

Marketing needs emotion, marketing needs information, the right combination of the two is what marketing always has (and always will) strive for.

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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