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The Sexy Side, The Ugly Side of Branding from Merch

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A while back I wrote a critically acclaimed (my mom dug it) post about using resort branded gear as part of a marketing plan. The elevator version is that when your logo is on a shirt, cap, or hoodie, when the owner of said merch wears their gear, you are getting free advertising. Not a bad deal. Wherever they go, whatever they are doing, your logo is there for the world to see.

Of course, this coin, like most, has two sides.

Bernie Madoff
Madoff’s Ponzi scheme began in the mid-70’s. When news finally broke of his infamous, record-breaking fraud, journalists hunted him incessantly to snag their paper’s cover shot, headline, or quote. Madoff, in an attempt to avoid being recognized, put on a high-collared dark coat, shades, and a baseball cap. That baseball cap, interestingly enough, sported the familiar logo of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The only logo visible on the guy, a guy that was certainly headed for a lifetime in prison and hated by millions, was for a ski resort 2,000 miles away in the Tetons of Wyoming.

That’s one side. A very extreme side. A very uncommon side.

Joe Logan
I’ll call this guy Joe Logan because I don’t know his name, and honestly, he is more than one guy. Take for instance, the 20-something year old Disneyland visitor who was wearing a Mammoth Mountain hoodie. I spent 20 minutes in line for Autopia behind him and the 12″ x 12″ Mammoth logo on his back.

Or the USU student who, when participating in a half-time contest at a basketball game, was sporting a hoodie with a giant Beaver Mountain Ski Area logo on the front. Ironically, Beaver sponsors USU basketball games, but here was a guy showing off the same logo in front of 10,000 fans for nothing. He probably paid $50 for that hoodie, but how valuable was that situation to the resort?

That’s the other side. The more common, brighter side.

Should the risk of having your logo associated with a Bernie Madoff-like scenerio scare you away from pushing the merch agenda? I don’t think so. Heck, maybe, just maybe, as folks read their morning papers that day they thought to themselves, “Man, that guy is a serious dirt bag, but at least he has good taste in ski resorts…”

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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