skip to main content

Is the Story Behind the Shot Better Marketing Content Than the Shot Itself?

divider image for this post

I want you to look at the photo above and ask yourself a simple question:

“What do I feel as I look at this photo?”

Imagine one of the turns on what appears to be icy, granular snow and ask yourself the same question of the video you just made in your head.

Chances are the answer is somewhere between “nothing” and “is this a trick question?”

A 9-Minute Video
Now I want you to watch this video and follow the story it tells.

At about the 7:30 mark you may see something familiar.

Yes, you’ll see the photo I began with.


And now, after watching the story that preceeds the turn, ask yourself the same thing:

“What do I feel as I look at this photo?”

Chances are you now feel the satisfaction of achieving a crazy goal, of working hard, overcome obstacles, and feeling the joy of every icy turn.

You feel the contrast between 9-5 life and this compressed adventure into the non-working weekend window, you’ll feel burning lungs and aching legs.

Por Que
So what changed? In one word: meaning.

They told a story about skiing like we’ve all tried to do. But they did so with the realization that the skiing was not the story.

Let me say that again: this is a ski movie, but the skiing is not the story.

The story is why they are skiing, where they are skiing and, most importantly, who is skiing. The story is about people with goals overcoming obstacles.

Skiing isn’t the subject, it’s merely the setting.

Stories About People (Who Happen to Ski)
As an industry, this is a rut we’ve found ourselves in for a long, long time. We are great at shooting skiing, at “getting the shot” as we say.

But if you transplanted our model into any other sport…

…well, that’s about what you’d end up with.

Because we’re so obsessed with “the shot” that we forget “the guy/gal getting the shot.” We forget why they chose where they did, the hurdles they overcame to get to this point, what they are feeling as they get it.

That’s the real story we’ve overlooked for far too long.

The Test
In fact, there’s a simple test I apply right after I watch a great skiing story. It’s contained in one question:

“How much actual skiing footage was there?”

If it’s is any more than 1 minute of skiing for every 3 minutes of storytelling, I’m shocked. In the video above, it’s 1 minute of skiing at the end of an 8.5 minute story.

The ratio holds true for some of the other best skiing stories that exist:

Stories give actions meaning. They give skiing meaning.

But it’s something more than that. Meaning leads to feeling, it leads to responses and action. That, in my marketing book, is the gold at the end of the rainbow.

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.