This post is a little bit ironic because I’ve spent most of my spare time as of late putting together a new version of the resort social media dashboards that I’ll be unveiling tomorrow. Deep in code, I’ve been analyzing trends based on millions of fans, followers, and video views backed by big budgets trying to milk every ounce of value out of social media. Yet, the marketing campaign that stands out from the rest consists of a cheap, Chinese-made lawn ornament and a camera.
At the end of 2009/2010, Ragged Mountain New Hampshire introduced a simple game that reminds me of eating contests restaurants are famous for. This game, however, requires no feats of intestinal strength, but rather a lucky choice of runs and a sharp eye. Named after the end-of-day sweep of the mountain Ragged’s ski patrol made each day, “Sweeps” the pink flamingo plays a daily game of hide and seek. The person who finds him (or is it her) gets a free day pass to the resort and their picture on the wall of fame.
That’s it. No technology, no marketing team to run the show, no big budgets.
Why I Love It, Why It Works
I hate to even analyse this as much as I am because it’s so rediculously simple, but here are a few reasons I think this idea worked, and worked well.
1) IT’S A GAME – Humans are hard-wired to be attracted to competition. Professional sports feed off this to the tune of billions of dollars in revenue each year. When you can combine skiing and simple competition, you’ve got a great start.
2) IT’S SIMPLE – So many contests are full of fine print, rules, disclaimers, and complicated steps, dissuading skiers from participating. The rules to this game are simple and impossible to misunderstand because it’s a game we’ve all played before: Sweeps is hiding, find him.
3) IT’S GOOFY – Very few people actually put pink flamingos in their yards as a serious attempt to improve their landscaping, yet you see them fairly often. Like the classic rubber chicken, they have a goofy spot in our hearts and society.
4) IT’S SOCIAL – When someone wins they get their “name up in lights” as I often say. People like their name and face to be seen by others. The more people that see the better. A board in the main lodge (and on Raggeds web presences) with their photo is an extra incentive for skiers to participate.
5) IT REQUIRES SKIING – So many contests, as awesome as they are, fail to get skiers on the slopes. In contrast, the only way to win this contest is to be on the slopes. I love on-mountain contests that reward the folks that got up that day and went skiing at your mountain.
Here are a couple of goofy videos Ragged put together about Sweeps:
Well done, Ragged. Well done.
Thoughts? Ideas? Feedback? Comments are old-school, click here to grab a slot on Gregg's calendar and let's chat.
New stories, ideas, and jobs delivered to your inbox every Friday morning.