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Ideas
Three digital banner ads, one website, three unique approaches.

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

One of my favorite ways to study marketing strategy is to watch what different brands do with the same audience and the same format.

When you look at the unique aspects of each advertiser, where they are on their journey as a company and brand, and mix in the strengths of their advertising location of choice, there’s always something insightful to learn.

Today, I’m going to dig into three of the full-width ads running on OpenSnow as shown in the image above.

#1) IKON
This year IKON came out with the “Own the Stoke” tagline and have really driven home they usage of “stoke”. For example, each of their pre-roll ads includes “stoke” in the narration and they’ve used it with new partner announcements as well. They’ve continued to be extremely consistent with their colors. They also have a heavy presence of resorts in Colorado. So this ad…

own the stoke ad

…is, I believe, really well played. Banners don’t always lead to conversions, they rarely get clicked, but they can drive home a simple message that reinforces and supports the rest even if it’s only glanced at. With a simple, billboard-style approach to this ad (ie, just 3 glanceable words and a logo), they’ve done a great job with that.

#2) Arapahoe Basin
Next is Arapahoe Basin. Keep in mind the context for this resort of limited both season pass and ticket sales next season to double down on the skiing experience. I love this move and have mentioned how curious I am to see how this is woven into their message. This ad…

fresh tracks at lunch ad

…is one of our first glimpses at that. Instead of talking about the same billboard-style approach – 4 big, glanceable words – to reinforce the benefits of what they’re doing. Interestingly, when you pair the reason (limited passes) with the CTA, you both have an additional benefit and a nice layer of urgency. Given OpenSnow’s heavy presence in Colorado, I love this move.

#3) Home James
While not a ski resort, I like this ad for a simple reason: the placement of their logo. There is no shortage of ground transportation options in Colorado. The most dominant of which is Epic Mountain Express (formerly Colorado Mountain Express, or CME) owned, of course, by Vail Resort, but there are a handful of these that pop up every year. So this ad focuses on tell people what they are (rather than an emotional or benefit play)…

home james ad

…and key within that messages is putting their logo big and front and center. In other words, half of their battle is brand awareness. It’s getting people to see the Home James name in a couple places and building a little bit of cred before that guest does that Google search for “winter park airport shuttle” or sees their name mentioned on Winter Park’s website.

The Pattern
The pattern behind all of these ads is this:

  • Don’t try to do too much
  • Support your message on other channels
  • Focus on one, key marketing need

All three did this, and did this well. Digital ads may not have the amazing numbers the used to, but used well they can absolutely be a great tool.

And props to OpenSnow for giving a big, clear space to work with provides at lot of attention to work with and doesn’t force them to compete with other content blocks. That’s half the value.


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FYI: I'll be talking about measuring resort conversion rates during Insight Online on May 26.