Whistler/Blackcomb lures skiers with e-mail

How do you lure beach-loving Californians north of the 49th? If you're B.C. ski resort Whist-ler/Blackcomb Mountains, you offer them a package they can't refuse - and create talking snowflakes to deliver it via e-mail. ...

How do you lure beach-loving Californians north of the 49th? If you’re B.C. ski resort Whist-ler/Blackcomb Mountains, you offer them a package they can’t refuse – and create talking snowflakes to deliver it via e-mail.

In its first foray into e-mail marketing, the foremost Cana-dian ski destination is offering enthusiasts an all-inclusive $US655 special offer, in an effort to encourage spring skiing north of the border.

To tell them about it, Whistler hired Young & Rubicam San Francisco to launch an integrated ad initiative that included a customer acquisition e-mail effort, among other things, aimed at potential Whistler customers from Marin County to San Jose, Calif.

Y&R officials convinced Whistler – which had never taken an e-mail approach and in the past had relied heavily on traditional ski marketing efforts – that e-mail should be the cornerstone of the campaign. According to studies by Y&R, e-mail was a prime way for Whistler to branch out to new customers. Roughly 80 per cent of its target audience – Bay Area ski enthusiasts who often have high incomes and leisure time around this time of year – are Internet connected and approximately 40% are likely to book a vacation online.

The creative strategy plays off the sheer size of Whistler Mountain using the tagline ‘Live Large’. Y&R incorporates hum-our with a 30-second online QuickTime movie starring two talking snowflakes, Bob and Walter, who are subsequently run over by a snowboarder. The tag reads, ’7,000 acres of glorious snow just waiting to be mowed over. Live large.’ Then users are sent to a bridge page where they can book their vacations online and experience the slopes through a Web cam.

Y&R made sure that there were different URLs so that it could track response by media type. Roughly 20,000 consumers were e-mailed. At press time, the campaign was still in the market.