Winter tourism humanizes the hills

Whistler and Newfoundland & Labrador give their snow pursuits personalities in this year’s winter promos.
Whistler 4

While other winter-sports travel spots feature interchangeable hills and snowboarding imagery (including two elevator-turned-gondola campaigns), to differentiate themselves Whistler and Newfoundland & Labrador gave their snow pursuits personalities in this year’s winter promos.

In its first winter push Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism built on the success of the “Find Yourself” campaign, which has successfully positioned the destination as a unique experience from more than a landscape perspective. It created five online videos to highlight different outdoor activities in the province, such as snowmobiling, zip-lining and skiing, all with an upbeat Celtic musical overlay. The videos focus on exhilarating experiences, escapes and the camaraderie of winter pursuits in a vibe consistent with “Find Yourself” positioning. The full campaign, created by St. John’s-based Target, launched Jan. 16, with print, OOH and digital advertisements.

When asked to weigh in on this year’s plethora of winter tourism campaigns, Cosmo Campbell, CD at DDB (Canadian Tourism Commission’s AOR), says he enjoyed the NL videos most out of all the ones he’s seen. They stood out by focusing not only on the ski and snowboarding slopes, but rather promoting the entire winter experience, he says.

“The other locations [Alberta, B.C. and Quebec] have more defined classic ski to sell, which makes it a little bit easier,” he says. “It’s not that Newfoundland doesn’t have a great product. They have a plucky, different product, so they have to sell it in a different way.”

Whistler, as one of the more established winter locales, also took a different approach this year. Targeting the affluent, experience-seeking traveller, Whistler Tourism launched a 15-week competition offering up a chance to win a month-long sabbatical on the slopes, and built its personality-centric campaign around the idea of discovering life on the mountain.

The fully digital integrated campaign offers people a chance to take a month off work and live on the slopes – fully paid. While crowning a winner is the gimmick to draw attention, the purpose of the campaign is to highlight the different types of experiences a visitor can have at Whistler, says Danielle Kristmanson, CD at Origin Design + Communication, AOR for Whistler.

The contest, which ran from mid-October to Jan. 25, features a microsite and video vignettes highlighting experiences to be had on the mountain and the personalities involved – such as helping a snow-groomer prep the hills, or singing on stage with a local pop star. Each vignette has an accompanying blog post that goes further in-depth into the story.

“Whistler sometimes has a reputation of being a place that doesn’t have a lot of that human quality – it’s big and purpose-built,” Kristmanson says. “We wanted to humanize the brand.”