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Fort Franklin Touts Ski Resort

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Fort Franklin's first pre-season push for Sugarbush Mountain positions the ski resort as a therapeutic getaway that stands apart from other northern New England winter destinations.

"We wanted to make the point about how committed they are to their surroundings without sounding like environmentalists," said Marc Gallucci, president and creative director at the Boston shop. "[The ads] are humorous exaggerations. We stretch the truth, but it's not far off."

One radio spot parodies art-instruction programs. An announcer says, "And now nature painting with Dave Bard." Dave goes on to describe his painting: "Today we're going to finish our delightful winter panorama with sunset over three happy mountain peaks ... Let's add some wildlife with our brush here. How 'bout a mechanical elephant? ... I'm going to take some blue and put a derby on him, maybe a banjo." He concludes, "Now let's take our palette knife and level off one of those mountain peaks. Yeah, bye-bye mountain peak."

The voiceover narrator at the end of the spot says, "The forces against nature are out there. Which is why we work hard to protect the natural surroundings at Sugarbush Vermont."

One newspaper execution states, "This season you may encounter a howling, snow-covered creature. Don't worry. It's probably just a beginner who wandered onto the wrong trail." Another ad carries the headline, "You could look at a season pass as a form of therapy."

Radio spots promote the Escape Pass, a card containing six or 12 lift tickets, which can be used by one person or shared. The ads broke last week and are running on local Vermont radio stations.

The agency is developing a new logo and tagline, which will likely debut in December. The winter campaign may also include television commercials.

This marks Fort Franklin's first work since winning Sugarbush's$2 million account this summer.

Sugarbush's previous advertising campaigns, done with input from marketing consultants, were tagged, "Pure Vermont" and "It's sweeter up here." Past print efforts used the client's logo and photographs of extreme skiers on mountain tops.

"They're one of the last resorts that can offer a true outdoor experience," said Gallucci. "They own acres of land that they haven't developed—we thought we had to tell people this. A lot of other resorts are inundated with people, malls and neon signs."