Y&R Bows Work for Whistler

Tired of Lake Tahoe? A breaking campaign tells affluent Northern Californians that they are only a short plane ride away from a top-notch ski resort.

The new campaign for Whistler-Blackcomb in Vancouver, Canada, was created by Young & Rubicam’s San Francisco office.

The “Live large” tagline positions the resort as the place for adventurous people who like to ski challenging mountains. Spending was not disclosed.

[“The client] gave them a call and said, ‘What do you think about doing some ads?’ ” copywriter Katie Barni said.

“Whistler thought the Bay Area was a place where they could pick up customers. There are a lot of skier-adventurer types in the Bay Area. People sit in traffic to go to Tahoe. But if you get on a plane, you can be at Whistler in three-and-a-half hours,” Barni added.

Whistler officials were not available for comment.

The campaign focuses more on what these particular mountains offer skiers than on the pitfalls of driving long distances to Tahoe.

In one print ad, a red arrow pointing to a mountain peak asks, “Why aren’t you here?” while the body copy details how Whistler could provide a needed break from the office.

In another print ad, an arrow points to a bathroom sign several thousand feet up with text that reads: “In case you can’t control your excitement.”

“We thought about Whistler, and at the end of the day, what is exciting is that these mountains are massive,” explained Mark Bell, art director.

“They are two to three [times the] size of the mountains in Tahoe,” Bell said.

The campaign also features a commercial with two talking snowflakes that will run on the Internet and possibly on television.

Three print ads will appear soon in various California newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News, Marin Independent Journal and The Contra Costa Times.

Whistler spent roughly $860,000 on advertising in 2000, according to Competitive Media Reporting. This is the first time the resort has targeted potential vacationers in Northern California.