Oh, the dreaded one star review. Anyone who works with a product or service that receives online reviews can relate – some of those low-ball reviews are just petty. Snowbird decided to take advantage of that concept and introduced the world to their ★☆☆☆☆ campaign.
Why did they do it?
In an effort to “embrace the unique aspects of what makes Snowbird special and be true to the product, [the] ski resort has begun running ads that contrast gorgeous, sweeping views with one-star reviews complaining about aspects of the resort…” It may sound counterintuitive, but Snowbird’s marketing director, David Amirault, reflects, “We’re known for our steep terrain, long runs and deep snow… for our core guest, it’s what makes them come back year after year.” (Griner, 2017) The Snowbird team worked with creative agency Struck on the project.
This campaign hit home for Snowbird’s repeat guest profile, and included those with the same demo and psychographics that the resort wanted to turn into a repeat guest. This campaign is for an advanced skier or snowboarder that is truly ingrained into and enjoys the mountain sports culture. And the resort totally embraces that.Print Ad 1 – “Too Advanced. I’ve heard Snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail was a steep chute or littered with tree wells. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun!”
Print Ad 2 – “There are NO Easy Runs. We felt like our lives were in our own hands. Make the wrong turn and you’re stuck on a double black diamond. It took us 90 minutes to shimmy down the Peruvian Gulch before we could even find a blue square safe enough to ride.”
Why it works
The juxtaposition is great. There is this grand, gorgeous view or an experiential photo and a 1-star review tearing that very moment to shreds. I love how they use a two-page spread to capture the grandeur of it all, and then the one star concept just drags your attention to the bad review. It takes a moment, but then you realize what it’s all about.
I can see the television ad now, featuring beautiful mountain views, forests and rare wildlife amidst snowfall, and a skier getting their turns in deep powder… and a VO of someone complaining. It’s perfect.
Print Ad 3 – “Disappointed. Are the people who operate the grooming equipment on strike or something? Was hoping for a little more corduroy to dig my skis into.”
Griner, D. (2017, September 22). This Ski Resort Turned One-Star Reviews Into a Five-Star Ad Campaign. Retrieved from https://www.adweek.com/creativity/this-ski-resort-turned-one-star-reviews-into-a-five-star-ad-campaign