A ski resort used a 1-star review in its (brilliant) ads, so now I’m inspired

3 helpful reminders for creatives everywhere.

Backstory:

Snowbird is a resort in Utah known for its difficult slopes. After some bro named Greg from L.A. gave them a 1-star review because the mountain was mean to him, they created a print advertisement starring his review.

I love this ad so much, you guys. Like, more than anything I’ve ever done.

A few rapid-fire fun facts before I get into those helpful reminders I promised: Snowbird has a lovely website, designed by Rally Interactive. The creative agency who made the 1-star ad is Struck. If you, like me, want to get your hands on a hard copy of this ad, it will be featured in Ski Utah, Powder, Ski, Freeskier and Transworld Snowboarding. All of which are somehow completely different publications.

I am not affiliated with Snowbird, Struck, Rally or Greg in any way. I’m just a copywriter from Illinois who knows greatness when I see it.

So! Here are your helpful reminders, my friend.

Helpful reminder #1: Cut the clutter.

Look at how simple the design is in that ad. A gorgeous photo is allowed to be the star of the show while the URL, phone number and logo are buried in the footer. Greg’s review is the ONLY piece of copy in the entire thing. It’s incredibly ballsy and brilliant.

If you have a bold idea like this one, you might be tempted to add some body copy. Maybe a few bullet points. You know, just a quick list of the key benefits.

Stop. Hey. HEY. STOP TYPING. Keep it simple.

Helpful reminder #2: Embrace the negative.

Snowbird knows they have a tough mountain. It’s kind of their thing. The weakness Greg documented in his review is actually one of the main positives of the entire resort, so they decided to have some fun with it.

And speaking of negatives, let’s talk self-deprecation for a second. It’s so hard to do well. Too much or too little of it is a massive turnoff. Somehow, this ad manages to be self-deprecating, humble and thoroughly confident all at once. It’s a remarkable balancing act. Ads like this don’t happen often, but when they do, they spark the same reaction in all of us: “I have to find out more about these guys.”

Helpful reminder #3: Cherish your adventurous clients.

Do you know how many marketing directors either A) kill your 1-star testimonial idea instantly, or B) drown it with hundreds of additional words? Because the answer is all of them. They all do it.

If you’re a creative who’s actually worth your paycheck, you have 1-star ideas all the time. Problem is, they’re often murdered by a committee who eventually just shouts “HEY MORON PLEASE BUY THIS AND BY THE WAY HAVE WE TOLD YOU HOW MUCH WE CARE ABOUT YOU” to their audience.

Snowbird knows their voice, they know their market and they knew an ad like this would resonate. So they ran with it.

If you have a client like this, one who loves your daring concepts and isn’t afraid to do something different, don’t ever let go of them. Cherish them. Love them. Tell them how thankful you are that they exist. They’re beautiful little unicorns and you don’t deserve them.

Shameless plug:

The agency I actually do work for has a brand new website. We come to work every day with the belief that B2B marketing doesn’t have to be a snooze. Check it out here, have a look around and feel free to leave us a 1-star review.


UPDATE:

In all my fawning over Snowbird and Rally and Struck, I neglected to mention Snowbird’s adventurous marketing director. Shoutout to Dave Amirault. He’s a solid Twitter follow, btw.

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