Yesterday, a friend’s post on Facebook caught my attention. It read:
“For anyone involved in advertising, here is what NOT to do. Ever. It’s crazy to me that a group of people can be this out of touch. 🤦🏼♀️😡”
It caught my attention, and from there I got sucked in. She was referring to a poster that was distributed promoting a nearby ski resort located a couple hours from where we live. Here is said poster:
I will wait while you finish scratching and shaking your head and scooping your jaw up off the floor.
By the time I became aware of the ad, there was also an “apology” issued by the resort and the man behind the ad:
Need another minute? I thought you might. Take you time…
My initial response on my friend’s post was as follows:
“This is mind boggling. I also don’t buy that Snowbowl wasn’t aware of this. I’ve been in marketing and advertising for 14 years. There is no way anything with a clients name, brand or logo would ever go out anywhere without their approval. So while Wes may be the “mastermind” behind this garbage, he should not be the only one held accountable. I almost guarantee someone at SB signed off on this. If they didn’t, Wes would not have access to their Facebook page as they would currently be preparing for some sort of restitution from him and his company. Snowbowl’s business should feel the consequences. As should Wes’.”
As a female with 14 years experience in this industry, I thought it was meaningful to share my thoughts. So much of this ad, “apology”, and explanation stinks. I am disappointed as both a female and a marketing professional. So here are my thoughts on the situation:
- Looking at the ad strictly from a professional perspective, it’s not a good ad. Even if you are going for a catchy/envelope pushing message, it misses the mark. The message doesn’t tell me that skiing is a great workout and will help rid me of extra body fat. The call to action is to purchase passes, but the main messaging does not drive me to take that action.
- This messaging isn’t even original, as a quick Google search will prove (see below). I know my clients expect original content when I produce ads for them. I’m not sure where the ad agency came across this meme or image, or why they thought it would make a good ad for a ski resort.
- I call major BS on the explanation that the client was not aware of the ad or that the agency decided to “test” the messaging without their consent. I have worked with hundreds of clients. Never in my career would it ever even be a consideration to put something out, no matter how small a run, with a client’s logo and website without their approval.
- The apology is what I call a “Real Housewives apology”. If you watch Bravo, you know what I mean. It’s where you apologize for how someone else feels, not for doing something wrong. “I’m sorry you feel offended, but all my ad friends thought it was funny.” So that makes it okay, I guess? Wrong. Accountability, my friends.
- The ski resort called it an “unfortunate misunderstanding”. As many commenters mentioned, this is directly targeting women and exploiting their insecurities. That just isn’t a smart move in today’s climate. Did I mention this was displayed on a college campus and at nearby businesses? As the kids say…smh.
Politics and culture aside, when you boil it down, it just doesn’t make sense as a good ad. I am all for pushing things a little further, grabbing attention, and making people think. I also understand that there is always a chance people will find fault in whatever you put out there. But if you are going to go that direction, it better be a damn good ad.
What are your thoughts on this situation? I would love to hear.