The world's best (and worst) snow ads

If advertising is the art of making whole lies out of half truths then the world of snow has a lot of material to work with.

Gone are the days when a good TV commercial and a simple print media ad was all it took to qualify for a ski resort's advertising budget. Today’s marketers need a YouTube channel in the hope their message will go viral, an interactive on mountain campaign to get word of mouth marketing, a killer tag line and more.

Check out our gallery of print ads that use snow to the best and worst of their ability.

But there’s a fine line between being creative and actually selling your product. As ad man Leo Burnett said “we want people to say 'that’s a hell of a product' not 'that’s a hell of an ad'.”

The most talked about ad to come out of Australian ski fields this year is the Chuck a Snowie Campaign from Hotham and Falls Creek which managed to garner some spin-off publicity about the supposed ‘irresponsible’ nature of asking workers to call in sick. Americans aren’t the only folks that irony is lost on. Yes, that was sarcasm.

Air New Zealand are hoping their gamble of taking Lara Bingle for some heli-boarding in New Zealand pays off with the award-winning Kiwi Sceptics online campaign and six minutes of Lara being Lara with the highly amusing Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords providing dry commentary. Where the bloody hell are you Lara? New Zealand it would appear.

Still in New Zealand, Mt Ruapehu tried ye olde ‘sex sells’ angle with a “New Zealand’s biggest sexiest ski area for a quickie” tag line in 2007 when trying to promote to Australians.

With supporting faux quotes from skiers and boarders such as “I’d never seen my partner go down so fast or so often” and “it was like a 25-minute orgasm.” No official word on whether the campaign itself was a dud or not, but we're guessing it didn't translate.

Thredbo tried the sex angle, literally, back in the late '90s with the help of the award-winning advertising agency The Campaign Palace.  Naked butts jiggling up against steamed up glass shower screens with the tag ‘It’s Better In Thredbo’ written in the steam shocked viewers at the time and was the beginnings of what would later become the highly successful “what goes on in Thredbo stays in Thredbo” campaign.

Then there was the television campaign that featured one man and his hand puppet (please, let’s not go there).  But it was that taking-the-piss Thredbo ad that remains in my brain. Sometimes toilet humour can be funny.

In North America Breckenridge ski field in Colorado got burnt with their “the hill may dominate you but the town will still be your bitch” campaign in 2002. Residents objected to the term and connotation of bitch and the resort had to can their whole campaign. You can’t please everyone, right?

More recently, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (known for mammoth big mountain terrain) used mobile billboards (above) to get their message across in Colorado. The giant truck billboards featured “how was practice today?” tag lines and were parked on the famous I-70 road to the ski mountains from Denver.  Genius.

More genius from US telecommunications company AT&T in their winter advertising, using the static time on a chairlift and a conversation between two mates to make their mark with humour.

They hit the mark again with their 2010 Vancouver Olympics ad, using champion snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler to tell an out of this world story for them.

Car companies love the snow. Nothing says my car can handle anything more than a snowy mountain. The folks at Nissan used the Nissan Frontier as a snowboard in this classic extreme television ad that went viral.

Prefer a helicopter to a car? Protest Snowboards created a three minute online video telling the story of one Californian snowboarder who Protests the Traffic Jam. Not sure if it says much about their product but it does about their philosophy.

Personally, I love the gallery of print ads we have put together, all using winter and snow to get their tale told. Some are clever, others hilarious, some ridiculous and obvious, some downright bad but they all get people talking.

Tell us what you love or loathe about any of the ads we've posted or nominate an ad or campaign you've seen here or overseas. Post your comments on our blog and you could WIN a his n hers SKINS s400 long compression tights pack to help you perform and recover on the slopes. Terms & conditions.

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