Breck pulls controversial ads
BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge is no longer Vail Resorts’ bitch.
Company officials announced late Friday afternoon it has pulled all future insertions of an ad that enraged many locals while trying to attract the younger crowed.
Unfortunately, it’s too late to nix all of the ads.
An ad featuring the headline, “The hill may dominate you. But the town will still be your bitch” has already been included in the October issues of a number of trendy magazines. Although the magazines may not have reached all of their destinations yet, it’s too late to pull the ads.
A second ad, which is already in print but hasn’t hit the stands yet, features a man in the foreground yelling at the camera while a couple cuddles in the background. The text reads, “Each night, a new chance to earn your balls back.”
Although the ads were placed only in a few niche magazines targeting Gen-ers, they were featured prominently in articles in Colorado newspapers this week, alerting people who ordinarily wouldn’t have picked up the select publications to their existence.
Breckenridge Mayor Sam Mamula sent a letter Friday to Roger McCarthy, chief operations officer for Breckenridge Ski Resort, asking him to pull the ads.
“Feedback we’ve received has led the town to the conclusion that the ad program is doing a great deal of damage to the years of work that we have put into promoting the character and family atmosphere of Breckenridge,” he wrote. “We would normally not weigh in or interfere with the internal decisions of a private company, but as we have found from public reaction, people do not make a differentiation between Vail Resorts and the town of Breckenridge.
“The town council and I strongly encourage you to put a halt to the ad campaign before more damage is done to our loyal customer base and the image of the town and ski area.”
“It was time to kill this thing,” Mamula said later. “It was getting to the point that people were cancelling their Breckenridge vacations and going to Vail and Aspen. That’s the worst thing that could happen. It was too much.”
Vail Resorts owns Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Whether it was because of Mamula’s letter or the slew of negative publicity surrounding the ad campaign, resort officials got the message and decided to kill the ads.
“This mini-controversy has sparked many an opinion in the past few days, seemingly with passionate proponents and opponents of these ads,” McCarthy said. “While we admire the intentions of our marketing staff to create an edgy advertising campaign appealing to today’s youth, some of the wording in the two ads crossed a line that should not have been crossed. As a result, the two ads have been pulled. Sometimes, when companies make mistakes, the best thing to do is just admit the mistake and move on.”
Ski company officials said they will develop new ads to run in their stead.
“We will continue to advertise Breckenridge – hopefully in a manner appealing to the various targeted audiences,” McCarthy said, “but not in a manner that may be an affront to a few of us older folks.”
McCarthy, who apologized earlier this week, apologized again for offending anyone.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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