Breckenridge caved in to animosity left from Vail Resorts purchase |

Breckenridge caved in to animosity left from Vail Resorts purchase

As a member of the ad industry, I can honestly say that if people (especially teens) always did what advertising asked them to do, I’d be a very wealthy man.

Personally, I think Breckenridge Ski Resort chief operating officer Roger McCarthy caved in to the increasingly tiresome animosity some of the town “natives” (those here more than 18 months) feel toward Vail Resorts and its purchase from the Puppy Chow folk.

Mayor Sam Mamula did the same thing after a few came out of “their beautiful homes” (to quote one letter to the editor) to avert the gang of 13-year-olds amassing at town limits, torches in hands, ready first to take Eric Mamula’s restaurant, then the town. We need to look at what’s going on here.

I wrote it once in the Summit Daily News, but it bears repeating here. Regardless of this ad’s quality and questionable creative approach, this was extremely targeted advertising placed in extremely specific publications that nobody on this list would likely ever, ever, ever read.

Moreover, the group it targeted does not have the financial wherewithal (or the over-21 ID) to do anything in this town other than accompany its parents here (and be in bed by 11).

Rather, research strongly indicates that this group has great (and increasing) influence over their parent’s vacation decision-making (and money spending).

It’s this desire to push Breckenridge as a destination through them, not the desire to turn Main Street into a Nick-at-Night Mardi Gras, which resulted in the crafting of this campaign (representing 1 percent of total ad spending by Breckenridge Ski Resort).

Vail Resorts has to have, as a business, different brand identities for its resorts, and Breckenridge’s sweet spot has been and continues to be its attraction to younger skiers, snowboarders and their families. Here’s why: Breckenridge boasts one of the finest terrain parks on the continent and is already known well among Front Rangers for it.

It also has a town that is reasonably inexpensive to visit (important for younger families). Brand distinction benefits not only VR and its shareholders, but those of us in the tourism and real estate business (and those of us enjoying the resulting tax revenue-funded facilities such as the rec center and senior center (82 percent of our tax dollars come from tourism, guys). And if I’m not mistaken, the vision of this town included, at one point, the phrase “a little wild.”

Sure, it would be nice if Roger and the ad agency gathered a nice group of homeowners, business owners and every single council member in Breckenridge to be the checkpoint to make sure they approve each ad by committee.

Judging by some of the voracious debate a simple ad caused, let’s sit back and watch as the brand identity of the town and the resort become muddied, losing our competitive edge not only with skiers, but destination visitors to the town.

And no, we cannot sustain alone on property taxes from million-dollar home owners or Buddy Pass day visitors from Denver. Just ask any restaurant owner who watches them run back to Denver for a better value meal.

Let’s let the pros be pros and call them on the carpet when things go badly.

This ad was pulled, nobody was hurt, and the resulting publicity did more for Vail Resorts and this town than any campaign could have hoped to have ever done.

What if we redirected all this energy into a massive increase in community volunteerism to the likes of Mountain Mentors, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, the Summit Foundation and the English as a Second Language program at Summit High are just a few that always need help?

Plain good deeds and the occasional “hello” on the street do much more for our town than worrying about the occasional bitch.

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