JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Travel and Tourism Board (TTB) is about ready to reveal its new Winter 2017-18 marketing campaign. Before you cringe and blurt out the obvious—“Why are they continuing to advertise Jackson Hole to the world when we are in danger of drowning in our own tourism success?” Stop, and know: they feel you.
TTB and the Minnesota ad agency Colle McVoy—both instinctively knew what the world needs now is Jackson Hole. But, equally important, what Jackson Hole needs now is for every visitor to respect and revere this place for what it offers that nowhere else does: wild.
The new ad campaign called “Stay Wild” centers on a motivational, anthemic monologue—repurposed and revived—plucked from a 1940 Charlie Chaplin movie blasting Hitler and fascism, and urging mankind to rage against the machine. The narrative sounds eerily at home in today’s screen-squinting society starved for an ounce of humanity. In our connectedness we suffer from isolation. Our abundance leaves us with only want. “We think too much, and we feel too little,” as Chaplin was fond of saying throughout his life.
Enter Jackson Hole with all its raw and rowdy, roughneck charm. Unleashing the free and the beautiful begins with the first step into the great wide open—that footfall onto the tarmac at Jackson Hole Airport, or the breathtaking plunge into Corbet’s Couloir. Jackson Hole implores our world to “stay wild”…and our world sorely needs the same from this special place.
“When [Colle McVoy] presented the “Stay Wild” campaign to us, we immediately looked at it and thought, ‘It has so many applications to our destination,’” said Kate Sollitt, executive director of TTB. “We realized this is the next evolution or phase of any kind of marketing of Jackson Hole. We all love it, and we came here for the same reasons—wild lands, wild places, wildlife—but we recognize we can’t lock it away and box it off from the rest of the world. We want to celebrate it, respect it, and share our passions for it so others will do the same.”
In addition to searching for an ad that would inspire visitors to return to their communities fired up to fight for Jackson Hole and to protect its natural resources at every opportunity, Sollitt said she knew any message would have to play to locals. Something that would flesh out the t-shirt slogan “Your Vacation Is My Life” to be less braggadocio claim and more “please remember someone lives here.”
In yesterday’s well-written piece for AdWeek (nice job, Stephanie Paterik), it was apparent that Colle McVoy creative director Dustin Black figured that out as well. “Quickly, we realized the internal audience is just as important as the external,” he told Paterik.
Sollitt called the ad campaign a “bit of a rallying cry,” and it is a prideful reminder of why we love this place and why we need to share it with a world that needs it now more than ever. Most importantly, though, was preaching the importance of sustainability.
“Finding an idea that would invite tourists without rankling locals was a challenge for the agency. More than most mountain towns, Jackson Hole is wary of visitors,” Paterik wrote. How true.
During recent visits to Jackson Hole, both Sally Jewell (Secretary of the Interior under the Obama Administration) and Conrad Anker (mountaineer/conservationist) were asked, “How do we keep people out, from ruining this amazing place?”
Both responded the same way: That’s the wrong approach. “You want to expose it to people in the right way and educate them into advocating for it later,” Sollitt said.
A robust digital media campaign is planned for this winter season. Sollitt said the video will be placed on connected TV like Netflix, and on pre-roll video (think YouTube’s, “You can skip this ad in 5 seconds”) that will play over various networks and channels.
A kickoff party for the new winter campaign is planned for October 20, 8:30am, at The Wort. RSVP is strongly suggested.