Loon Mountain Message: Drive North!

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As I was driving home Tuesday night from work on Route 495 North near North Andover, Massachusetts, a digital billboard was alit on the left-hand side of the highway, high above the traffic below, blazing the message to “Drive North”. This was a curious call to action phrase, and the marketer in me immediately tried to scan the ad, but merging into traffic forced me to pay attention to the road.

In a flash, the digital message changed to advertise another company’s business. Again in 20 seconds or so, a third ad was beaming from up high, and was difficult to miss. The colors emanating from the billboard were brilliant and flashy. Finally the first ad reappeared, and I was able to view the entire ad, which stated: “Winter Storm Coming” at the top of the billboard and “Drive North” under it, with a glowing image of a winter wonderland. A Loon Mountain logo was prominently displayed in the right-hand corner of the ad. Nice, I thought…a snow storm was indeed coming and due in the next day.

This is a glorious, shining, ingenious piece of targeted marketing, pertinent to the soon-to-be-weather, and what Loon has to offer, in a 20-second very hard-to-miss digital billboard ad. Yes, Loon Mountain is approximately 110 miles from where the billboard was displaying the ad, but it certainly put a seed of thought connecting the impending storm with coming to Loon, and what they have to enjoy. The traffic was moving along so I didn’t catch a third viewing, but I absolutely wanted to check out Loon when I got home. And I did.

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What I learned was that Loon Mountain has an involved social media presence. Loon invested in several sites:

Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Foursquare   YouTube   Pinterest   Blog

They promoted their awesome ski and snowboard facilities through photos, video, daily tweets, daily posts, blogs, and stories. Their website is decent, with easy to navigate links. The Ice Castle is featured as well as supporting “Loon-raised” Annalisa Drew, who is going for Gold at the Sochi Olympics.

Lodging, lessons, events and activities are all found on the home page. Curiously enough, though, I had to go several clicks in to find their non-downhill ski/boarding activities which include Tubing, Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing. Very cool, very fast downhill Zip-Line activities are also offered. Little about these activities are promoted on their social media sites, which surprised me since it does attract people who likes to visit mountain resorts but who doesn’t ski/snowboard. Which brings me back to the digital billboard ad.

It was refreshing to see Loon Mountain grasp traditional marketing concepts as outdoor signage. I do wish more promotion of their non-ski/boarding activities is done to broaden their market share, but what they did with the outdoor signage was fantastic. Their call to action to “Drive North” drove me to check out their website and various social media outlets.

Using a mix of traditional marketing techniques and new media tools that includes an interactive social media model has helped strengthen their brand and promote the greatness that is Loon. I would not have looked up Loon at all if it were not for the strategically placed digital billboard.

When I see Loon commercials on TV, they don’t motivate me to check out what Loon has to offer, but the billboard did. That is a goal of marketers, to get action from their advertising, and ultimately, to increase sales. I may just visit Loon to use their non-downhill activities, and they may eventually get my money, all because of a successful digital billboard ad.

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