BRP invented Ski-Doo, the first snowmobile, in 1922. After almost a century, Ski-Doo still had a very dominant share of the market. The industry is pretty still and often doesn’t see growth YoY. Therefore, to increase sales by 10.5% and be able to maintain an overriding market share of 46.4%, Ski-Doo needed to grow the number of new entrants.
Ski-Doo had no choice but to bring new consumers into the caategory.
Having created the category, Ski-Doo knows its audience: avid snowmobilers aged from 45 and over with high incomes and living in rural areas. So which consumers should Ski-Doo target to grow the snowmobiling community?
Knowing that the cold and discomforts of winter are among the main barriers to entry, it was obvious to Ski-Doo that it was easier to convert winter extreme sports enthusiasts (ice climbing, downhill skiing, fat biking) to snowmobiles, than to charm summer riders (motorcycles, personal watercraft). And for these winter daredevils, we couldn't just talk about engine power or heated grips. We had to showcase the experience of riding a Ski-Doo, all injected with an extreme dose of adrenalin!
The campaign capitalized on a simple truth: it's very difficult to get a consumer interested in snowmobiling before the first snowflake hits the ground. Before the first snowfall, consumers are not in "winter mode" and put off shopping and buying. Also, due to climate change, the first snowfall is occurring later and later each year. With even less time to reach their sales targets, it's all the more difficult for snowmobile manufacturers to generate growth. Creating enthusiasm for the snowmobile category early in the fall, regardless of the weather, was critical.
The snowmobile category typically exhibits a rational communications approach focused on product features. This traditional approach works well with the Ski-Doo fan audience, but fails to attract new entrants - winter extreme sports enthusiasts. To create excitement, we needed to show them what it's like to be "So Ski-Doo", our new brand proposition.
Driving a Ski-Doo is such a unique and incomparable experience that it's often difficult to describe. So we didn't just have to tell the story, we had to show the experience for which you can only say "That's so Ski-Doo".
To bring the Ski-Doo effect to life, we've created a gripping documentary, the best way to convey the emotions and adrenaline rush our winter extreme sports fanatics are looking for.
Think escape room.
With an outdoor twist.
On top of a lost mountain.
In the middle of a storm.
That's what Escape Mountain is, a 45-minute documentary series created by Ski-Doo, in which we follow 5 pro riders in a race to escape the mountain.
It's snowmobilers against Mother Nature, as five Ski-Doo ambassadors take the Ski-Doo effect to the extreme, in a race against the mountain. They were left in an icy wasteland initially without equipment atop a 100,000-acre mountain in one of Western Canada's most extreme locations. Over a total of 48 hours, they braved extreme weather conditions, tested the Ski-Doo's endurance, and passed through physical and psychological tests to finish at the finish line. By taking on these extreme challenges aboard their Ski-Doo, the ambassadors were able to generate images that not even Hollywood blockbusters could stage.
The content strategy was a way of making an impact early in the fall. We'd never seen a campaign for a snowmobile before winter. We had to have a distinctive and impressive communication to fundamentally change the consumer's habit of waiting for the first snowfall to store.
Partnership with Discovery Channel
The campaign lasted 4 months, centered around the broadcast of the 45-minute documentary on Discovery Channel, in prime time. The broadcast was supported by Discovery with pre-promotion of the show, both on TV and on the web, in the same way as they do for their shows.
Like a blockbuster, Ski-Doo stuck to a fan event for its launch. Escape Mountain was launched during the annual Ski-Doo event, where dealers and VIP consumers gather to see the year's new products. The presence of Escape Mountain's pro riders added to the fans' excitement.
The documentary was cut into shorter videos for posting on the Ski-Doo website and YouTube. The digital platforms also featured exclusive content, including interviews with participants. To target the right audience, we used Ski-Doo's 1st party data, but also opened up the targeting to a wider audience including lookalikes and extreme winter sports fanatics..
Weather-triggered digital campaign
Escape Mountain was also supported by a weather-triggered digital campaign. When the snow first hit the ground, we switched to more product-focused ads. This added another layer of complexity, since the campaign covered a vast territory in the USA and Canada and each region had their specific weather patterns. We invested most of the budget before the first snow hit (August-November), a bold strategy that succeeded in stimulating preseason sales, even in regions that had no snow precipitation before December.