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.
Having created the category, Ski-Doo obviously knew its core target: 45+, fervent snowmobilers, high income and living in rural markets. But which consumers should Ski-Doo target to grow the snowmobile community? An interesting insight was that cold and winter discomforts are the number one barrier to entry. Therefore, it was a lot easier to convert extreme winter sports enthusiasts (ice climbers, downhill skiers, glacier hikers) to snowmobile, than converting summer riders (motorcycles, watercraft). And to excite these winter daredevils, we needed to inject our communication with an extreme dose of adrenaline.
This campaign capitalizes on one important category truth: it is really hard to get consumers interested in snowmobiles before the first snow hits the ground. Until the first snowflakes, consumers are not in the “winter” mindset and postpone buying. Also, because of climate change, the first snow is recorded later each year. With less time to hit their sales target, it is quite a challenge to generate growth for snowmobile manufacturers. It was critical to create enthusiasm for the snowmobile category early in the fall, regardless of snow precipitations.
The snowmobile category primarily brings forth a rational communication centred around product’s features. This traditional communication approach worked well with Ski-Doo’s core target but failed to attract the desired new entrants, the winter extreme sports lovers. To create excitement, we needed to get them to experience “that Ski-Doo Feeling”, our newly launched brand proposition.
Riding a Ski-Doo is an experience so unique and unparalleled, it’s often difficult to describe. We had to show the Ski-Doo feeling, not just say it.
To bring the Ski-Doo Feeling to life, we decided to create an impactful documentary, which would best carry the emotions and adrenaline rush the targeted winter sports junkies were craving.
Think Escape Room.
With an outdoor twist.
On top of an isolated blizzard mountain.
In a remote area.
This is what “Escape Mountain”, a 45-minute documentary by Ski-Doo, was about.
It’s riders vs. Mother Nature as five pro rider Ski-Doo ambassadors take That Ski-Doo Feeling to the extreme in a battle of survival to escape the mountain. They were dropped in the frozen wilderness without gear on top of a 100k acre mountain in one of the most extreme areas of western Canada. Over a period of 48 hours, they defeated the extreme weather conditions, tested the Ski-Doo endurance, and went through mind and physical games to get to the finish line first. Each mountain escaper went through hell and back on their Ski-Doo and they generated scenes that even a Hollywood blockbuster couldn’t have staged.
Furthermore, the content strategy was a way to create an impact early in the fall. Indeed, we needed a communication that was distinctive and impactful to change a deeply entrenched consumer behaviour i.e. waiting for the first snowfall to kick off the buying process.
Partnership with Discovery Channel
Escape Mountain was a four-month campaign, centred around a 45-min documentary on the Discovery Channel, in the USA and Canada. Escape Mountain aired in-program, during prime time. It was heavily promoted by Discovery in all of their TV shows to maximize viewership. The long format allowed the adrenaline rush we needed to convince new entrants from the extreme winter sports community.
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.