Whistler World Ski and Snowboard Festival and Fashion Exposed… more pics

I couldn’t resist. Kevin B., a colleague of mine, took these pics with his Blackberry. He’s the skier of the two of us so he was able to capture some amazing scenes at Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Overlay.TV sponsored the Fashion Exposed Show so we also managed to capture our rotating sponsor logo on the digital screen. Enjoy!

Fashion Exposed… Whistler Mountains…and Kids

Wow. One of the best fashion shows I’ve seen in years…(although i’ve really only seen 2 live…lol). The ultimate in ski fashions from Rossignol, Burton, Nikita, Orage, TNA…not to mention the Helly Hansen girls whose body paint attracted many snap-happy observers… was presented in an upbeat, creative hour. I could only hope to have half the talent of the hip/hop gals and breakdance performers. Here are some pics from the evening.

OK…so I don’t ski but I did manage to make it up Whistler Mountain. I took the gondola all the way to the Roundhouse at the top of the mountain and it was really cold….almost -10 C when Toronto had been 24 C that same day. But the day was beautiful. The sun was out and tons of skiers were out bright and early to take advantage of the weather. Take a look: a view from a non-skier:

At this conference I met Kathleen Gasperini of Label networks.com, a “global youth and street culture intelligence media company measuring the most trendsetting subcultures in the world”. Kathleen came to Whistler for a 2-day ski conference to provide insight into youth, particularly with respect to engagement with the sport of skiing. We had an interesting conversation about trying to tap into the elusive youth market, particularly 13-25. The key key to getting into the mindset of the wired generation is to understand how they interact with each other, what devices they use for their modes of communication and content consumptions and defining things they care about. Social network marketing is still very much an evolving science. No one’s quite figured out the forumla for success. Web tools are making it ever easier for youth to evolve how they create content, share it, and expand it out to their networks. The pace of this technology leaves marketers continuously chasing this means to an end, who unwittingly doesn’t want to be caught.

But those that do it better have something to teach the big brand advertisers. Small companies who never really had the big budgets to cast out a wide net to obtain this mass reach drew upon their only resource: Grassroots –> the art of generating local influence one market at a time and with great reliance on WOM and cost-effective media reach to help perpetuate the message. They did this by going out to schools, setting up pop-up stores, having presence in local youth events and culture. True understanding came from speaking with the kids not talking at them and figuring out what they cared about most. Their success came ever so slowly over time when their brand became associated with music, fashion, and causes that resonated with their audience. In many of those cases, it didn’t necessarily involve reaching youth in web forums or social networks but in the real world where they could build real connections through the spoken word. The art of conversation has moved to the web, but that does not preclude the effectiveness of the offline world.

Social web is, by far, a more challenging medium because the advertiser does not have the benefit of attaining the motivation or emotion behind the typed sentence. How do you be ‘real’ with an audience with whom you want to buy your product or use your service? The answer is that it will not come quickly or easily. Patience is key. Relationships have to be built. Trust needs to be established before you are even welcomed into their fold. Today’s youth understands they are prime advertising targets and they can see a marketing ploy a mile away. Brands entering social networks don’t do so unless there is an underlying reason. So the approach is first to seek to understand, build trust and then determine whether you have something they truly want or need. If not, modify or recreate it and continue to engage in conversation to determine the need. If the sell tactic is not so overt then perhaps the market will come to you… and this time in droves. Seth Godin coined the phrase, “Permission marketing”. In many ways, this is still valid.

Sights and Sounds of the Whistler World Ski and Snowboard Festival 2008

It’s my day 3 technically at TWSSF and I’ve been truly overwhelmed by the stuff that’s going on here. We’re here to showcase the Overlay.TV technology and build awareness for our brand. Filmmaker Showdown is where we will show our commercial but Fashion Exposed tonight is where we will really prove out this new video experience. We will be working with the event staff to film the entire show and overlay 19 brand segments consisting of clothing/skis/logos for each participating brand. This will be our proof of concept for clickable product placement. See our teaser video on the TWSSF site.

It’s not all work and I’m definitely trying to do a bit of R&R and enjoy the stuff around me. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was a skier. Go figure… I’m going to one of the most illustrious events of its kind and I don’t have the “Canadian” gumption to engage in its national sport. I do skate if that’s any consolation but it does not help me here in Whistler. So I’ve chosen to après all day every day and take in the concert series, the food, the shopping and the amazing shows.

At 2:30 every afternoon, the skiers come of the slopes directly onto the main stage where they’re met with some of the coolest music from Julian Marley (pics below) The Trews, Ill Scarlet, Blackalicious, L’il Jazz among the many. This plaza is absolutely dead in the mornings as everyone typically takes to the slopes but by mid-afternoon when the sun’s shining and everybody’s ready for a brew and some downtime, this kind of entertainment is just the ticket.

The Filmmaker Showdown was as awesome as I remembered it. The attendance was standing room only…at least 3,000 people here to watch the finalists who had been up for 72 hours creating a 4 minute film masterpiece. The submissions were awesome. The winner, ‘Arbitrarily Pear’ provided this quirky plot about the alternative to stairs….because “stairs are for jerks”….quite funny. The Pro Photographer’s Showdown totally blew me away as it showcased some of the best at their craft showcasing some of the best snowboarding, ski and landscape photos I’ve ever seen. The incredible shots were taken in places that required ability to get to some of the most remote and highest elevation points.

So tonight, Fashion Exposed, tomorrow an Executive Breakfast and back to TO.

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