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Big Sky Resort on the campaign trail

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By Abbie Digel, Editor

WASHINTON, D.C. – In the wake of last May’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Big Sky, Big Sky Resort has devoted its marketing efforts to pinpointing specific locations and strategies for summer advertising in Washington, D.C.

The resort chose the D.C. market to play off of the fact that it is an election year and because of past success hosting large government groups, and the potential to attract more groups and guests from the DC area, said Chad Jones, Big Sky Resort’s public relations manager. Previous conferences and a strong connection to Montana politics, including repeat visits to the resort from Sen. Baucus, have given the resort a connection to that market.

Although there is no direct flight to Bozeman from D.C., “it is still a worthwhile place for the resort to advertise,” Jones said.

This year, Big Sky Resort won an award for best transit graphics in the Federal Transit Administration’s Region 8 sector, which includes Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. The bus wrap features both summer and winter scenes. It runs between Bozeman and Big Sky eight times a day during peak seasons.

Big Sky chose a similar route for its D.C. campaign, and also wrapped several busses in that area, Jones said. Banner ads were placed on the D.C. Metro, in bars and restaurants, heavily trafficked websites, and at other popular meeting places across the city.

The ads read “Big Sky Resort: The only clear choice for 2012” and have a bison silhouette, similar to the donkey and elephant silhouettes seen in the political realm, and an American flag. “It was fun for us to be edgy on an election year,” Jones said.

Also, the Big Sky Resort sales team has been making a “heavy hitting sales call effort,” said Meg O’Leary, the resort’s Director of Marketing and Sales.

Currently Jones is in New York City talking with journalists and other potential visitors about the direct flight to Bozeman from Newark.

It comes down to where can you reach and affect the most people, and get the most bang for your buck, he said. In Big Sky’s case, they have a chance to stand out in D.C.

“We know that people are seeing them [the ads], and we are definitely getting noticed.”

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