We started with a simple call-to-action (STAY SUNNY) that reflected the optimistic spirit of the Valley. But we also needed a voice that, like the locals, felt honest and to the point. Conceptually, we thought of it as a secret society that anyone could be a part of (assuming they were kind and respectful).
Sun Valley, Idaho is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. For years it has existed in relative obscurity.
But the approach they pioneered—sponsoring the exploits of extreme outdoor athletes—is no longer as own-able or relevant as it once was.
This all changed with the pandemic. Almost overnight, Sun Valley became the place to be. Tourists flooded the valley in droves. And the locals tasked with satisfying the needs of these visitors became, in a word, overwhelmed.
Client // Visit Sun Valley
Assignment // Brand Strategy, Board Advisory, Campaign Design, Experiential Design, Brand Identity and Messaging, Non-Traditional Media, Measurement Strategy and Metrics
Evolving a Destination Brand from Awareness to 360° Marketing.
The biggest problem this onslaught of tourism brought to town was, to put it bluntly, assholery: disrespect towards staff, disregard for locals, aggressive driving, littering, and jumping lines. What was needed, we decided, was a campaign that reminded visitors how things are done in the Valley.
To date, virtually every piece of communication has been delivered through non-traditional media, i.e., chalked sidewalks, construction site plywood, murals, bumper stickers, viewfinders. The medium truly has been the message.
The money saved from not doing a traditional media buy has freed us up to do more local collabs and to execute all production locally. Every execution supports the local community in some way.
Each creative piece was informed by what we call a pain point, i.e., specific time or place where tourists were being insufferable. We wrote lines (or messages) encouraging them to stop. But took care not to castigate them. That just felt mean. Humor, we learned, was the most effective way of connecting with others (whether they're locals or not).
Around town our voice shifted depending on where you were and what offense (if any) was being committed. So, for example, as people entered town, we welcomed them with a wave and a smile. Alternatively, when people were being jerks on the bike trail, we gave them the business.