Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sun Valley projects itself

Marketing Alliance initiatives launch next week

Express Staff Writer

Arlene Schieven

Wood River Valley residents are well acquainted with the wonders of the area, so who better to reveal its secrets?

A new advertising campaign for Sun Valley seeks to tap into what locals already know, using their stories—in their own words—to make the pitch to potential visitors.

The Sun Valley Marketing Alliance has been working on the campaign with San Francisco-based ad agency Eleven, and it's about to make its debut on the national stage.

The firm created a strategic plan based on a marketing challenge: low awareness of the area among a key demographic—the 25- to 50-year-old age group.

"A lot of people didn't know about Sun Valley," said Arlene Schieven, the alliance's president and chief marketing officer. "We need to get it top of mind again."

Marketers set out to highlight unique attributes of Sun Valley. At the forefront of that list is the area's history. Sun Valley is billed, branded and sold as the original mountain resort town.

A series of video vignettes featuring locals and their stories has been posted on the marketing alliance website,, and Sun Valley Resort's website, Excerpts from them will be shown, beginning next week, to theatergoers in Boise, Seattle and Los Angeles—areas the marketing alliance is targeting. Banner ads on other websites also will draw people to the videos.

"Those weren't scripted," Schieven said. "They're just saying what they feel about Sun Valley, and I think that's coming across really well."

The marketing group, in conjunction with Sun Valley Resort, also has launched a contest on Facebook, at to generate interest in the area among Facebook users.

Besides its history, Sun Valley can boast plentiful sunny days, independent businesses and a feeling of authenticity lacking in other resort destinations, Schieven said.

"We have roots here," she said.

Ironically, the original ski resort destination is enjoying success in drawing summer visitors, but is seeing room for improvement in winter-season visitors.

Content was created last year for use in this winter's ads.

"This year was (focused on) launching and using that content," Schieven said. "All of that content is now being showcased."

The marketing campaign caught the attention of The New York Times. Advertising reporter Stuart Elliott wrote about the push in the Times' Oct. 31 online edition. A version of the article appeared in the paper's Nov. 7 print edition.

Elliott told the Idaho Mountain Express that the campaign piqued his interest because he was familiar with the Sun Valley name but didn't know a lot about the area. He said the campaign's approach is a good one because it highlights the resort's heritage and history while presenting it in an updated way.

Elliott said consumers need to be drawn in to watch a video or click through web content, as opposed to traditional advertising methods that hold viewers captive and tell them what they're going to look at.

"You can't push this stuff on people any more," Elliott said. "This is how you need to try to reach them."

The success of the campaign can be measured by website visits, including how many people click through links on the site to navigate around for more information.

Ultimately, Schieven said, its impact will be measured by the "overall success of business here as measured by the local-option tax."

"We're setting a baseline and we'll move forward from here," she said.

Rebecca Meany:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.