Sponsors line up at the ski lift

Telus, Pontiac, Microsoft Zune and Kokanee are among the sponsors of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

For ten days in April, Whistler, BC, will be home to the Telus Ski and Snowboard Festival. The event, which runs April 17 to 26, will include more than just speeding down hills, as musicians, artists, gourmands and fashionistas all converge on the popular resort town. Key sponsors will include Telus, Pontiac, Zune, Coca-Cola, Kokanee and Dose.ca.

This is the 14th year of the festival which attracts over 250,000 visitors, mostly in the 18-to-35 demo, and Telus has been the title sponsor for 11 years. The event features ski, skateboard and snowboard competitions, art and photography exhibits, concerts, fundraisers, a cooking contest and a fashion show.

Telus will be operating the Telus igloo at the event, where it will promote its line of cellular phones and smartphones, as well as its TV and Internet services. The telco will run contests for prizes such as phones, lift tickets and ski and snowboard gear, and the igloo also features an old-school photo booth where visitors can have their pictures taken. ‘We’re just trying to create some fun and engaging ways to interact with consumers,’ explains Matthew Binnington, manager of events and experiential marketing at Telus.

To promote the festival and their involvement in it, Telus has launched a four-week marketing campaign. Targeting the Lower Mainland, the campaign features radio, print and OOH advertising. The spots air on CFOX and the Beat, while print ads appear in the Georgia Straight. OOH will focus on restaurants and bars. Taxi managed the creative, while Media Experts handled the planning and purchasing. Octagon will handle the on-site activation at the festival.

Telus feels that sponsoring this festival is a good way to target a large portion of the 18-to-49 demo that it wants to reach. ‘You want to have a balanced and healthy marketing mix, and sponsorship and experiential is a good part of that for Telus,’ says Binnington. ‘We want to show people that we’re supporting their passion, their love, and hope that earns some equity with them when they go to make that purchase decision.’

Other companies seem to share Telus’ view. Olympus is sponsoring the Pro Photographer Showdown, a contest for action sports photographers, and Schick is sponsoring the Fashion Exposed fashion show. Kokanee is sponsoring the Free Ride Club Series, a series of concerts and DJ performances in Whistler clubs. And Microsoft is using the festival to tout its portable media player with the Zune Concert Series, featuring free performances by bands like the Stills, Metric and 54:40.