Dynastar Infomercial Aims to Build Brand, Sport

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Dynastar Inc., a ski and equipment manufacturer based in Burlington, VT, plans to air the ski industry's first infomercial this winter as part of its ongoing lead-generating campaign to build brand awareness for Dynastar Skis, Look bindings and Lange boots. The company also hopes to increase the popularity of skiing.


"This is all about education and bringing the customer to retail," said Mark Gonsalves, vice president of sales and consumer marketing at Dynastar. "We have to get our message out there because if we don't, the competition will win."


Gonsalves believes the greatest competition is not from other manufacturers of ski equipment but from companies in other recreational areas, including golf (a strong infomercial category), cruises and amusement parks.


Gonsalves cited statistics from the Snow Industries Association that indicate 22.5 million people call themselves skiers, but only 8 million actually went skiing last ski season.


"The industry traditionally has been selling their products to retailers and not consumers," Gonsalves said. "The problem with that is you are singing to the choir. We are really trying to generate renewed interest in the sport. There's more than 14 million people out there that have to be reached."


While many infomercials are characterized by a hard "yell and sell," Dynastar's infomercial is low-key.


"Since skiing has never utilized the long-form before, we purposely made it an educational show with no sales element," said Tony Kerry, senior vice president of marketing for Script to Screen Inc., Santa Ana, CA.


The infomercial, which will air throughout the United States and Canada, will feature Olympic Gold Medalists Picabo Street, Tommy Moe and Alberto Tomba as spokespeople. The host is Bob Beattie, a television commentator for international skiing events.


Gonsalves said it was important that the infomercial include world-class skiers whom people know and who use Dynastar products in competition.


"Deborah Campioni, the most prolific skier on the women's tour, retired last year, but nobody knows who she is," he said. "Skiing requires an investment, and when golf is getting more air time than the Skiing World Cup, then it is very difficult to get the sport promoted."


Rather than a hard sell that pushes for immediate product orders, the infomercial's call to action prompts viewers to order a brochure. There is a cross offer of a voucher for free lift tickets and a chance to win a ski trip to the Alps.


The infomercial was shot at Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe, CA, and at the Script to Screen studios. It took 11 months to put together.


"Because we only have a few weeks, there is no time to go back and tweak the show and re-release it," Gonsalves said. "We had to get it right the first time."


The infomercial will air on Resorts Sports Networks, which is a channel received by ski resorts throughout North America. It will also air on the Outdoor Channel between its ski and snowboarding shows.


It will be seen on the Resorts channel twice each day with the idea of capturing audiences in the morning, before skiers are on the slopes, and then in the evening, after they are done. Regional airings will also be used extensively. The show will be shown in Fort Lauderdale, FL, for example, where Dynastar has a retailer.


Skiing was a new product category for Prime Time Sports TV, Inc., San Luis Obispo, CA, which handled media buys for the infomercial.


"We specialize in golf, so we had to do a lot of research for this," said Chuck Cody, director of media for Prime Time Sports TV. "We took Dynastar's ski track report and not only had to find out where skiers lived but where they also made purchases."


Prime Time Sports TV moved away from golf when it did the media buying for Tae Bo. Now it hopes for equal success with the Dynastar brands.


"The difference between this and Tae Bo is, with Tae Bo it was like shooting a shotgun, and it was just a matter of finding the cheapest shells in the media-buying process," Cody said. "With this, you have to be a sharp shooter and really target your audience."


Gonsalves, who was an executive at Adams Golf, helped build the Tight Lies brand there through direct response.


"We began telling our retailers about the infomercial, and explained that it was simply to bring customers to their stores without the typical hard sell," he said. "Many retailers were excited and placed extra orders for the brands in the show. Others were more cautious, but that is to be expected. We want to make Dynastar to skiing what Callaway clubs are to golf."
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