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Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007 at 11:46 am

Warren Miller Loses His Edge Online

By Melissa Burdon
October 31st, 2007

not quite as safe as emailWhat if you had a business where you had a loyal and engaged community of fans, where people were dying to say good things about your brand, but you decided it wasn’t so important to cash in. How would this strategy work for your business? (Let me know how that works out for you.)

If you’re an avid skier who lives in North America, like me, you’ve probably seen a Warren Miller film. He was one of the first to harness ski culture enthusiasm for commercial purposes — way before the Internet.

For years, I’ve been a big fan. I hadn’t seen any advertising for this year’s Warren Miller film, but — knowing that it just wouldn’t be a ski season without one — I was proactive about not missing a second year in a row. I don’t watch much television and I rarely listen to the radio, so unless I’m lucky enough to see an ad for the film, it’s easy to forget. Luckily, I went online to see when and where his film would be featured and was able to buy my tickets directly from his site.

Warren Miller’s loyal fans are passionate about skiing and snowboarding. His crowd acts differently than most moviegoers. It’s a bonding experience between strangers who are all there for the same purpose; they’re looking for an adrenaline hit from powdery, snow-covered mountains. Everyone is very vocal and outwardly excited, sharing the experience that gets them stoked for the upcoming season.

Still, I’m left scratching my head. Why didn’t they collect my email address when I purchased my ticket online? Had they specifically told me that they’re collecting my information in order to inform me when next year’s film will be released, I would’ve been perfectly happy to cough up my email address. After all, I would rather not have to think about when the Warren Miller flick is playing next year. They would be doing me a favor by telling me when and where it’s playing in my area, and just letting me click to purchase directly from an email.

Something I found interesting at this year’s film was that the majority of attendees had pre-purchased their tickets. In fact, there was hardly anyone purchasing tickets at the box office. Each year, and at every screening, the audience receives a free (or discount) ski pass to the local resort. But this year, the tickets weren’t handed out at the event. Instead, the audience was given a piece of paper with a ticket number where they were asked to go online to redeem their free pass.

Wouldn’t this be the ideal opportunity for the Warren Miller team to collect email addresses with the sole purpose of nurturing their loyal customers?

By the way, the film rocked! It wasn’t the best year ever, but it definitely pumped me up for what’s ahead this winter. After seeing the flick last week, I purchased my season pass at my local ski resort. I may even want to purchase the DVD when it comes out. Too bad they didn’t collect my information. I’ll probably forget about the DVD and I probably won’t be proactive enough to buy it later on when I’m skiing (read: not just daydreaming about skiing). If I received an email about it when it comes out, chances are they would make another sale. This is why it’s often a good idea to ask for an email address after you’ve made the sale.

Oh well. Maybe they’ll catch on next year.

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Comments (2)

  1. Anyone who missed Warren Miller’s Playground still has a chance to see it and in doing so support the education of girls in Canada and around the world. Give Girls A Chance is showing PLAYGROUND in Toronto,at the Ontario Place CINESPHERE, November 14th. There is a pre-film reception with fabulous raffle (accomodation at Whistler, ski passes, gym memberships etc.). If you have seen the film this year, e-mail us at and we will let you know about next year’s screening, or for further information about Give Girls A Chance and to buy tickets, visit

  2. We are having a Warren Miller Ski Party this Friday November 9th in Los Gatos at Mounatin Charley’s Saloon. We will be showing a number of films from previous years and giving away tickets to Playground showing in Campbell on Wednesday th 14th.

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Melissa is a Senior Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow.

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