M.A.X. Pass

Case Study: M.A.X. Pass

Client: M.A.X. Pass
Services: Public Relations, Social Media
Industry: Health & Wellness
Website: www.themaxpass.com 

In an effort to make a name for itself in the competitive ski pass market, the M.A.X. Pass enlisted Sprocket when it launched in 2015. Sprocket built a strategy incorporating media and influencer outreach and social media management. The result? A lot of fantastic press coverage, social media chatter, and solid sales.

Challenge

In early 2015, Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne Resorts engaged Sprocket Communications for the launch of its new M.A.X. Pass, a revolutionary ski pass that gave passholders access to 39 mountains across North America with no blackout dates. With the concept in its first year, Sprocket was tasked with telling the new brand’s story to media and influencers around the country. In 2016, M.A.X. Pass again enlisted Sprocket to promote its second season and continue the momentum built in its initial campaign.
On a local level, Sprocket faced a weather-related challenge in 2015: just as the pass launched, weather in Colorado warmed to near-historic levels for the month of March. Getting consumers to think about next winter—and to spend real money on a M.A.X. Pass—in the midst of summer-like temperatures proved challenging.

Solution

Sprocket launched the M.A.X. Pass with a national PR push as well as strategic influencer outreach to bloggers and through social media. For its public relations strategy, Sprocket developed a two-pronged approach. First, the agency created a press release for Business Wire and released it to a national media list on March 10, 2015. Then, Sprocket sent individualized pitches to specific local, regional and national outlets. Sprocket pitched the launch of the pass, but also worked to ensure coverage in ski-industry roundups, alongside other industry heavyweights like Vail Resorts.

As part of its influencer campaign, Sprocket identified a list of online influencers who fell into the M.A.X. Pass’ key demographic categories: skiing and snowboarding, outdoor, travel, families and regional. Then, on behalf of M.A.X. Pass, Sprocket drafted and executed outreach to promote the M.A.X. Pass to those influencers.

Sprocket also creatively inserted the M.A.X. Pass into conversations using trending hashtags. When it snowed on Mother’s Day, for example, Sprocket chimed in on Twitter conversations that included #mothersday to encourage users to think about the M.A.X. Pass as a gift for Mom. But Sprocket only chimed in when it was appropriate and relevant, never sounding inauthentic or salesy.

Results

Sprocket Communications’ PR efforts during the 2015-2016 season landed the M.A.X Pass in more than 40 outlets, including Forbes, the Denver Post, Outside Online, CondeNastTraveler.com, as well as publications in local markets across the country and in Canada. The Business Wire release garnered more than 480 clicks to the M.A.X. Pass website. And Sprocket’s outreach garnered interest from significant national outlets (including the New York Times, AFAR and Men’s Journal) for fall/winter coverage.

The M.A.X. Pass influencer campaign also got attention on social media. On Twitter, the M.A.X. Pass received 320 mentions by users like Conde Nast Traveler (642K+ followers) and Travel Dudes (213K+ followers). Those mentions, which came from users in more than 10 states, garnered an estimated 1.7 million impressions. 70 percent of those mentions came from Twitter users with medium or high authority.
The results were such that Sprocket was engaged to promote the M.A.X. Pass for subsequent seasons. In the most recent campaign, Sprocket gained 23 pieces of coverage, including in the New York Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, Colorado Public Radio, Town & Country, and in publications in local markets served by the M.A.X. Pass.