The Aspen Skiing Co.’s global marketing is getting more concise, and is taking the brand out on the transatlantic waters via sailboat.
SkiCo has partnered with London resident Tony Lawson, who is equally enthusiastic about sailing as he is about Aspen.
“I’m enchanted by the place,” he said from England last week.
So much so that he has offered to put the Aspen/Snowmass brand and logo on the spinnaker of the newly built Concise 8, his 40-foot racing boat that will launch from France next month and land in Brazil approximately 30 days later in the 5,500-mile Transat Jacques Vabre race. It is considered the second most famous transworld race on the globe.
And in the next 12 months, Team Concise will see Ned Collier Wakefield, 25, and Sam Goodchild, 23, race the Aspen/Snowmass sail in three transworld competitions — to the West Indies, Barbados, Antigua and St. Barts, and then along the shores of New York and Newport, RI., and finally back to France to travel to Guadeloupe in the Route Du Rhum.
These are the places where the Aspen clientele are,” Lawson said.
Having the Aspen/Snowmass brand on the 60-foot-tall sail is designed to pique people’s interest, and help create a multimedia following for Team Concise, which has a long-term plan that culminates with Collier Wakefield racing the Vendee Globe, a single-handed nonstop race around the world.
“We would like to harness the existing Aspen/Snowmass media platform to tell our stories,” reads Lawson’s presentation to SkiCo. “Sailing and skiing share the same demographic. With this in mind we believe a combined media campaign focusing on lifestyle could offer a fresh new valuable slant … Ned and Team Concise have the ability to deliver the Aspen message exactly where you want it.”
Lawson, who has been coming to Aspen for 20 years, was inspired by the idea this past spring while sitting on the patio of Ajax Tavern, where he noticed people wearing clothes that pegged them as sailors. Just as Texans wear fur, sailors wear topsiders at aprés ski.
Having a rapport with SkiCo executives, Lawson approached Bob Bayless, who handles international sales and marketing for SkiCo. They agreed a partnership would benefit both of them, and shook hands on the deal at the tavern.
“I made a small observation that people were wearing sailing clothes and I said to Bob ‘you do realize that people who ski well sail well?’” Lawson said.
No money is involved in the partnership — it is strictly a marketing and media partnership between Lawson and SkiCo.
But Lawson does hope to find financial support leading up to the Vendee Globe, which is considered the pinnacle of offshore sailing that generates 1.7 million people passing through the race village in Les Sables D’Olonne.
“The idea is to get media attention everywhere we go,” said Lawson, adding that Team Concise is unique in that it is made up of unpaid rookies who are competing against well-funded boats around the world.
Yet the young skippers have several wins under their belt, including 2009’s Class 40 World Championship, and breaking the Round Britain and Ireland world record in 2010.
Lawson, a property developer, and Collier Wakefield founded Team Concise in 2007, in order to help talented young British sailors get into offshore sailing.
Collier Wakefield, according to Lawson, is just as strong of a skier as he is a sailor, and is ready to spread the good word of Aspen/Snowmass in his upcoming travels.
“Luckily having skied there myself, I can say it is an amazing place,” Collier Wakefield said last week. “I’ve skied all over Europe and you have the best skiing anywhere.”
He will begin telling the story of Aspen/Snowmass this week in Le Havre, France, where an estimated 750,000 people will travel through the race village before the Transat Jacques Vabre begins on Nov. 3.
“We will fly the Aspen battle flags,” Lawson said. “This is great fun.”
For more information on the race and Team Concise, log onto http://www.transat-jacques-vabre.com/en/concise-8 .