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Ski industry split over putting ads on chairlifts
DENVER -- The Forest Service has given the nation's ski resorts the OK to sell some advertising space on their chairlifts, drawing complaints that the messages will clutter up the great outdoors.
The ads will be only a few inches in size and will consist of logos of companies that sponsor programs at resorts; they will not contain slogans or special offers.
"Coors could have its logo, but no twins," Forest Service spokeswoman Sue Froeschle said this week, referring to the beer company's advertisements with buxom women.
The ads will be limited to 15 percent of the safety bar area. They will be placed with trail maps displayed on a cylinder around the safety bars. The resorts will get the revenue for the ad sales.
The Forest Service oversees most ski resorts because they are on federal land. The policy was approved late last month.
Kalle Lasn, founder of the Adbuster Foundation, objected to the idea.
"We are used to being ambushed by marketing messages," Lasn said. "Our brains are observing 3,000 marketing messages a day and we certainly don't need 3,001 -- especially in that kind of a park setting."
Some ski industry officials believe the logos are inoffensive because they are so small, but others say they have no place on publicly owned lands.
Vail Resorts, the nation's top ski resort destination, has rejected the idea.
"There needs to be a real sensitivity to over-commercialization of our slopes," Vail Resorts spokeswoman Kelly Ladyga said. "If the line is crossed, then it will detract from the overall experience and we believe advertising on chairlifts crosses that line for our guests."
The National Ski Areas Organization has endorsed the concept as long as the ads are tasteful, said Geraldine Link, public policy director.
The advertising was tested last year at Aspen's four resorts. At the time, ads were allowed to include promotions, and the products advertised included Altoids mints and massages.
Link said the ads struck "a balance between serving the customer's practical needs and meeting their expectations in a mountain environment."
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