Cross Country Canada Strives to Push Participation with Creative National Marketing Campaign

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Chris Dornan

March 22, 2013, Canmore, Alta (ISN) – Cross Country Canada will ski into communities across the country with a one-of-a-kind marketing campaign that showcases the universal appeal of the sport to Canadians of all ages and abilities in an effort to drive participation.

The innovative campaign showcases the many advantages of cross-country skiing by directly targeting other sports with catchy slogans.

“The cross-country ski community in Canada lives and breathes the sport’s unique characteristics, but we want the rest of the country to realize how fun, cool and edgy our sport really is,” said Alex Harvey, the two-time World Championship medallist who is featured in one of the ads and whose fan base in Nordic communities around the world rivals some of the world’s hottest rock stars.

“This campaign highlights not just what makes cross-country skiing so great, but that it is accessible for nearly every man, woman and child in the country. We believe the sport of cross-country skiing has finally arrived in Canada, and it is time for the sport to take its place,” added Harvey.

The initiative was created by Brandhealth Communications, an independent marketing agency based in Peterborough, ON that specializes in health and well-being.

“We wanted to give cross-country skiing the ‘cool factor’ that it deserves. Cross-country skiing is unlike any other sport. It’s completely pure. There is something about being in a forest in the middle of winter gliding across the snow that refreshes your body and mind. Are other sports envious of cross-country skiing? We think so,” said Rick Kemp, creative director at Brandhealth.

The campaign has two primary goals: first, it will promote and grow the profile of the sport across Canada, providing messaging and branding that CCC and its 330 member clubs around the country can use to grow membership and participant bases. Second, the campaign will help celebrate and draw attention to the National Ski Team’s journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as they travel the globe in search of medals on the FIS and IPC World Cup circuits.

“Feeding off the success of our National Ski Team, there has been increased interest in our sport across Canada – both through public attention and participation on ski trails in all provinces,” said Matthew Jeffries, director of business development, Cross Country Canada. “The more people we expose to the sport, the better the nation’s chances are at finding, fostering and developing Canada’s next Olympic and Paralympic medallists. Working with our member clubs, this unique campaign will play a key role in helping us accomplish our goals.”

The campaign will be rolled out to ski clubs and provincial associations in the coming months through a mix of print, online and social media platforms. CCC- licensed merchandise bearing some of the campaign’s messaging will also be available for purchase through the CCC online store (www.cccski.com) and at select CCC events across the country.

Earlier this year, Cross Country Canada also introduced the organization’s first-ever mascot. Symbolically created to support the sport’s introductory Jackrabbit ski programs, Klister, an oversized Jackrabbit, makes regular appearances at Cross Country Canada events and races across the country in a continued effort to inspire kids to get involved, have fun, and enjoy the sport.

“Cross-country skiing has evolved so much at the elite level to be more spectator-friendly with lots of action and excitement,” said Jefferies. “The sport is exciting and fast and has no boundaries for age or skill. Our goal is to feed that excitement to the grassroots level. You never know what corner of the country Klister may be able to find Canada’s next Olympic or Paralympic champion.”

Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities, AltaGas, Statoil and Canadian Pacific – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2ten, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com.

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