Shame for Gain Campaign

A Desire to Stand Out

The heli-ski market is starting to feel a little saturated. Many competitors are fighting for a small audience, using mostly the same tactics and platforms. Previously, Crescent Spur Heli-Skiing had built up their audience using a successful Facebook contest; this year, we asked them to try something different. In addition to reaching current clients and potential heli-skiers, we encouraged them to engage new, untapped audiences by creating something that people would talk about and share. more

Harnessing People's Passion

We decided to play off skiers' passion in a campaign called Shame for Gain. In it, heli-skiing enthusiasts were asked to divulge their most embarrassing moments for the chance to win a week of heli-skiing heaven. We built a microsite that utilized the Facebook API to drive users to the Crescent Spur domain, and developed a contest mechanism that allowed participants to have their friends and family vote for them.

Similarly, share buttons were integrated, so entrants' could promote their submissions on multiple platforms. We also applied a luscious illustrative style, juxtaposed with dramatic imagery, to further tease interested parties to look more closely.

Engaging a Niche Audience

To spread the word, we utilized paid advertising, email blasts, social media, blogger outreach, and personally contacted hundreds of Flickr and YouTube users who had created great skiing/snowboarding-related content. This resulted in 100 entries, ranging from the worst ski fashions to the most ungainly wipeouts; 2,820 votes; and thousands of likes, tweets, and comments. This led to a 278% increase in unique visitors to their main website, over the three month timeframe. Additionally, it allowed the Crescent Spur Heli-Skiing brand to repeatedly engage this highly targeted audience, in a playful and entertaining way.


The Shame for Gain campaign offered Crescent Spur Heli-Skiing the chance to not only reconnect with their existing audience, but engage with future generations of potential heli-skiers. A luscious illustrative style was applied to all visual elements of the Shame for Gain campaign to help draw users in, while embarrassing and dramatic moments would work to hook them. 

A variety of ads juxtaposed images of wipeouts and terrible ski fashions with heavenly and dramatic mountain landscapes, alluding to the overall campaign theme of sharing your most agonizing moments in exchange for the ecstasy of heli-skiing. On each frame, the lines were animated to draw in, to grab the viewer’s attention.

From email notifications to the Facebook landing tab, all aspects of the campaign employed these decorative visual elements, establishing a consistent look and feel across all platforms.

Shame for Gain submit page
Shame for Gain entry page

The Shame for Gain website was integrated into the main Crescent Spur Heli-Skiing website, to help drive traffic to their main property and keep it there. The submission process was deliberately kept brief—meanwhile, users were required to log in via Facebook in order to vote or comment, to help ensure the voting process was kept as fair as possible. 

From “Heidi” and superhero troupes, to nude skiers and painful wipeouts, some of the submissions were truly cringe-worthy. Over the course of three months, we received 100 photo and video entries. Many of the contestants fought hard to gain votes, regularly promoting their entries across multiple social media platforms in a bid to steal first place.

The winner was announced via the Crescent Spur blog, using a hand-drawn illustration featuring the winner’s face, and the body of the protagonist in the Highlander film series. This played off the notion of “battling to the end,” as the winner and another user ran neck and neck during the campaign’s final days. (Coincidentally, some of the most popular runs at Crescent Spur include Highlander references, including “The Quickening,” “Immortality,” and “Kurgan.”)


  • Consulting, analysis, and planning
  • Digital marketing and social media strategy
  • Creative concept and design direction
  • Advertising campaign and media plan
  • Execution, iteration, and daily monitoring

Key Benefits

  • Reached a highly niche target market
  • Connected with future audiences of heli-skiers
  • Increased brand awareness through word-of-mouth
  • 278% increase in site visitors over three-months
  • 100 contest entries with nearly 3,000 votes


  • Microsite with contest integration
  • Facebook landing tab and associated images
  • Emails (notifications, newsletter)
  • Media/Blogger outreach and content
  • Digital ads (Facebook, display, text)


"This was a fantastic campaign. The effort put in by the smashLAB team as a whole was incredible, and resulted in a well thought-out campaign that smoothly and effectively reached a highly niche audience. We were particularly impressed with the way smashLAB communicated the overall impact."