NEW YORK: In the wake of the destruction of Two Elks restaurant by radical environmentalists, Vail Resorts has selected New York-based GCI Group for a crisis response program.
The program aims to focus media and public attention back to the many attractions of the mountains as the ski season opens this month.
'All they lost was one restaurant and some collateral facilities,' GCI executive vice president Jim Cox said. 'We focused on the opening of the season.' The Vail program was worth approximately $50,000, he added.
GCI, which won out over Burson-Marsteller and LA-based Sitrick, began work in late October, two weeks after the fire and a fortnight before opening day, November 9.
The group was recommended by Vail's investor relations company, Morgen Walke, said Vail's director of corporate communications, Paul Witt.
Headed by executive VP/NY director of operations Lynn Schwartz, the GCI team worked alongside Vail Resorts' nine-person corporate communications team, which is spread among four mountains.
Kristin Yantis, Vail communications manager, said the PR staff for Vail and Beaver Creek mountains handled a good deal of the crisis themselves before GCI came on board.
GCI also was selected for a confidential litigation assignment by one of its existing clients. Cox would not disclose details, but said the agency is working in concert with San Francisco-based Kamer Singer on the program, which involves a threatened lawsuit by a former employee of the client. 'It's a classic whistleblower case,' Cox said.
GCI Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grey Advertising, launched its litigation practice earlier this fall.