Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

What was your best ever public relations campaign?

Gareth Arculus (pictured), Thorpe Park, England: For us, I think SAW: The Ride last year really stands out. It wasn’t a PR stunt as such, but on the launch night the ride unfortunately had a breakdown and a female journalist had a panic attack. The media were all over it with reports of, “Woman has panic attack on world’s scariest rollercoaster,” which was exactly how we were trying to pitch it. It was more of a reactive story to an incident that had happened at the park, but it got the perfect message across and even more coverage than we could have expected, in both broadcast and national print media. I think Sky News did accuse of “the perfect marketing stunt” – live on air!

Camille Jourden-Mark, Michigan’s Adventure, USA: Our annual Physics Day has been a top public relations success at Michigan’s Adventure since its inception more than 20 years ago. Each year we receive a great deal of coverage for the event. Physics Day is typically the first day of our season, which is an ideal time for an added media boost to kick off the season. We receive television and front page newspaper coverage for the event as well as articles in several of the surrounding publications. Physics Day is a great opportunity to mix the fun of an amusement park with education as it relates real life experiences to concepts that may be difficult for students to grasp. Developing new public relations successes each year can be challenging for a small park with a limited staff. The Physics Day PR effort is as simple as updating the prior season’s press release and making a few media calls.

Andrea Fiedler, Belantis, Germany: Well that’s a tough question since I’ve got a great team with me and we target every campaign specifically so that it bears fruit. If I had to pick one, I would mention our most recent campaign: the launch of our great coaster Huracan! From the announcement in March until opening at the end of June we celebrated every single step of this big project by turning out high profile press releases. We even savoured the naming of the coaster with a two-week promotion in Germany’s biggest newspaper. Overall, we gathered five-months of non-stop coverage that led to an enormous amount of publicity that, had we designed this as an advertising campaign, would have had cost hundreds of thousands.

Jerry Brick, Lake Compounce, USA: Our family safety day started a few years ago and originally revolved around the “Dare” programme. In recent years it has included car seat safety, bike helmets, the seat belt convincer, kid’s photo ID cards, drive like your kid’s and so on. Each year we continue to grow the promotion and include more vendors. It is a hit with our season pass holders as well as our regular guests. We have a radio station that sponsors it and we will work to continue to grow the programme.

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