Perspective | Theme Parks a new opportunity for brands?

As we all know the word 'marketing mix' refers to a unique blend of product, place, promotion and pricing strategies, usually called the 4 P's, designed to produce mutually satisfying exchanges with the target market and with marketing space becoming more complex day by day, standing out different yet innovative and leaving no stone unturned in terms of reaching out to the audience is the key criteria for all the marketers and brands...

I am sure we all must have heard and visited to one of the biggest theme park of Mumbai, Adlabs Imagica which is becoming one of the preferred opportunity for marketers for reaching out to masses hence a lot of brands are seen creating innovative platforms for the kids and the parents to make their product understand better...These brands are considering theme parks as a viable option for marketing and taking their brand deeper and closer to their target audience. 

We at Adgully caught up with brand custodians like Tarun Malik - Director of Media Solutions Center-South West Asia, Samsung Electronics, Harjeet Chabbra, CMO Adlabs Entertainment Ltd, Sanjay Tripathy, Senior EVP, Marketing, Product, Digital and Ecommerce, HDFC Life, Rukn Kizilbash, General Manager, WWE and Ajay Kakar, Birla Sunlife Insurance.

MaIik said, “I think it's definitely a great opportunity for the brands as there are any avenues available. Also we've just announced Club Samsung which is an entertainment app for which we are looking at joining hands with chain of lounges in the country. We are evaluating and speaking to relevant lounges which fit the brand. There are always opportunities' but being the premium brand we like to evaluate and cautious about where we are going. Same is the case with theme parks, it is a viable option though but it all depends upon how the brand optimises the opportunity.” 

Speaking about the brands that have come on board and grabbed this opportunity with Imagica, Chabbra said, “Globally most of the leading FMCG players use theme parks to engage with their audience in a fun way. In India however this hasn't started yet. While there are few F&B brands who understand how to drive brand engagement and product consumption at theme parks, others haven't yet explored it. From static branding to experiential marketing to owning rides basis their brand promise, the opportunities at the theme park are many and perhaps have a lasting impact. Families have enough time and are in a receptive frame of mind.”

When it comes to marketing every brand wants to be creative so when asked Chhabra about the creative opportunities the brands can get at a place like Adlabs Imagica, he said that it starts from the parking lot where the automobile guys can brand and even display their latest model. They can talk to families basis the cars that they drive in and engage to make a meaningful connect. There are luggage brands who can engage with the same family at the baggage counter by branding the luggage counter, luggage tags and tokens as well.

Kakar says, "Any marketer or brand chooses to follow where their audience is. We at Birla Sunlife choose to follow our relevant audience hence for our children plans i feel such partnerships are the most viable ones. With such partnerships a brand can reach out to their target audience directly and closely."

Apart from that, the brands can even have a window display of their latest product. Once inside, there are opportunities for brands to have static branding on pole kiosks, park benches, LED screens at the admission counter, waiting queues, restaurants etc. There are few indoor rides where advertisers can even play their ad films. The entire audience is captive at this point of time. “There are many more things that the brands can do at every themed ride basis their own brand personality. It’s perhaps the only space where the brands can personify themselves and engage with a wide audience over a period of time,” he added.

Tripathy opined, “Theme park advertising takes advantage of extended wait time. It includes a variety of both static and digital options. This media is a great way to reach active families in a fun environment. Generally it includes a media network option offering static, digital, radio, experiential and online marketing. Lakhs of visitors go to the parks annually thus will be able to see, hear and interact with the brand.”

Kizilbash said, “We at WWE are looking at expanding our merchandise in India and I feel partnering with a theme park is surely a great opportunity. It would make our product which is generally perceived as a premium one to reach to a large number of audiences and would help building a deeper connect with them. Undoubtedly this option and though is well perceived in international markets but looking at India’s acceptance and growth it will surely do wonders for Indian brands.”    

Adding further Tripathy said, “The digital TV network option is an arrangement of LCD TV screens with sound located in the waiting lines for park attractions. The average wait time for an amusement park ride is generally 30-60 minutes for popular rides making for an extremely captive audience. Other digital media options consist of menu board TVs and in-theater pre-show advertisement. Internationally the parks also offers two forms of kiosk advertising. The first, rotational billboards, similar to backlit mall kiosks – will have maps of the park on one side and scrolling advertisements on the other. The second, cool media interactive signage attracts patrons due to the cool air dispensing from the units. The wait to cool down makes the consumers more receptive to the advertisement.”

Other static amusement park advertising options include; street banners and pole signs, restroom signage and unique and prominent spaces, which allow a vinyl to be hung just about anywhere that there is an empty space.  

On the money part Chhabra said, “At this stage, it is more about co-creating excitement for the visitors. Brands can be woven in the activity in an effortless manner. The reach of the engagement can also be amplified using digital medium. It would be less expensive and more engaging than an activity at a mall for sure. Also the audience is in a happy frame of mind and is willing to accept and receive communication.”

The less traditional forms of amusement park advertising that brands can use are; high impact advertising units (stair advertising), area domination/park domination, attraction integration, game integration, VIP Sky Boxes, experiential marketing, product placement and sponsorships.

“Most of the upwardly mobile Indians are now exposed to international standards and expect nothing but the best. Brands are careful as any negative rub-off of the overall theme park experience will have an impact on the brand. But no doubt it is an exciting opportunity to reach family and thrill speaking audience and we will see many brands engaging with the captive audience at the theme parks in future,” Tripathy said while concluding.

Generally theme parks look at long term partnerships with huge upfront commitment from the brands. Internationally it is a proven model but in India theme parks are just emerging. The safety standards and experiences are not uniform so far and there is a long way to go before they come close to international standards thus it is a wait and a watch game.


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