CAMPAIGNS: Judge and Jury; Legoland builds launch success on childhood

Legoland got its launch strategy just right by allowing the media to roam freely which ensured the right sort of coverage without the need for a glitzy opening, says James Bidwell, head of marketing for Segaworld

Legoland got its launch strategy just right by allowing the media to

roam freely which ensured the right sort of coverage without the need

for a glitzy opening, says James Bidwell, head of marketing for

Segaworld



I wonder if Walt Disney could have ever imagined what he was starting

when, in 1955, he created the world’s first ever theme park in Anaheim

California. Now, over 40 years later, more than 11 million people in the

UK visit theme parks each year and this basic premise remains - the

theme park experience is designed to transport the visitor away from

their everyday routine.



Legoland, which opened on 28 March, is no exception.



Born from a brand with huge heritage and a unique place in the hearts of

the British public and confident that the park could survive even the

severest scrutiny, Legoland successfully allowed the concept to sell

itself. It resisted the temptation of a glitzy, theatrical opening in

favour of giving the media a free rein to relive their childhood by

discovering the park for themselves.



The fact that ‘the children themselves’ opened Legoland firmly

identifies the core target market, and the reactions of the kids was

well documented. Many of the journalists invited to the opening took

their families and their reactions counted for much of the coverage.

Legoland is an extremely visual theme park with some dramatic photo

opportunities. There were some powerful images picked up by both

broadcast and print media, who were allowed to roam free rather than be

shepherded by eager PR people.



The press day itself was the culmination of many months of marketing

ground work and it is this strategic effort which has produced sustained

and measured coverage of Legoland, building not only awareness but also

an understanding of the product’s essence. Much of the launch coverage

focused on the high demand for tickets which clearly encourages advance

bookings and creates a ‘must see’ buzz about the place.



What is now important is to sustain this positive buzz. In marketing

terms I imagine promotions and a heavier advertising campaign will

follow as required to plug in the gaps during the summer season.



The acid test however will be the public’s assessment of the Legoland

experience, coupled with their perception of its value which will

generate word of mouth. Marketing can encourage this, but the bottom

line is whether the product delivers in the eyes of its public. I hope

it does.



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