Ad agencies for ride parks have ups and downs

Posted Monday, March 31, 2008 10:07 PM | Contributed by Gemini

If there's a tug of war between the video game industry and amusement park operators, it should start heating up again as temperatures warm across the nation, bringing many of the latter out of hibernation and back into the fray for the attention of teens and families.

Read more from The Post-Gazette.

Monday, March 31, 2008 10:54 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Wow this article covers everything we talk about everytime the 'business' discussion comes up.
  • Amusement Parks compete with other forms of entertainment.
  • Regional parks draw a vast majority of their visitors locally.
  • The difference in audience - and their relative numbers.
  • Branding is important.

This article has it all! (and it shows how spot on some people who post around here are with their ideas :) )

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 9:44 AM
eightdotthree's avatar


Technology allows video of a yellow roller coaster in one park to become an appropriately red coaster for another. Distinctive shots can be interspersed with more generic material.

For the nerds who complain when a shot of a ride is not an actual ride at the park. :)

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 2:57 PM
rollergator's avatar ^^This article has it all! (and it shows how spot on some people who post around here are with their ideas )

Great....now how do we get HIRED to do this? ;)

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 3:00 PM
Olsor's avatar Good article! It's funny how the storyline about amusement parks 15-20 years ago was whether virtual-reality rides would eventually replace coasters. Now the storyline is about whether kids prefer to socialize online (on social networking sites or while gaming) instead of going out to amusement parks.

The industry seems to have this battle every time a new technology comes out. Radio, movies, TV, cars, video games, etc. I think the biggest hurdle the industry faces is its pricing. I remember getting tickets to SFGAM for $20 back in the late '80s. Now the admission is more than twice as much, but am I having twice as much fun when I go? Nope. The cost of what goes into a park seems to have outgained the worth of a day at the park, at least regionally.

The weird thing is, I think admission prices have increased as would be reasonably expected with inflation. It's just the wealth of other recreation options available, as the article points out. Sadly, Call of Duty 4 tells me that I've played the game for well over 72 hours at this point. Not bad, considering I paid $60 for the game. Contrast that with around $75 dropped for 10 or so hours at a park.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 3:10 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Great....now how do we get HIRED to do this?

I dunno, Gator, but I say we make a pact. If one of us gets in, he helps the rest follow. :)

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 3:20 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Olsor said:
I remember getting tickets to SFGAM for $20 back in the late '80s. Now the admission is more than twice as much, but am I having twice as much fun when I go? Nope.

That's only because you're of an age to have a baseline for comparison.

For example someone of your current age in the 80's would be saying, "I remember when it was just $10 for a ticket - now it's twice as much and I'm not having twice the fun."

On the flip side are the youth of today who only know the $40 price. In twenty years they'll be the ones saying, "I remember when it was $40 to get in here - now it's twice as much and I'm not having twice the fun."

You get the idea. It's something I like to refer to as 'getting old' ;)


Call of Duty 4 tells me that I've played the game for well over 72 hours at this point. Not bad, considering I paid $60 for the game. Contrast that with around $75 dropped for 10 or so hours at a park.

Weird. I was just having a conversation about how much entertainment a price point buys after my son spent a couple hours with a Hot Wheels track before proclaiming he was bored. At first I was like, "What the hell?" and then I realized the thing was $10. In this day and age, a couple of hours of fun for $10 is a pretty good deal.

Not sure if I have a point. It would be fun to run down the cost-per-hour of things.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 3:34 PM
eightdotthree's avatar


Call of Duty 4 tells me that I've played the game for well over 72 hours at this point. Not bad, considering I paid $60 for the game. Contrast that with around $75 dropped for 10 or so hours at a park.

And thats the job marketers have to do, convince kids they need to go to an amusement park and stop playing Halo 3, Call of Duty 4 or World of Warcraft for a day. The parents are probably easy at this point, they want their pale kids to spend some time outside!

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 4:26 PM
rollergator's avatar ^^To take the ticket-price *in context*, you need to compare increases in ticket prices to the general Cost of Living Indices. How much have wages increased since the 80s? What about the cost of a gallon of milk, a price of bread, or movie tickets? How about the price of video games? ;)

In general, the numbers themselves are meaningless without proper context.

The weird thing about "right now" is that the absurdly-fast rise in gas prices (and almost everything else since we only seem to transport goods over the highways) may have a real dampening effect on consumer discretionary spending this summer. THAT would put the bite on amusement parks. People just aren't too optimistic about the economy....

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008 4:37 PM
eightdotthree's avatar Its just not inflation, its how many rides they now have to support and what new taxes do they have to deal with.
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Friday, April 4, 2008 12:33 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar ^^Actually, I don't think cost of living has anything to do with amusement park pricing. Cost of living indices are usually reserved for, well, the cost to live or said another way, the necessities in life.

Amusement price points do not fall into that category in my opinion. In that case it is just good old fashioned economics. What will someone be willing to pay for what they receive in return? If the attendance data doesn't suggest a pricing problem, then why would they change it?

On a purely subjective note, I'm not so sure that the increased gas prices will have that much of an effect on leisurely travel this summer. We have been talking about fuel economy since 2001 (and before I'm sure) and I don't see much of a change in general behavior. Again, purely subjective reasoning based on the number of SUVs I see on the road and the fact that nowadays many do not appear to make behavior changes for fiscal reasons. They just go further into debt.

But regardless, doesn't the gas challenge just provide another opportunity for creative marketing and services? "The first 50 guests through the gate get a free gas card." "We now offer free shuttle service to and from the surrounding communities."

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