Kennywood to expand sponsorships

Posted | Contributed by Lord Gonchar

When the people in Kennywood's marketing department talk about the "wide demographic" of the visitors to the park, they aren't talking about those who have eaten too often at the Potato Patch. They are talking about what everyone who has ever been to the West Mifflin amusement park intuitively knows to be true: Kennywood attracts visitors from wide ranges of ages and socio-economic groups. In other words, the place is an advertiser's dream.

Read more from The Post-Gazette.

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From the article:

So are we going to see the New York Stock Exchange Pitt Fall?

"People might be afraid to get on a New York Stock Exchange ride,"said Stephen Wayhart, of Carnegie-based BrandMill, which is exploringsome of the opportunities.

Hahahahahaha . . . My only fear is the ride wouldn't stop when it got to the ground, but keep plunging into the depths of the very Earth itself.

My author website:

eightdotthree's avatar

Granted there were already sponsorships in place, but is this the beginning of the end for the sweet, charming Kennywood or will we even notice it? If the Potato Patch signs get replaced with Ore Ida's Potato Patch I will be annoyed, however if there are signs in the kitchen that say made with Ore Ida potatoes I will be much more tolerant. I just don't want to see it turn into Six Flags.

I see it being like how Verizon has sponsors PR. Its very subtle, and tastefully done. I also don't see the new ownership bastardizing the charm of the park. Thats mainly Kennywood's niche and what makes it so special.

Weight lost to ride more coasters......90lbs

What a light-hearted little article! The tone might make one wonder if it's serious at all...

All I can think of when this issue arises is the Nestea Plunge that turned up a number of years back on log rides across the country.

^ That one worked well. It was many years of calling the Mill Race at Cedar Point Nestea Plunge before I realized that it was no longer called that.


You have disturbed the forbidden temple, now-you-will-pay!!!

Lord Gonchar's avatar

eightdotthree said:
I just don't want to see it turn into Six Flags.

Ouch. It only took two posts. :(

Truth is, the advertising at SF parks isn't much different than how any of the parks that do it...and pretty soon more parks will than won't if it isn't that way already.

WDW was the absolute worst for forcing advertising made some of these other parks seem downright quaint and conservative in their approach.

Maybe if places like CLP used this approach they'd be able to keep the doors open?

eightdotthree's avatar

Maybe. But push it too far at a place like Kennywood and that nice non-corporate, friendly experience starts to twiddle away. Pretty soon that new owner with a west coast operations office maybe doesn't understand the local culture and wants McDonalds to sponsor the Potato Patch and Huntz as the ketchup vendor. It's just ketchup they will say!

I don't have an issue with sponsors, I just don't need Ben & Jerry's, Papa John's etc to come in and turn it into just any old place.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Or even Taco Bell. Wouldn't want to go turning Kennywood into a big ol' taco stand, would we? ;)

LostKause's avatar

Change is scary. I have grown used to Kennywood's charm (oops. I don't think that we're allowed to say that word anymore here). How much ad revinue at these parks really goes into making the park experience more enjoyable and how much of it goes into the pockets of the big shots? Don't most GM's get a nice bonus at the end of the fiscal year if revinue is made.

Sometimes I think that Gonch takes one side over the other just to create artificial controversy. There's not too many people in this world who are entusiastic about opening up their mind to a bombardment of advertisments.

Why comprimise the park experience? I'm sure Kennywood is profitable already, without such a drastic change.

I'll take McDonald's fries over Potato Patch fries anyday! :)

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
Sometimes I think that Gonch takes one side over the other just to create artificial controversy. .

Sometimes I think you go out of your way to try to find the bad in what I say...

...perhaps even to stir up artificial controversy. ;)

I don't think I took a side.

I said:

  • it's not that bad at SF (at least as bad as they seem to have a rep for with enthusiasts)
  • it's totally in your face at Disney - worse than any park I've been to
  • I believe this is going to be a regular thing with most parks (been saying that for ages and it seems to be true)
  • that for some parks that were forced to close (like CLP) this kind of revenue could mean the difference...and that's a good thing.

Not sure where I was enthusiastic about in-park advertising it either...beyond my general interest in such business-type things.

Change is scary.

Yeah, that seems to be the narrow-minded battle cry. Unfortunately, you missed your chance to jump on the trolley and ride the carousel for a nickel - we're closing in on 2010.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,

Amusement parks have been advertising corporate sponsors since before the World's Fairs. However, that doesn't mean I'm not going to drop the next goon by Magnum that tries to put me in a time-share.

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LostKause's avatar

Didn't mean to offend, Gonch. It's probably just me, but it seems that you read my mind and take the opposing view, sometime before I've even said anything.

I am always weary of what the future may hold. Change will always be a little scary to some people. In saying that, I don't mean that we should oppose every change that comes, but shouldn't we look forward and try to figure out how the change will affect us, good or bad?

I don't know why, but Disney seems to advertise in a much less obtrusive way. It would be interesting to figure out why advertising at a Disney park doesn't hurt my eyes and brain as bad as it does at other parks.

EPCOT, however, goes way overboard in some areas. Don't these companies pay for the attractions to be built in the first place or am I mistaking?

And if they do, then I added more morter to your brick house, by helping your argument. (Not that it needed my help in the first place.) ;)

Lord Gonchar's avatar

LostKause said:
EPCOT, however, goes way overboard in some areas.

And that's the park that really comes to mind.

The most ridiculous was a 4-5 minute Kodak commercial that you have to watch as part of the 'pre-show' to Honey I Shrunk The Audience. It sticks out like a long, boring sore thumb and has nothing to do with the attraction.

Second most obvious is exiting Test Track through what is essentially a GM showroom. At least the new Camaro is sweet and they show it in this crazy blue color.

Disney is able to pull it off for the most part because people love the characters they're selling. It's a two way street, at home the movies/products/characters sell the park and in the park the attractions featuring those movies/products/characters sell the merchandise at home. And the in places where that synergy doesn't exist (mostly Epcot) the extraneous advertising is really obvious and in your face.

Disney isn't just in-park advertising, it's an interactive commercial that you pay to visit. :)

Raven-Phile's avatar

Oddly enough - epcot is my favorite place in the whole wide world, and I visit WDW at least once a year if not more, yet I DVR everything on TV to fast forward through commercials. :-D

rollergator's avatar

Raven-Phile said:Or even Taco Bell. Wouldn't want to go turning Kennywood into a big ol' taco stand, would we? ;)

Out of respect to Mary Lou Rosemeyer (other thread) - I have decided to post this here instead: KW's incoming PR rep...

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Yeah I hear he's from Beverly Hills......................

eightdotthree's avatar

Epcot is bad, and for me it does degrade the experience. But for the other parks the marketing is for their IP and that is essentially what you are going there for.

For Six Flags or Cedar Fair to put in a Papa Johns pizza stand or Sub Way, then charge more than what you would pay outside the park annoys me. I don't want Kennywood to go that low. That's all I am saying. If the new ownership doesn't respect the local culture the park could quickly head downhill.

Jeff's avatar

I don't recall the marketing or sponsorships in Epcot to be bad anywhere. Each pavilion has a "sponsored by" sign out front, but what is there beyond that and the Siemens messaging for Illuminations?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

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