Time: Why is Six Flags using a creepy old guy to attract kids?

Posted Friday, July 24, 2009 9:51 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Why, in the face of such serious challenges, would Six Flags respond by rolling out an ad campaign featuring a widely mocked character that the company's own chairman once said is "misguided" and "weakens the brand." Why, just when the stakes are at an all-time high, is a bankrupt company putting that creepy dancing old guy back on our TVs?

Read more from Time.

Friday, July 24, 2009 10:54 AM

While I'm not a huge fan of the ads, I can stomach them. It's those freaky Mr. Six masked characters that roam the parks that REALLY scare me. Those masks just don't look right.

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Friday, July 24, 2009 11:24 AM

I don't really see what the big deal is. If it had been an unsuccessful marketing campaign, it wouldn't be back on the air. It's like the guy that wrote this is like, "Hey Six Flags, I hate your commercial! I think it's creepy and polarizing and will keep people out of your parks!" To which Six Flags replied basically, "Well it's a shame you feel that way but our customers and our increasing attendance and revenue streams say otherwise. Kindly go soak your head."

Pointless article.

Last edited by BBSpeed26, Friday, July 24, 2009 11:24 AM
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Friday, July 24, 2009 1:52 PM

The real question is ... Why is TIME magazine turning into a tabloid? I know that they must sell issues, but come on... this discussion was already beaten to death back when the "Mr Six looks like a pedofile" crap was circulating. He is a mascot, and stirs "the pot" so of course its good for business.

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Friday, July 24, 2009 1:58 PM

Mr. Six is harmless. You want a creepy old guy? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZkrxoJY1Wo

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Friday, July 24, 2009 2:31 PM

"Unbiased" journalism at its finest.

Whether you hear the song or see Mr. Six, EVERYONE knows it's for Six Flags. It may or may not persuade you to part with your hard-earned entertainment dollar, but brand recognition is huge. Six Flags had it with the original ads. This Sean Gregory dude needs to do some research and realize how far his foot is in his mouth.

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Friday, July 24, 2009 2:51 PM

Here we go again. This isn't journalism, it's an opinion column.

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Friday, July 24, 2009 3:00 PM

What an annoying article. There are much better reasons to dis Six Flags than their mascot. Why couldn't he be a crybaby about ride operations or crappy, overpriced food instead?

And when a person thinks of Mr. Six as "creepy, they are probably feeling this way because of two main reason:

1. It has been suggested to them that he is creepy, and they can't think for themselves.

2. They are projecting something "creepy" from within onto the innocent elderly character. For some reason, they actually want him to be creepy.

As much as I dislike Six Flags, I really like Mr. Six. Have you seen the hottie who wears the mask? Does that make me creepy? :)

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Friday, July 24, 2009 3:37 PM

Nah...you were creepy before that. ;)

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Friday, July 24, 2009 8:10 PM

Did somebody mention pedophiles?

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Friday, July 24, 2009 9:28 PM

Maybe we are all missing the point of the marketing angle... we will all be aged like Mr Six waiting for Kingda Ka to run reliably for one full season. LOL

As far as the creepy angle... I see Mr Six as a jubilant elderly gentleman. To me he shows that people from all walks of life can find fun at Six Flags.

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Friday, July 24, 2009 10:50 PM

You can add me to the "creepy" column.

Last edited by tambo, Saturday, July 25, 2009 2:24 PM
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Saturday, July 25, 2009 12:24 AM

I think the writer and his advertising blogger friends are the ones missing the point. A Six Flags commercial that isn't set inside a theme park-- terrible? Maybe it shows brand recognition. People don't need to see a clip of a coaster whizzing by-- once they see Mr. Six, they already made the association. Isn't that the entire goal of advertising?

I'm always amazed at all these supposedly fantastic commercials the experts rave about the day after the Super Bowl. Sure they have great effects, humorous situations, celebrity appearances-- but for the most part, I can't remember what product they were trying to sell. There's no problem with that and Mr. Six.

For the record, I don't think he's creepy, and he's not being used to attract only kids.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009 1:06 AM

"and he's not being used to attract only kids"

BINGO! You never cease to amaze me, Bear.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009 9:13 AM

LOL, Mr Six has been around for how long and now Time see's him????

Not very, err, TIMELY on this...

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Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:15 AM

RGB: I think you're definitely on to something there. One of the things that the Internet and its measurability have done is cause a lot of marketers to forget what a brand is. Everyone wants action right now as a gauge for whether or not the advertising is successful, and that's stupid. It's not like you see a car ad and thinkg, "OMG I need that right now!"

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Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:58 AM

Is everyone forgetting the original guy who stated, "Six Flags, More Flags, More Fun!"? Well remember when they had the screaming Asian on the commercials and then everyone got in an uproar about how Six Flags is stereotyping all Asians to sound like him?

It doesn't matter what Six Flags puts on the table, people will always have something to say. Yeah, I think they need flat rides, their parks are a little outdated, the food is expensive, staffing is an issue, and they take out more rides then they put in but this guy makes me really happy! I was so excited to see him back on the screen and in the park.

It's a very untraditional mascot for a theme park, but they still have Bugs Bunny and all the Looney Tunes characters which I think they should incorporate them in the commercials with Mr. Six.

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Monday, July 27, 2009 1:06 PM

The image works:

  • Old guy dancing like a kid again.
  • Rejuvenation
  • Letting loose in a tuxedo.
  • Elderly authority figures capitulating to fun.
  • "We Like to Pahwty"

For the first time, when I walked into the park, I felt like Six Flags had a solid brand. They played the music, Mr. Six greeted me. Wow. Ad dollars paying off.

To erase any notion of pedophilia, simply have Mr. Six dancing alongside a set of mainstream parents-- a mom and a dad.

Also, they could add a random sidekick character for Mr. Six- a spiked blowfish, a spatula or a mummy.

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