Merlin Entertainments Group/PR Case Study
Merlin Entertainment Group is one of the largest and most successful theme park and attraction companies in the world, second only to Disney worldwide. Merlin owns and operates 87 different attraction sites in 19 countries across four continents. Merlin announced plans to build a SEA LIFE Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Crown Center Plaza in Kansas City. INK was hired by Merlin to handle all media and press relations leading up to the opening of the attractions.
INK and Merlin’s shared objective was to make families and other potential visitors of the new parks aware of the exciting opportunities the attractions had to offer. The best way to do that would be to create a strategy that involved local and regional coverage media coverage on planned creative events leading up to the Grand Opening of both venues.
This case presented a challenge in the fact that the parks were not yet open, and very little visual material was available for the press since construction was underway. This meant that INK had to get really creative when it came to getting the media interested in the story.
Merlin Entertainments experienced a very successful partnership with INK as we launched both of our attractions to the Kansas City and Regional markets. As Merlin Entertainments has over 100 attractions worldwide, the media campaign INK put together for us has been held up as the “textbook” example. Their level of service and performance is impeccable. – Rosemary Waters
INK used a strategically planned mix of local and national media as well as special events leading up to the opening to draw attention. One of these events involved bringing a front-end loader to dump 20,000 LEGO bricks as part of the LEGOLAND Discover Center groundbreaking. Other tactics used to promote the parks included “K-Sea” day as declared by Kansas City Mayor Sly James and a reality-show type competition called “Brick Factor” to select LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s Master Model Builder.
In a new partnership with KCPT, we invited student high school journalists to cover the arrival of the fish at the SeaLife aquarium as part of a high school journalism competition. We invited one local TV station to use its news helicopter to “track” the semi-truck bringing sharks to the aquarium for the first time.
Our efforts on behalf of LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Aquarium resulted in more than 600 individual news stories in Kansas City, Joplin, Wichita, Oklahoma City, and beyond. More than half of those stories were on local television: the medium INK and Merlin identified as a priority.
Many of our media efforts encouraged the public to visit each venue’s Facebook page where several contests and polls were hosted. Both venues now have more than 13,000 Facebook fans: the most of any other Merlin-owned venue in the U.S.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Marketing Manager, Mendy Rose reported that ticket sales in the two weeks following the opening were TWICE what had been projected.
600+ Local News Stories
More than 600 local and regional news stories
13,000+ New Followers
13,000+ SEA LIFE and LEGOLAND Facebook fans, more than any other Merlin-owned venue in the country
2x Ticket Sales
Ticket sales in two weeks following opening were twice what had been projected
When the second largest attraction company in the world needed media attention surrounding the opening of two new Kansas City parks, INK was able to get the job done. Through several successful events and hundreds of hits in local print and broadcast media, INK and Merlin were able to achieve the excitement they were hoping for from their audience.