Maintaining Summer Fun amid a Theme Park Bankruptcy
In the spring of 2009, the prospects of another banner summer for a prestigious chain of theme parks began to dim when the possibility of a bankruptcy filing was discovered by a blogger in a routine financial filing. While families across the country planned their summer activities, questions abounded as to whether the parks’ doors would remain open. At the same time, accusations that the company attempted to “bury” the bad financial news permeated both traditional media and numerous blogs catering to theme park enthusiasts and financial news audiences.
The concern was that public misperception could cripple ticket sales amid confusion over new attractions, season passes, and investments in safety measures.
In an industry where ticket sales are driven online, and thousands of fans converse about their experiences, an aggressive social and digital media campaign was absolutely essential. The CEO held “blogger only” conference calls that won positive stories, not only about the future of the parks, but also about how well the company was managed.
A potentially devastating threat to the brand was eliminated even as a cadre of supporters continued to grow. The substantial good will persisted well beyond the reorganization.