Park Targets Parents

Nostalgic footage of family trips intended to remind parents of the lasting impact of those vacations forms the heart of a new campaign for Busch Entertainment’s SeaWorld from GSD&M.

Two 30-second TV spots break next week in prime time.

The “Childhood” campaign is a departure from SeaWorld’s past ads, which focused more on the activities at the parks. “We have gone from ‘here is all the things you can do’ to ‘here is all the things you can feel,'” said Mike LaBroad, vice president of marketing for Busch Entertainment in St. Louis.

The tagless spots are set to the Cats Stevens song “The Wind,” and show children at the park watching a show by Shamu the killer whale, petting dolphins and taking rides on roller coasters.

The words “Childhood lasts approximately 4,320 days,” flash on the screen followed by “Which ones will your child remember?”

“We wanted to connect with parents to remind them how vacations create childhood memories,” said John Perry, GSD&M’s vice president, group account director.

The Austin, Texas, shop handles creative for several SeaWorld Parks, which is split with DDB Chicago.

The music in the spots is crucial to the memory message, Perry said. “The Wind” is also featured in the movie Almost Famous set in the 1970s. “The song anchors you in those memories and takes you back to that time,” Perry said.

Busch Entertainment spent $17 million in the first 11 months of last year marketing its SeaWorld Parks, per Competitive Media Reporting.

LaBroad said work for Busch Gardens from DDB is set for June.