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GSD&M Re-creates Kids' Memories for SeaWorld

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Reminding parents of the importance of children's vacations with nostalgic footage of trips to SeaWorld is the hook in GSD&M's new campaign for the theme park.

Two 30-second TV spots break nationwide next week on prime-time family fare.

The "Childhood" series departs from SeaWorld's previous ads, which showcased all the activities at the park.

"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 SeaWorld parent Busch Entertainment Corp.

The tagless spots, set to Cats Stevens' song "The Wind," show children at the park watching a show by Shamu the killer whale, petting dolphins and taking roller-coaster rides.

The words "Child hood lasts ap proximately 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 and group account director.

The Austin, Texas, shop produces creative for several SeaWorld parks. The account 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, which is set in the 1960s. "The song anchors you in those memories and takes you back to that time," Perry said.

SeaWorld's television commercials typically center around music and contain barely any dialogue. Past spots had an upbeat feel with the song "What I Like About You" by The Romantics.

Busch Entertainment spent$17 million in the first eleven months of last year marketing its SeaWorld theme parks, according to Competitive Media Reporting. In 1999, advertising expenditures amounted to $15 million.