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Knott’s Ready for Primetime With Outdoor Media Blitz: Suissa Miller Bows Huge Billboard Campaign in ‘Little Guy’s Attempt’ to Compete With Big Guys By Kathy Tyre

LOS ANGELES – With tourism revenues expected to fal

Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, Calif., will wrap the Southland with the largest Southern California outdoor media buy in 10 years, according to the record books at Patrick Media. Roughly 1,300 Knott’s boards will go up over the next two weeks, at an estimated cost of $5-7 million.
The campaign, Knott’s first since hiring Santa Monica, Calif.-based agency Suissa Miller, is what SM president David Suissa calls a ‘little guy’s attempt’ to compete with the big guys. The outdoor ads, backed by TV and radio, use park-goers’ humorous reactions to Knott’s to send a message about the park, rather than the individual attractions.
Knott’s strategy comes as Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, the market’s two largest attractions, turn their big marketing guns on the local market, turf Knott’s and Magic Mountain had, until now, owned.
‘The last three years, because of the economy, have been incredibly competitive,’ said Janice Sunday, account supervisor handling Valencia, Calif.-based Magic Mountain at Stranger & Associates/L.A. ‘Disney never used to discount their admissions; they have for the last two years, and Universal has reacted in the same way. There are a lot of promotions out there.’
The ad strategy for Magic Mountain, which spends an estimated $3-4 million, goes head to head with the ‘battle of the attractions’ approach that Disney and Universal are known for. The park’s been active on TV since March 15 with a campaign themed, ‘You’ll Get the Ride of Your Life.’ New spots will break later this month.
In June, Universal will break a major, multi-media ad campaign for its Back to the Future Ride, a $60-million attraction. Media buying, an estimated $9-12 million per year, is handled by DDB Needham/L.A., and Seiniger Advertising/L.A. handles creative.
Disneyland appears to be sticking to its usual print and TV strategy for its estimated $12-million campaign, along with new advertising for the multi-million-dollar Mickey’s Toontown attraction. Disney’s ads are created in-house; Western buys media.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)