Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Hersheypark 2008

We've reached the final chapter in our monthlong journey through my Hersheypark brochure collection. When we last parted ways, the year was 1989 and the "park that chocolate built" had only three operating roller coasters to its name. Fast forward to 2008. A shiny new scream machine was about to make its debut, and it would do so as Hershey's ELEVENTH coaster. That's hot.

I wasn't kidding! Hersheypark kicked off its 101st season of operation by inviting guests to "Heat Up with Fahrenheit". This coaster's beyond vertical first drop remains among the steepest in the country and earned it the signature slogan "97 degrees and falling fast". (A catchy slogan for sure, although "Drop it like it's hot" also seems appropriate.) This Intamin thriller was the fourth new coaster to make an appearance at Hershey in the '00s alone. Talk about making up for lost time!

Those who couldn't stand the heat had the option to "Cool Down with the Boardwalk" instead. You might say that this long overdue water park really made a splash when it first opened during the park's centennial season in 2007. [Am I out of control with the wordplay already? Wow. It's way too early in the post for that to be happening.]

I love me some wicked cool concept art. I also love me some puzzles, which is part of the reason why I so enjoyed the viral marketing campaign that Hershey's creative team executed in conjunction with the announcement of Fahrenheit. Remember? That notorious little ARG known as "The Nantimi Project"? The one that spawned a whole new era of viral marketing tactics within the industry? These guys were the trendsetters. Often imitated, never duplicated.

Hersheypark wasn't content simply to remain "happy". It had to go and morph itself into "too much happy for just one day". I think that comes with the territory of having a water park, although there have always been enough activities in and around Hersheypark to justify a multi-day visit. Two of them--ZooAmerica and Chocolate World--are highlighted here, along with a detailed description of that "too hot to handle" new roller coaster and that "too cold to hold" semi-new water park. [Sorry...I just can't help myself!]

Something about the "#1" ranking advertised here rang a bell, and then it hit me: This is the same TripAdvisor accolade that was referenced in a 2008 Family Kingdom brochure I featured earlier this year. Boy, that thing really made its rounds! (For the record, Family Kingdom came in at #5.) I find it somewhat odd that two parks as different as these would use the same measuring stick for their success, but I suppose any kind of "top 10" ranking is a selling point. Anyway, beneath that banner is one of the attractions which most likely contributed to Hershey's #1 ranking. It's called East Coast Waterworks, and it's touted as the largest water play structure in the world.

Before we move on, I'd like to point out the impressive amount of self-control that I exercised in not clipping the promotional coupon that appears in the lower right-hand corner. I'm all about saving money, but not if it comes at the expense of compromising a precious work of paper art.

Over the past few weeks, we've seen Hersheypark make the transition from the "Summer Playground of Pennsylvania" to a full-fledged, well-established theme park. With that mission accomplished, the marketing tactics have changed a bit. Gone are the ride-heavy brochures of years past, replaced by literature that emphasizes Hershey's status as a "year-round, world-class resort destination". While I personally wouldn't mind seeing a few (dozen) more ride photos in this brochure, I can certainly understand the reasoning. After all, there is no shortage of things to do in Hershey. Just ask the former CEO of Nantimi, who has covered many of them in his Hersheypark Hits the Road blog!

Not only is Hersheypark too much happy for just one day, it's also too much happy for just one season. The park's Halloween, Christmas, and spring preview events have been providing a quick fix for the off-season blues since 1995, 1983, and 2000, respectively.

I guess we can't cry over admission fees this week, as ticket prices aren't listed. I can promise you that they were a bit more expensive than the $17.95 of the late '80s, but that's what 8 additional roller coasters and a water park will do for you! I suppose that's only fair.

Well, much as I hate to bid adieu to my beloved Hershey, I'm afraid this brings us to the end of our Hersheypark brochure series. I hope you've enjoyed the stroll down memory lane as much as I have. You've come a long way, Hersheypark!