Case Study: How Six Flags Used a Multimedia News Release to Generate 40 Million views of Its New Video



Overview

Six Flags Magic Mountain is a theme park based in Los Angeles, California. The theme park has been in operation for more than 45 years and is world famous for offering thrill seekers a plethora of adventure options. On May 13 2006, Six Flags launched the TATSU roller coaster, a “flying beast”, soaring in the record books as the tallest, fastest and longest flying coaster on earth.
Riders fly at speeds in excess of 62 miles-per-hour through a series of plunges, huge sweeping spirals, stomach wrenching loops and sharp dives, high speed banked curves all deliberately designed to enhance the ultimate sensation of flight.  The two-minute flight faces a dramatic 263-foot change in elevation from its highest peak to inches off the ground, and spans four separate areas of the Park. 
The challenge for Six Flags was how to communicate the thrill of the ride to its target audience in a way that would incite curiosity and create ‘buzz’ around the exciting launch, as well as stimulate interest from the media.

Challenge
Six Flags aimed to generate widespread top-of-mind consumer awareness for TATSU through an integrated broadcast and multi-media publicity campaign.

The aim was to promote the roller coaster as a major new “thrill” ride and a unique ‘flying’ experience, and to reinforce the message that the Tatsu set a new Guinness World Record as the longest, fastest and tallest flying coaster in the world. A secondary message would be to convey that the Magic Mountain theme park has the most roller coasters in one Park.

In addition, Six Flags wanted to further develop its identity as the undisputed thrill capital of the world.

In terms of publicity, Six Flags aimed to build momentum from the announcement of the construction of the TATSU through to the official opening, and then to sustain the momentum during the year through multiple publicity opportunities and events.

The outcome of the media program would be to achieve a high level of national and regional media coverage, in television, radio, print and online media forms.

Solution
In order to portray the thrill of the ride and convey it most effectively to the target audience, Six Flags needed to use a visual medium. They chose to work with MultiVu, a PR Newswire company, to develop a range of digital broadcast materials that could be employed for a variety of uses. 

The broadcast media campaign targeted regional, national and select international media, and utilized various distribution vehicles such as satellite feeds, digital video distribution, MPEG2 video downloads and a webcast.

Tactics
Creating the Video News Release for the launch included producing comprehensive B-roll video footage of the roller coaster, including ‘on-the-ride’ point of view and ‘reverse point-of-view’ video.  This video allowed television stations the opportunity to broadcast the ride as shown from the point-of-view of the rider, creating a feeling of actually ‘being there’.  Soundbites with the video included a first hand account of the ride by space shuttle astronaut Rick Searfoss as well as other roller coaster enthusiasts.

For the day of the coaster launch, Six Flags employed a multi-camera switched video package to capture the press conference, inaugural launch of Tatsu from a number of different angles and perspectives, soundbites, on-the-ride footage and helicopter aerial footage in a complete VNR/B-roll package.

This footage, along with high-resolution photos and extended footage of the CEO’s presentation at the press conference were packaged into a Multimedia News Release and sent out to the media via PR Newswire’s network.

The video was also made available on Six Flags website immediately following the press event.

Results

Television - 827 Airings, with a total viewership of 40,389,599 and a total value of $2,894,000.

National television hits included ABC (Good Morning America) (Ran b-roll), CBS (Entertainment Tonight), Telemundo (national evening news), Univision (national evening news), NBC (Extra, Inside Edition), E!, MT and VH1. The TATSU also featured on a number of local TV stations, both in the LA area and nationally.

The result was an enormously successful launch for TATSU – the longest, fastest and tallest flying coaster in the world.

 

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