Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The march of the tie-ins

SeaWorld jumps on a movie's bandwagon, hoping to capitalize on all things penguin

With their quaint, rolling gait and always impeccable black-and-white attire, SeaWorld's penguins are the quintessence of cute.

But how are they as marketing partners?

The San Diego marine theme park will find out in June when Sony Pictures Animation releases its computer-animated movie “Surf's Up,” with more than a dozen corporate partners to help promote it with product tie-ins. SeaWorld will brand its penguin exhibit with the film's theme this summer.

SeaWorld entered into an “asset exchange” agreement with Sony rather than a straight licensing agreement, said John Sartorius, vice president of retail marketing for SeaWorld's St. Louis-based parent company, Busch Entertainment Corporation.

As part of the tie-in, SeaWorld will run “Surf's Up” movie trailers in the park, offer penguin-themed toys and merchandise, and participate in a “Win a Trip to SeaWorld” sweepstakes. SeaWorld will also take some of its penguins on the road, attending media events to promote the movie as well as the film's premiere in Los Angeles.

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