by Judith Rubin, IPM editor (with Joe Kleiman)
ABOVE: D23 Expo. Paul Morse/copyright Disney.
Visitor attractions have proven themselves a valuable space for IP-branded characters and experiences that today – thanks to state-of-the-art digital tools and creative storytelling – jump successfully and seamlessly from one platform to another.
There are clear incentives to license an IP for an attraction. An established IP brings with it marketing power and an existing, loyal fan base. Beloved characters and familiar story elements ensure a level of recognition and comfort on the part of the guest. And an IP fan community that gives its approval to an experience is more than willing to share the excitement and spread the word.
Just as the digital world we now live in helps to extend the reach of brands and IP, it has facilitated dialog between owners and operators and their guests. Fan communities are a big part of the guest population at theme parks and visitor attractions. Today, fans’ voices are stronger and clearer than ever, with myriad open channels for discussion and feedback on guest experiences. In turn, operators can share new developments directly with fans, and creatives can reap recognition through social networking activity and large, fan-fueled events such as the D23 Expo and Comic-Con.
Today’s branded experiences are created and evaluated in an environment in which there is intense pressure to get it right, but also a lot of information to help reach that goal. Everyone’s in it together – including the fans – and when the experience is a success, everybody wins.