Effort: Shamu Across America
Twist: Expanding on last year's initial grass-roots effort to promote Anheuser-Busch Cos.-owned SeaWorld's three marine theme parks, a fleet of 13 Volkswagen Beetles customized to resemble SeaWorld's famous Shamu the Killer Whale are zooming across the U.S. This year, they will also go to the U.K. and Puerto Rico. Marketing teams consisting of the vehicles and SeaWorld employees set out Feb. 7, and this week conclude a tour of 40 U.S. markets before heading to Europe.
Vital statistics: Local radio promotions back the tour at public events. At elementary schools, SeaWorld performers conduct mock "animal trainer tryouts," demonstrating the fitness and skills needed to become an animal trainer and encouraging kids to visit the company's parks in San Diego, Orlando, Fla., and San Antonio, Tex. The Shamu-shaped cars are now in demand for parades and festivals, says SeaWorld, and private owners have adopted 17 in local markets, where they serve as rolling promotions year-round.