Chrysler, Six Flags Renew Partnership

Automaker Will Attempt to Engage Park Visitors on Many Fronts

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Chrysler is driving back into Six Flags Theme Parks this summer in what's being billed as the amusement-park operator's most comprehensive deal ever with an automaker.
Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles will be displayed prominently at 10 Six Flags parks across the country this summer.
Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles will be displayed prominently at 10 Six Flags parks across the country this summer.

The automaker's Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles will be displayed prominently at 10 Six Flags parks across the country this summer, and more sites will be added next year. Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles become the Official Vehicles of Six Flags Theme Parks.

'Interactive' showcase
"We are bringing our Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles directly to consumers," said Chrysler's Deborah Meyer, VP-chief marketing officer. "With approximately 25 million people visiting Six Flags Theme Parks each year, this is a great opportunity to showcase our products and to strategically engage consumers in a fun and interactive way."

Chrysler has been looking at new ways to reach prospects under Ms. Meyer, who arrived 10 months ago from Toyota Motor Sales USA.

The new deal is broader than any of Chrysler's past efforts with Six Flags and the most comprehensive auto partnership for the theme-park owner, said a spokeswoman there. Chrysler also bought a package on Six Flags Media Networks, an in-park platform with TV, radio, billboards, online and experiential marketing.

Chrysler also gets consumer research, including direct feedback from park visitors, a spokeswoman at the automaker said. Product specialists will be on hand to discuss features of the vehicles. Both parties will send mailings to customers in their databases.

Promotions aplenty
Also included are special events and promotions, including test drives and sweepstakes, at various parks throughout the summer. All 10 parks will participate in a Fourth of July celebration featuring fireworks sponsored by the new 2009 Dodge Journey.

Chrysler first teamed with Six Flags in 1996, but let its partnership lapse several years ago. The earlier efforts centered on owner-relationship programs with the automaker that allowed its dealers to invite Chrysler-Plymouth minivan owners to special, closed family nights with free rides at parks in six states. In later years, Chrysler added owners of other models, including the Dodge Viper, at a single park. In 2002, the Chrysler brand hosted 10,000 PT Cruiser owners at closed events at the parks.

Neither side would reveal costs of the new pact, but hints can be found in Six Flags' first-quarter results. The company reported that revenue jumped by 35% to $68 million compared to a year ago, driven by sponsorship, licensing and other fees, which increased to $11.4 million, $3.4 million over the prior-year period.

In April, Six Flags announced it planned to renew its partnership with Nintendo of America Inc. for the Wii Experience Attraction and add in-park street teams this year. Also in April, the company revealed a marketing and sponsorship alliance with Kraft Foods. The multi-brand partnership with Kraft features co-branding to increase park attendance with Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs, CornNuts and Lunchables Lunch Combinations, in-park product sampling and event sponsorships.

Six Flags over the globe
Six Flags is also making a global push. Two months ago it unveiled a one-year, multimillion-dollar exclusivity agreement with Gulf Finance House B.S.C., a publicly traded Islamic investment bank in Bahrain. Gulf Finance will pay for the exclusive right to license the Six Flags brand and related intellectual property for theme-park development in the People's Republic of China, and the two parties may collaborate on the future construction of a Six Flags-themed luxury resort.
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