Coin-operated Dolphins: Marketing Nostalgia

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Miniature marketing is making a comeback. Iconic, coin-operated amusement rides offered to children at shopping malls and grocery stores across the U.S. decades ago are being rehabbed as offbeat, attractive marketing tools for diverse professional groups. For example, veterinarians are purchasing them for their waiting rooms, pediatricians for their offices and car dealerships for their showrooms. Kiddie Rides USA in Denver is the last operating company in America currently restoring these nostalgic machines. For more than 50 years, hundreds of these machines have been modified into various shapes and characters that have epitomized pop culture in small fashion. Recently, a “Ghostbusters” memorabilia collector purchased a Ghostbusters ride, while a pilot invested in an airplane kiddie ride for his grandchildren. A man bought his wife a coin-operated dolphin to satisfy her passion for the aquatic mammals. At K.R. USA, rides can also be customized for a more aesthetic and personal experience through hand-painted replicas, airbrushed monograms and imprinted digital photos on stickers.
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