You hear about them all the time, these so-called “social media influencers.” They’re people or groups with massive amounts of followers or subscribers online who get paid to appear at locations or promote products in their feeds. The hope from brands hosting them is that their popularity garners tons of positive publicity in an otherwise crowded media landscape.
The Arlington theme park hosted YouTube celebrity “Mr. Beast” – whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson – for two days. His goals? To win every prize in the park and give $20,000 to whomever on his crew could ride a coaster the longest.
Standard YouTube fare these days.
Unfortunately, the first video featuring the park’s many, different games exposed a little secret: not all of the prizes shown at games can actually be won.
They’re referred to as “display prizes” throughout the video by employees. So while you definitely can’t win those prizes, you can definitely pay to play said game under those prizes. That just seems like false advertising to me.
That alone wasn’t a good look for the park, but 17 million or so views later, “display prizes” at Six Flags are now definitely in the public domain. Now, that’s not to say other parks or chains don’t do the same thing, but that doesn’t make it any more right to do in my humble opinion.
But that’s not the worst thing to come out of these appearances, sadly.
In the second video uploaded, Mr. Beast and Crew rode the park’s Mini Mine Train, with the promise of whoever survived the longest would win $20,000.
Good work if you can get it!
Now, if you can get past the fact that Mr. Beast is standing in the danger zone as a train is being dispatched:
You’ll then get to these truly jaw-dropping moments: when the team encouraged young on-lookers to toss them small food items while they were on the ride:
Now, credit given where it’s due: the team does not start the food tossing conversation – a guest did – but the influencers encouraged it.
Also, the team does acknowledge in passing that, “…we’ve started a problem,” and that it, “…probably wasn’t a great idea.”
That being said, the very next scene featured a team member openly asking if they could, “…come back with an Xbox on the next trip?”
That was immediately followed with a scene featuring another team member, holding a loose t-shirt dangerously close to the ride’s moving wheels, tossing it from the moving train to the crowd of on-lookers on the other side of the safety fence:
Anyone else seeing some mixed messages here in the edit? Imagine if you’re one of the channel’s younger, target audience. Does a passing warning even register with them?
What’s truly befuddling is that all of this could have been entirely prevented. It appears the park had no say in the final edit of the video – which is unfortunate. Scenes like these should have never seen the light of day, let alone be allowed to occur during filming.
In an ironic twist, while the two videos have received a combined 37 million views (and climbing), the park (actually just the Six Flags brand) received a total of *one* direct mention across both videos. Unless you recognized the park from a previous visit, you’d have to do some serious sleuthing to figure out where the heck this place is.
Consider the amount of resources that were needed to pull off these shoots and you have to ask the question, “Did the park get the most for their money?”
With all that being said, the park ended up looking like a victim and got the very raw end of the deal. Not only were they barely mentioned, they were shown featuring prizes you can’t win and had their safety rules flaunted, captured and broadcast to millions of young subscribers (the company’s core market).
Mr. Beast, on the other hand? They got two new videos, 37 million+ new views and tons more ad revenue. Is this a fair trade?
Influencer Marketing is a fast growing sector, with more and more brands leveraging it as an additional tool in their marketing toolbox. Incidents like these are a good reminder that just because someone says they have a lot of “influence,” and wants to “work” with you, doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the image or safety of your attraction to get it.
August 22, 2019 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media, Theme Parks | Tags: $SEAS, $SIX, AIMS, amusement park, amusement park safety, arlington, ASTM, facebook, fun, great american thrills, IAAPA, influencer, influencers, instagram, jim reid anderson, Jimmy Donaldson, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, Mini Mine Train, Mr. Beast, ride, ride safety, rides, roller coaster, roller coaster safety, rollercoaster, safety, safety is our number one priority, six flags, six flags over texas, snapchat, social media, texas, theme park, theme park safety, YouTube | Comments Off on Are Social Media Influencers Good Stewards of your Brand?
Remember when blogging was just a fun hobby? When you could start a website (or visit one) that covered all the cool happenings going on at your favorite theme or amusement park?
Well, those days are numbered – in the name of clicks and likes.
Over the past few years – and especially the past few weeks – amusement park fans online have been bombarded with fake stories, new ride announcements spoiled through “investigations” and general bad behavior.
And it’s ruining our entire community.
Let’s get one thing straight: just because you cover a park, it does not make you a journalist. All true journalists are bound by a code of ethics with the constant threat of losing their jobs if they get something wrong.
Theme park “journalists” have no such code and as such, can (and do) post malicious, false or confidential information, generally with little to no ramifications. Take it from a guy who’s worked both sides of this story: Fan journalism is rapidly running out of style at parks across the country.
Can you blame them? Investigating and “breaking” news like shipping documents or permits showing what new ride is coming next season…what fun is that? It’s akin to searching for (and finding) your Christmas presents hidden in the closet.
Not to mention all the hard work and planning that goes into these announcements from the park side. True, the general public will most likely never visit these sites, but don’t you want to be surprised on announcement day like them?
For all the good bloggers out there, all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch. Some parks have even removed bloggers entirely from the equation, simply because of perceived issues with the greater community.
So what can we – as a community – do to stop it?
In so many cases, we cannot remove these people from our community – but we can take away from them the one thing they want: attention. Flag false stories. Don’t engage on tabloid-style stories. Basically, take back the community we worked so hard to create.
On the park side, actions must have consequences. Share problem bloggers with others in the industry and let them know (in no uncertain terms) why they’re not being invited to events anymore. Give them a road map to success and if they stray – it’s on them, not you.
These bad actors cannot be allowed to represent us as a whole, otherwise our community is doomed to toxicity (and irrelevancy) for eternity.
August 13, 2019 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media, Theme Parks | Tags: amusement park, blog, blogger, cedar fair, dis twitter, distwitter, facebook, fake news, fan journalism, great american thrills, influencers, instagram, journalism, journalists, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, new for 2020, new rides, online writing, rumors, Sea World, SeaWorld, six flags, social media, texas thrill seekers, theme park, twitter, YouTube | 1 Comment
Social media use has exploded over the past decade. Its presence is so big, many companies are hiring people solely based on their experience with these new, direct marketing channels.
But while a “like” can be earned quickly, those bonds can also be lost just as fast if the user has a poor experience with it.
So, if you follow these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a superior social media experience for your guests, which will lead to more of those turnstiles rotating:
STEP ONE: KEEP IT UPDATED!
I can’t tell you the number of parks that leave their social media without updated content for weeks, even months on end. Common errors here can include outdated cover photos, profile photos and information. While one of the easiest to fix, this is also one of the most common mistakes many parks and FEC’s make on social media.
STEP TWO: STOP POSTING CRAP UPDATES!
Treating social media like a direct billboard or commercial to the fans of your park is instant poison for your social media. Consider a park with 400,000 fans, yet only receives 100 likes on average on their posts. Something’s wrong there – and it’s the content.
Mask the ad for your park or event in great content – make a cool video or post a beautiful photo that’s sure to be shared. Direct calls to action will turn off park visitors faster than an hour long wait in an un-shaded queue.
And don’t forget about video – it’s the best way to tell a story – and one of the most underutilized mediums on social media.
STEP THREE: INTERACT WITH YOUR FANS!
It should go without saying, but many parks neglect the “social” part of social media – that is, they post something to their account – and simply leave it there. That’s akin in the digital age of throwing crap on a wall and seeing if it sticks.
Social media allows guests to experience things they may have missed on their last trip, post about how much fun they had – or in some cases – complain about a negative experience they had while at your facility.
Not responding or interacting with guests on social media is no longer an acceptable practice. It never was acceptable, period. One can easily gain back a potential repeat customer simply by interacting with them, acknowledging their concerns or eventually resolving them.
Yes, it IS a lot of work and yes, it CAN be frustrating at times with a never-ending deluge of comments – but that’s the world we live in. Consider it “job security.”
Plus, when a park or facility responds to a guest, they guest feels important – because they ARE! Remember who pays for the bills, folks…
By answering questions on social media, you’re also contributing to a higher engagement rating on many of the mathematical algorithms which dictate who sees what. Translation: responding on social media means more people see your post FOR FREE.
So, if you follow these simple steps, your amusement park or family entertainment center should see a nice bump in social media metrics – which should lead to more butts through those gates.
Got any other good suggestions? Leave a comment below or post on our social media channels. Don’t worry, we’ll actually interact with you!
August 4, 2016 | Categories: Amusement Parks | Tags: amusement park, best practices, facebook, family entertainment center, FEC, great american thrills, IAAPA, instagram, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, snapchat, social media, social media strategy, theme park, twitter, YouTube | Comments Off on Social Media Strategies and Best Practices for Amusement Parks
Who would have thought technology that was born in the amusement world would find it’s way to the battlefield.
Introducing, the Navy’s most modern carrier launching system – LSM. Yup – that same frictionless launch we’ve come to know and love on launching coasters will soon be launching fighter jets and the like – protecting our freedom to go out and have fun.
The most common launch on carriers is a pressurized steam system that hasn’t really changed in nearly 60 years. Boy, are they in for a shock when they get their first LSM launch…
This test / demonstration was done off the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, CVN 78 using the durable and popular GoPro HERO cameras. Admit it – you would have taken a ride if they let you…
July 19, 2015 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Theme Parks | Tags: aircraft carrier, carrier launch system, CVN 78, go pro, gopro, great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, launch, LSM, LSM launch, roller coaster, you tube, YouTube | Comments Off on US Navy Uses Roller Coaster Tech on New Aircraft Carrier
It was our most challenging “Lost Parks” episode – ever. More locations that we’ve ever done before. More money spent than ever before – but it was all worth it.
Presenting the first episode of SEASON TWO of the “Lost Parks of Northern California” – the Pan Pacific Exposition (World’s Fair) of 1915:
Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE the video with all your friends, family and favorite cable networks – who knows, we might someday take the show national – but we’ll need your help to do it!
June 17, 2014 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Lost Parks, Television Production | Tags: #lostparks, 1915 pan pacific exposition, abandoned amusement park, abandoned theme parks, ACE, american coaster enthusiasts, amusement park, amusement parks, coaster con, exposition organ, Frisco, great american thrills, Huell Howser, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, lost parks, lost parks of northern california, nicholas laschkewitsch, Nor Cal, norcal, northern california, San Francisco, SF, summer fun, theme park, theme parks, world's fair, YouTube | Comments Off on New Lost Parks Episode on 1915 Pan Pacific Exposition in San Francisco!
Over the weekend, I reached a YouTube milestone I thought worthy of sharing.
I have eclipsed over 30,000 views on the channel since it was launched back in April of 2012!
While it’s certainly tiny in comparison to, say other channels on YouTube, it’s still a milestone to reach, then continue to grow from – and that’s worth celebrating.
Thanks to everyone for their continued support and viewing – I look forward to creating even more engaging content over the next year and a half!
October 15, 2013 | Categories: Amusement Parks | Tags: great american thrills, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, lost parks, lost parks of northern california, milestone, Nor Cal, norcal, pov video, producer, production, roller coaster video, roller coaster videos, tv concept, views, YouTube | Comments Off on YouTube Milestone Reached!
I hate to be a broken record – but if you’ve been reading my writings on illegal, handheld POV filming on rides – then watching this video should come as no surprise to you.
If you think filming on rides is harmless behavior – how would YOU like to be hit with a GoPro Hero3 at 55mph?
Thankfully, no one was apparently injured in this situation.
Here’s the kicker – while the ride starts well after the train has been dispatched and out of the eyesight of ride employees – the lift has not one, but TWO cameras on it. There’s got to be a better way of preventing this – and there is!
July 1, 2013 | Categories: Amusement Parks, Social Media | Tags: amusement park, amusement park review, amusement parks, california's great america, cell phone, cell phone camera, cell phone cameras, cell phones, CGA, gold striker, gopro, great america, great american thrills, hero3, illegal filming, kris rowberry, kristopher rowberry, loose articles, mobile phone, on-ride filming, POV, pov video, robb alvey, six flags, six flags over texas, six flags st. louis, SM2, SM2 designs, social media, social media strategy, st. louis, theme park, theme park review, theme parks, YouTube | Comments Off on Illegal POV Filming – When Will They Learn?