Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Partnerships Help OKC Zoo Strengthen Its Image

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Partnerships Help OKC Zoo Strengthen Its Image

Article excerpt

This weekend a herd of motorized beasts will visit the Oklahoma City Zoo. The two-day exhibit will be part of the Dodge Zoo Adventure Tour, a four-month tour of 12 U.S. zoos to promote the new 2006 Dodge Charger and other Dodge vehicles.

The Dodge tour is an example of how the Oklahoma City Zoo breeds partnerships with local and national sponsors to help create an image and brand for the nonprofit attraction, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004.

Our brand positioning for the zoo is all about family fun, said Malena Lott, creative director and chief brand officer of BrainWorks, an Edmond-based branding firm that works with the zoo to help develop its image and marketing materials.

We focus on emotional branding and what type of emotion we want people to feel from the advertising, she said. We want people to see energy and fun. We want the advertising to be catchy and memorable.

BrainWorks' family-fun image is one of the reasons Dodge selected Oklahoma City for the zoo tour, which also includes visits to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, St. Louis, Denver, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Fla., and Asheboro, N.C.

Partnering with zoos is a perfect fit for Dodge because we are both committed to bringing families together, said Fred Diaz, director-Dodge marketing, Chrysler Group. With all the family features on our new line of Dodge vehicles, the Dodge Zoo Adventure Tour gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase the ultimate family vehicles at the ultimate family destination.

Advertising for the zoo also features a family focus.

Primarily we are looking at families, said Kari Bargas, president of Monarch Marketing Group. We draw primarily from the metropolitan area but also market to smaller communities such as Enid and Chickasha.

The zoo expects record attendance this year, although there are no new permanent exhibits, said Tara Henson, director of marketing and public relations at the zoo.

Attendance in 1997 totaled 767,000 visitors, the current annual record. That was the year the Cat Forest/Lion Overlook exhibit opened. …

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