Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Signs of Wildlife: OKC Zoo, Monarch Launch Campaign to Promote New Exhibit

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Signs of Wildlife: OKC Zoo, Monarch Launch Campaign to Promote New Exhibit

Article excerpt

Over the next few weeks, Oklahomans won't be able to escape the state's wide variety of indigenous wildlife.

Bison, snapping turtles, deer, cougars and more than 800 other critters will be seen everywhere: on billboards, TV, radio, brochures, newspapers, direct mail, commercial delivery trucks, "and some other unique approaches," said Kari Bargas, president of Monarch Marketing Group LLC. "And a few things that I don't want to share yet because it will break some of the surprise in our kickoff campaign."

Monarch is working with the Oklahoma City Zoological Park to promote the zoo's new exhibit, Oklahoma Trails. The exhibit is a tribute to the state's 11 distinct life zones, a range of diversity among the United States second only to California, said Bob Hammack, chairman of the zoo trust. The exhibit, which took several years to design and build, will take up nearly eight acres and include an 18,000-gallon aquarium.

Oklahoma Trails cost about $9.3 million to build, Hammack said. The advertising budget to make sure as many Oklahomans as possible know about the addition is about $130,000, zoo Marketing Director Tara Henson said.

"For us who work at the zoo, it's more than a business; it's a passion," Henson said. "But when you get right down to it, it is a business. The more people that we can bring through our gates, the better we meet our goals of education and conservation, and the more money we can bring in to benefit that mission.

"It's the biggest exhibit in the zoo's history and it opens in the state's centennial year. It's a very exciting opportunity."

The zoo has worked with Monarch since 2003, when the grizzly bear cubs Will and Wiley were introduced to Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Trails, which is scheduled to open March 10, will be the biggest zoo event yet. The promotional campaign will begin in mid-February and run though April, the women said.

"Because the zoo is such a great attraction and family oriented, a lot of companies really like to be associated with the zoo," Bargas said. "So we utilize a lot of cross-promotional opportunities to stretch the advertising and marketing budget. …

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