Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square
Believe It: We Reinvigorated the Stagnant Image of This Classic NYC Attraction.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! opened in 2007 in the heart of Times Square, a location sure to attract tourists as its primary customer base. By 2010, however, the attraction faced declining tourist ticket sales and found it couldn’t bridge the gap with local traffic, having gained a lackluster reputation among New Yorkers as a hokey tourist attraction. While its high-profile neighbor on 42nd Street (who shall remain nameless), has a clear, easy selling proposition (“lifelike celebrity wax figures”), Ripley’s proved to be a harder sell in comparison: a collection of odd things, from a stuffed albino giraffe and collection of beer steins to live hissing cockroaches and medieval torture devices. Ripley’s needed to reinvent its image under an umbrella theme that would clearly resonate with residents of the greater NYC area and provide multiple reasons to visit. In short, Ripley’s needed to be “cool” again.
The campaign theme “Rediscover Wonder” provided the missing common thread for the array of oddities and jaw-dropping experiences we planned to showcase through PR. Since we were pursuing the same print, online, and broadcast media multiple times all year, we created a series of unique events that offered different PR opportunities, such as: “Reverse Santa” holiday photos (a midget Santa sits in YOUR lap with 6-foot tall elves around the chair); “Boo-lieve It or Not” Extreme Halloween Sleepover; a celebration of “Odd Jobs” for Labor Day (sideshow performances by needle swallowers, fire breathers, etc.); “Unbelievable Dares” for free admission; and more. We also sent key TV producers invitations to film at Ripley’s, and invited influential local print journalists and bloggers to visit and take a fresh look at the attraction. In addition to orchestrating all events from start to finish, an aggressive campaign of releases, alerts, and pitches supported all efforts.
Did we get kick-ass results? YOU’D BETTER BELIEVE IT. Key media outlets each cover Ripley’s multiple times per year. Outlets such as The New York Times, New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Time Out NY, Crain’s NY Business, 1010WINS-AM, WPIX-CW, WABC-TV, WNYW-FOX, WNBC-TV, NY1 and more maintain continual, steady coverage all year long. Strategic coverage from influential journalists like famed gossip columnist Cindy Adams and leading television shows like TLC’s Cake Boss, A&E’s Shipping Wars, NBC’s TODAY, and the national hit show Dr. Oz have reinvigorated Ripley’s stale image into a fresh and exciting place. With nearly 1.5 billion media impressions from the campaign to date, impact on business has been…you guessed it unbelievable.