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Busch Gardens makes park name changes official

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Published: April 11, 2006 at 6:22 PM

By the way, Busch made it official today, announcing to the press that it has in fact changed the names of Busch Gardens Williamsburg to Busch Gardens Europe and Busch Gardens Tampa to Busch Gardens Africa. (Following, of course, the previous redesignation of Busch Gardens Los Angeles as Busch Gardens Brewery Parking Lot.)

As reported here earlier, the domains buschgardenseurope.com and buschgardensafrica.com, which were unregistered, were snapped up by a private registrant shortly after TPI's report. I can't imagine that Busch would have to do a blind registration through GoDaddy.com for its domains. Which leaves me to believe that Busch foolishly did not bother to secure them before launching its new marketing campaign. (Nor, apparently, does anyone from Busch read this website.) In fact, the Busch Gardens website still refers to the parks by their old names.

Hey, Busch, the Web's a pretty powerful promotional medium now. Perhaps you might consider *using* it? (Oh wait, no one from there reads the site. Oh, well....)

Readers' Opinions

From Don Hubert on April 11, 2006 at 8:16 PM
They started running new commercials last weekend in the Tampa Market for the both Africa and Europe.
From Danny Bernard on April 12, 2006 at 1:37 AM
Yes, they're running commercials here in So. Cal under the Africa and Europe names.
From Chris Walton on April 12, 2006 at 9:58 AM
I've seen the ads too, I prefer the old names.
From Donna Tolliver-Walker on April 12, 2006 at 10:24 AM
Not that they shouldn't be keeping a close eye on TPI, but the Busch parks' websites now all stem off www.buschgardens.com, with / extensions for each of the parks. So, to get to the site, you never did type in www.buschgardenswilliamsburg.com or www.buschgardenstampa.com, which may be why they didn't buy the www.buschgardenseurope.com addresses ...??

BUT it would be nice to know what consumer response testing they did for the proposed name changes, as I don't care for them at all. Sounds like BGE is IN Europe, not Europe-themed.

They didn't ask me, obviously ... wonder whom they did ask?

From Robert Niles on April 12, 2006 at 10:55 AM
No, I've got no problem getting to the individual official park sites through the buschgardens.com portal. Nor would I presume to tell Busch what Web domains it ought to use.

But Business 101 in the Internet era is "You register the .com version of all trademarks you use in public promotions and advertising." Sure, if you really want the domain, you can go to a hearing with the ICANN and get it turned over to you. But those procedures take time. And if Joe Cybersquatter decides to point yourtrademark.com to his porn affiliate site for a few weeks, well, then you have to deal with some very unflattering stories when that fact hits the press.

Which it will. Because even if the Busch PR department doesn't read TPI, reporters from the AP, several top newspapers and a few TV news networks *do*.

Even if Joe Cybersquatter doesn't go to that extreme, you don't want potential customers who type "buschgardenseurope" in their browsers, trying to get to your site, to end up on somebody else's.

From SpaceMt Fan on April 12, 2006 at 11:33 AM
I wonder what the respective city council's feelings are towards the name change?

Not that Busch Corp. did much to endear themselves within those communities, however, one can imagine that they will end up suffering the full bureaucratic wrath of town hall from now on.

From Gareth H on April 12, 2006 at 11:46 AM
I don't want to go to Europe, just left there and moved to the states. Guess I can stomach Africa though. (missus might not, shes South African)

Might have to go and register www.buschgardensamerica.com , that ones free for when they change back!

From Robert Niles on April 12, 2006 at 11:55 AM
Let's not forget, SpaceMt Fan, what went down this past year when Anaheim (home of Disneyland) sued the Angels baseball team for dropping "Anaheim" to the back of its name in favor of "Los Angeles." Several million dollars in attorney's fees later, Anaheim lost, but it did point out that cities see enormous promotional value in having their names in the name of a local attraction.

Readers in Virginia and the Tampa Bay area, are you hearing any backlash from locals about the name changes?

From Chris Walton on April 12, 2006 at 1:08 PM
I'm a Tampa native and I don't care for the name change at all.
From Clay Duncan on April 12, 2006 at 2:34 PM
From what I understand they havn't actually taken the "Tampa Bay" or "Williamsburg" names out of their Logos, they just added "Africa", and "Europe" to them. I think they were having problems with people getting the two parks confused with each other, and so they wanted people to know that they are two diferent and distinct parks.
From Scott Seal on April 12, 2006 at 6:37 PM
As I understand it, the logos for the parks read as follows: Busch Gardens Europe - Williamsburg, VA and Busch Gardens Africa - Tampa, FL. Seeing as how most of the time, the only place a consumer will see the theme park's names in print are in the official logos, I don't think it will be a problem.

Me personally, I live in Richmond (30 minutes from Williamsburg) and I like the name change. It better explains what one is getting themselves into when visiting the park. I think it adds character.

From Jason Jackson on April 12, 2006 at 8:19 PM
I think the full marketing campaign talks about "The Worlds of Busch Gardens Europe" and "The Worlds of Busch Gardens Africa".
From Russell Meyer on April 13, 2006 at 6:04 AM
I think the name change is a great move. Prevously, the two parks were called, Busch Gardens the Old Country (Williamsburg/Europe) and Busch Gardens the Dark Continent (Tampa/Africa). By using the continent names, Busch Gardens is able to let people who have never been to the parks before what kind of experience to expect.

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