Published: March 31, 2009 at 10:31 AM
Got this via email from Dan Dipiazzo, VP of marketing for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg:
It's great to see the discussion about the name of our park. Let me try to clarify a few points.
The true name of the park is Busch Gardens. It always has been. What has changed over the years are the locator descriptions attached to the name.
For the past year or so, we primarily have used Williamsburg or Virginia, depending on the use. For instance, in our current Busch Gardens television commercial that airs nationally, we use Virginia and Florida. We believe those are stronger geographical points of reference than the city names for a national audience. However, in regional advertising we typically locate the park in Williamsburg, or sometimes Williamsburg, Va., because the city is better known to these consumers. Sometimes the city is included with the logo, but sometimes just noted in copy.
As you noted, we used Europe (and Busch Gardens in Tampa used Africa) as differentiators for about two years, in conjunction with a national advertising campaign themed The Worlds of Busch Gardens. I think we did too good of a job of reinforcing this positioning in our communications, because now many people have adopted Busch Gardens Europe as the parks name. The last place this was used prominently was on our Web site, which changed when we launched a redesigned site a couple of weeks ago. (Busch Gardens in Tampa will switch to a similarly redesigned site soon, and also will lose the Busch Gardens Africa logo.)
We know there also is great affection and nostalgia around The Old Country moniker, which was used when the Williamsburg park opened in 1975. No doubt a lot of TPI readers have fond memories of their first visits to The Old Country to ride Loch Ness Monster or Big Bad Wolf (celebrating its 25th anniversary this year). That descriptor was used to highlight the parks European theme, but didnt reflect the modern thrills that were added to the park, and it was phased out by the early 1990s.
In the end, to paraphrase a saying, people can call us whatever they want, as long as they call us -- or better yet, come visit.