Importance of Brand Unity for a One-of-a-Kind Destination

Who knew you could immerse yourself in ocean life, interact with dinosaurs, test your ninja skills navigating a laser maze, and befriend 60 species of butterflies all in one place?

Arizona Boardwalk, formerly OdySea in the Desert, is a one-of-a-kind entertainment destination located in Scottsdale, Arizona that features eight marquee attractions – OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!®, Laser + Mirror Maze, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs, Surprise Your Eyes, VR Extreme, and Johnny’s Playground – as well as multiple dining, shopping, and amusement venues. While all these are great stand-alone names, there was a lack of brand unity presented in Arizona Boardwalk's many attractions. Audiences did not perceive them as one unified brand and the name “OdySea in the Desert” was confused with one of the attractions, “OdySea Aquarium.”

Seeking a Partner to Help Tell Their Brand Story

The entertainment destination recognized that its brand story was yet to be told. They knew they needed a brand strategy and creative partner they could lean on to take their brand where it needed to be and who were also able to bring the media expertise to the table that could help them create effective campaigns intended to attract new and returning visitors. Enter LaneTerralever….

Brand Marketing Services

Arizona Boardwalk Image with Attractions Logos

Challenges We Faced

Lack of Brand Clarity - Need For a New Name

The prior brand name, OdySea in the Desert, created confusion between OdySea Aquarium, the anchor attraction at the destination, and the parent brand/venue name. People didn’t realize the variety of attractions and experiences this entertainment destination had to offer. It quickly became clear a new name was necessary to position all attractions under one house that encompassed everything and eliminated any potential confusion.

Standing Out in the Crowd - Competing For Family Entertainment

With everything from zoos and museums to concerts and world-class annual events to college and professional sporting events, competition in the Phoenix Metro attractions space is high. Arizona Boardwalk knew they needed to increase their awareness as a year-round destination with something for everyone in the family — for both locals and tourists alike. Many of those seeking family-friendly attractions know all about enjoying a spring training game, going to the zoo or even other aquariums and animal-based attractions, but what could we say to really set Arizona Boardwalk apart?

Driving Brand Recognition - The Launch Campaign

We knew that a name change would only be the beginning of creating brand clarity. A creative campaign supported by an integrated media plan was critical to ensure we got the new name in front of our most important guests and increase our awareness by reaching new audiences.

Our Overall Goals

Shift consumer perception - Establish positioning that gave the brand a platform to align to and the basis for a new name

Align internal stakeholders - Unify brand tenets for clarity & consistency of experience

Launch new brand - Develop a new name, brand campaign, and media plan for impact and longevity

Improve sales - Introduce the brand with a large splash to generate new and compelling “reasons to believe” aimed at driving an increase in ticket sales among target audiences

Media effectiveness - Build a media schedule that provided targeted exposure and maximum effectiveness

Connecting With Potential Visitors

Through brand research, we found that visitors desired a connection to their experiences and to make lasting memories that were repeatable. They wanted to know that their time at Arizona Boardwalk was distinctive from other animal-based attractions. We knew that we needed to appeal to the caretakers of young children looking for engaging activities for all ages. While this is primarily a parent, it can also be a grandparent or someone running a daycare or afterschool program. In addition to the family audiences, we also had to make sure we considered empty nesters and tourists (20% of visitors) seeking an educational and interesting experience.


Arizona Boardwalk Was Born

Our research showed there was brand confusion between OdySea Aquarium, and the overall destination, OdySea In The Desert. As a result, the destination was renamed Arizona Boardwalk, which included a new logo and rollout campaign.

We Asked Ourselves

What is unique about Arizona Boardwalk’s attractions?

The Insight: Arizona Boardwalk Offers a Truly Immersive Experience

Unlike other entertainment destinations where you’re just an observer, Arizona Boardwalk allows children and their families to place themselves in a variety of fun, immersive experiences. You aren't just looking at ocean creatures; they're swimming overhead. You aren't just observing butterflies through glass; they're landing on your shoulder. You aren't just taking pictures; you're posing in one - and it’s 3D.

AZ Boardwalk Social Out of Home Examples

“Get Into It” Creative Campaign

Our creative campaign captured the immersive experience of the Arizona Boardwalk attractions. Whether the audience was diving, wandering, or roaring into fun, they could be part of the attraction.

Our Marketing Approach

Integrated Creative Approach

Through TV ads, 3D display banner ads, radio ads, and out-of-home, the campaign showcased Arizona Boardwalk as the state’s home to immersive attractions where visitors can choose from extensive entertainment options to gain an in-depth education. We wanted visitors to create lasting memories of value. The creative captured this by showcasing experiences for curious minds using digital animation banners to simulate immersion.

Media Approach - Tapping Into New Markets

When planning for the rebrand, we used the campaign as an opportunity to not only continue to speak to Arizona Boardwalk’s current audiences but also to find areas of untapped potential within the Phoenix Metro area. We did a zip code analysis that examined each zip code’s contribution to overall sales and compared that to each zip code’s contribution to the Phoenix-area population of affluent homes and homes with children. We also discovered there was a very high correlation between youth soccer participation and attendance at Arizona Boardwalk properties. So we made a specific geofencing initiative around youth soccer facilities to drive further interest from their visitors and participants.

Reaching Out-of-Town Visitors

Brand research showed that an astounding 20% of Arizona Boardwalk’s audience was identified as out-of-town visitors. Through Sojern digital media and airport signage, we created a digital media plan to reach visitors both before and during their Arizona stay. We then used a robust channel mix to reach our audiences where they were consuming media. The resulting media plan was a strong mix of broadcast TV & radio, cable, print, local event sponsorships, airport signage, digital/static billboards as well as digital media that included social, paid search, display banners, streaming audio, and video.

interactive az boardwalk digital ads

Our Results - Making an Impact

Search Results

We observed a 130% year-over-year increase in website sessions, and 81% of those sessions were first-time visitors to the site, which showed that it was being discovered by new audiences. 

Creative Campaign 

Results Though COVID-19 lockdowns started just weeks after the campaign launch, in the short time the campaign was live, it drove a 15% increase in ad recall, a 7.3% increase in name recognition, and a 1.5% improvement in brand favorability among those exposed to the campaign compared to the control group.

Brand Awareness Results

Further evidence showing growth of awareness and interest in Arizona Boardwalk is Google search trend data which showed a spike in Arizona Boardwalk searches corresponding with a drop to almost no searches for the old Odysea in the Desert name.

What Our Clients Say

"All the work that went into developing the new brand has paid off and even though our ad campaign was cut short, the name has stuck and permeated into the market as evidenced by a personal litmus test - when people ask me where I work and I say 'Arizona Boardwalk', I measure how many nod their head and say “oh yes, I know that place”

Julia Ponce, VP, Marketing & Creative Services, Arizona Boardwalk