Opposing Trends Drive New Product Development at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Fri Jun 7, 2013 7:00am EDT

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Opposing Trends Drive New Product Development at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

-- New products answer consumers' demands for technology, nostalgia --

PR Newswire

ORLANDO, Fla., June 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When the 2013 Licensing Expo kicks off in Las Vegas June 18, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ will debut a product line-up designed for today's time-starved, tech-reliant consumers, including a marine animal-inspired mobile app game.  But the company also is developing products that align with the simpler pleasures in life, recognizing consumers' growing fondness for tradition, nostalgia and real-world experiences that connect them to people and nature.   

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"There's an interesting dichotomy in consumer buying trends that's been emerging for the past several years," said Chief Creative Officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Scott Helmstedter. "Consumers remain fascinated with technology for new ways to learn, be entertained and enhance their lifestyles. Conversely, they also crave the comfort of familiar strong emotional stories and nostalgic products that create deeper connections to the world around them."    

At the Expo, a prominent licensing show that attracts more than 5,000 top-tier brands, licensors and licensees, SeaWorld® plans to promote products that demonstrate the company's active involvement in animal rescue and rehabilitation.  According to Trendwatching.com, consumers expect companies to "go beyond uttering lofty statements on 'values' or 'culture' to real, unambiguous and clear evidence ... about actual results."  As an example of products that demonstrate this deep commitment, SeaWorld launched its popular TV series, Sea Rescue and a new Saving a Species DVD collection -- both of which give consumers a first-hand view of the company's rescue, rehabilitation and release programs, and also conservation efforts all over the world.

"We've had a tremendous response to our products that tell SeaWorld's heartfelt stories of helping rescue, rehabilitate and release wild marine animals." Helmstedter said.  "Consumers connect with the emotions and passion of real people, and appreciate companies that give back."

TECHNOLOGY STILL TOPS 
Technology is a top driver of product innovation for SeaWorld, as consumers show no sign of waning interest in devices and applications.  In fact, a survey released in March 2013 showed 79 percent of Smartphone users reach for their devices within 15 minutes of waking up, and most (62 percent) grab their phones immediately (IDC, March 2013.)

In a product development arrangement with Sleepy Giant, SeaWorld recently introduced Turtle Trek™, a fun, immersive mobile game featuring a plucky sea turtle that conquers a variety of challenges and discovers new friends in an ever-changing seascape. Based on the success of this game, the company plans to produce multiple kid-centric digital games and apps.

COOL, BLUE RETRO 
In a nod to trends of nostalgia, SeaWorld has teamed up with Palmer Cash to offer vintage-style t-shirts in select Nordstrom stores and at Nordstrom.com. The new shirts feature retro-designed iconic SeaWorld animal characters including Shamu®, an ultra-cool polar bear, a charismatic sea lion and even the original SeaWorld logo from 1964. 

The company also is introducing classic toys such as animal-themed puzzles.

CONNECTING WITH REAL STORIES, REAL HEROES 
Also tapping into this demand for simpler pleasures, the company is introducing new lines of entertainment such as TV shows and home entertainment products that families view together.

SeaWorld's popular family-oriented TV series, Sea Rescue, airs Saturday mornings on ABC and   immerses viewers in SeaWorld's inspiring stories of real marine animal rescues.  The popular TV series attracted more than 27 million viewers in its first season, and continues to be rated number one in its timeslot for numerous major U.S. markets. This spring, the show won a Parent's Choice Award and its host, Good Morning America's Sam Champion, received a Telly Award.  

The first three titles of Saving a Species, a series of home entertainment DVDs, featuring stories about the conservation of lions, tigers and elephants, is currently sold at select Target stores nationwide.

During the 2013 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas June 18 through 20, attendees are welcome to stop by SeaWorld's booth A150 to meet penguins and other animal friends. 

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment 
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company delivering personal, interactive and educational experiences that blend imagination with nature and enable its customers to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world we share. The Company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld®, Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50 year history, the Company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind collection of approximately 67,000 marine and terrestrial animals. The Company's theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. In addition to its theme parks, the company has recently begun to leverage its brands into media, entertainment and consumer products.   SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company (NYSE: SEAS). Copies of this and other news releases as well as additional information about SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. can be obtained online at www.seaworldentertainment.com.  Shareholders and prospective investors can also register to automatically receive the Company's press releases, SEC filings and other notices by e-mail.

SOURCE SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

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