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Cedar Fair Implements New AdLogic System
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Cedar Fair, one of the largest amusement-resort operators in the country,  is blending guest entertainment content with paid placements through the use of a new system, AdLogic.

According to Mason Page, EVP of Business Planning at Reflect Systems, the idea to use digital signage as a solution that would meet Cedar Fair's need created the need for an entirely new system.

Page explains “There just wasn't one that allowed automated control of ad campaigns intermixed with branded content, so we set out to create one - AdLogic.

 It wasn't built to manage pure-play ad networks. It strategically weaves in sponsored content that provides clients with an additional monetary stream without affecting the customer experience from overplayed ad placements. With industries like retail and entertainment, this helps brands make use of their digital signage network to improve the customer experience, drive sales lift for promoted products, and generate revenue through sponsored placements.”
Digital signage content typically mixes production promos, brand storytelling, entertainment, and education. “We use elements of each bucket to create the content mix for Cedar Fair, but the mix is created with an acute focus on improving the guest experience. We do not want to degrade the experience by running too many paid placements; AdLogic helps ensure we do not under or over-deliver on paid placements,” Page states, adding that “Most of the digital experiences are in the ride queues where you have longer wait times. As guest entertainment is a primarily objective of the screens, a large percentage of the playlist features long-form content like music videos and ‘how it's made' segments.”

The signage also allows park operators to use a custom web portal to create park-specific messages. This capability allows them to promote content that is specifically designed for their park audience, including informative information like the length of ride queue times.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out for the park long term, but  having something to occupy attendees while they wait to board rides and for other attractions is a strong concept in and of itself. The technology behind the newly innovative system and its implications for both entertainment and promotion usher in many new capabilities for theme parks, and assist with a more robust bottom line.

The custom mix of entertainment and information that goes along with the advertisements is created by what Page calls “a blend of the Cedar Fair and Reflect teams. The internal creative team at Cedar Fair creates the majority of the original content, while Reflect creates various applications that display dynamic information like up-to-date ride queue wait times and curated social media content.” 

All of the material in the system designed for viewing by park attendees is tested by loading the content into a staging area where the Reflect team previews all content, Page asserts. “Once it's internally approved, it's scheduled for playback using ReflectView and AdLogic.”

How AdLogic's automated system guarantees the number of consumers seeing ads, and automatically adjusts to meet objectives is both a fascinating idea and a surprisingly workable concept as Page describes it. “Reflect AdLogic integrates with the ReflectView™ content management system and enables digital signage network operators to manage ad campaigns,” he relates. “It can be used for content that's priced and delivered based on the number of ads played per hour or by the number of impressions.” He notes that this systems provides “flexibility, efficiency and accuracy,” making ad management easier to accomplish than in any other models.

“Reflect AdLogic uses the exact details of the digital signage networks being served, including audience impressions and the hours of operation for the venues where the signs are located,” he reports. “It calculates how many ads will need to be played on each digital signage system based on their unique locations and traffic trends. The algorithm powering AdLogic factors in that data and creates a schedule of balanced ad playback to meet each campaign's specific objectives.”

In short, the computer-based system allows operators an essentially trouble-free system. “This means that operators don't need to worry about over or under-delivery of ad playback,” Page says.

The new system was announced in March 2017 and has since served over a billion ads, according to Page.

This type of marketing is one of the fastest growing categories for advertising and paid media, by reaching engaged audiences. Cedar Fair's eleven parks, which include Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, Kings Island, and Canada's Wonderland are a big part of that growth.

“We constantly seek the best ways to entertain and engage our 26 million annual guests at every step of their experience with us, and Reflect has been critical to our success in this endeavor,” Matt Shafer, corporate vice president, strategic alliances, Cedar Fair says. “Their innovation in delivering the insights and services we need have been instrumental in helping us define, create and communicate the value behind our in-park digital advertisements and sponsorships.”

Reflect has been exclusively providing the in-park media content management for all Cedar Fair parks since 2014, powering digital experiences through the ReflectView™ content management and delivery platform.  ReflectView provides a flexible platform to display dynamic messaging and media that effectively deliver the latest promotions, park messaging, and entertainment content. Reflect's latest innovation, AdLogic, manages, delivers and reports on advertising campaigns on Cedar Fair's digital media network.
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