Thursday, August 04, 2005

Niche Marketing: The Fugly Demographic
A Special Report for Parks Nationwide

In an era where ticket pricing appears to have reached a ceiling, per-cap spending has become even more important to amusement park operators around the world. When talking about souvenirs there are many different groups to sell to: moms with infants, families with tweens and young adults.

But there are also other types of people that parks are now seeking out, one of the largest being the fugly demographic. [Author's note: For additional definitions of fugly please see here, here, here, and here.]

This is a market that Disney has long gone after, specifically with its jean jacket product line. Tim Stewart, Merchandising Manager for the Magic Kingdom, says that fuglies love sporting jackets with Eeyore and/or Tigger patches. He noted that "recent buying trends are skewing to fugly chicks when it comes to ugly jean jacket purchases. Often we find that these women also fill their house or trailer with Thomas Kincade paintings and Hummel figurines." Independent research shows that fugly women relate to these characters because they either blather on about things no one cares about (i.e.,Tigger) or simply cannot get laid and have terrible personalities (i.e., Eeyore).

Disney isn't the only park chain cashing in on the people whose faces can stop clocks. Paramount Parks recently issued a classic Days of Thunder racing jacket, complete with the large quote "That's Rubbin' Son, and Rubbin's Racin'" caringly embroidered on the back. Corporate Promotions Director Adam Jones said, "We do find it amazing that ugly people who cannot afford basic hygiene products have no problem plopping down $200 for a shitty, ugly jacket. But we are happy to take their money." Jones commented that the only racing-related item that has yet to sell well is a NASCAR-themed mirror.

After talking with park managers from around the country ARN&R came up with a list of items you will want to keep in stock to keep the fuglies opening their sweaty Velcro-sealed wallets:

From Dollywood:
• Git R Done Truckers Hat (with optional Confederate Flag bill)

From NASCAR Speedpark:
• Dale Earnhardt Picture Hanger (the sales slogan is "Bang the wall - just like Dale!)

From Six Flags St. Louis:
• Tweety Bird Poncho and Muumuu Set

From Magic Springs:
• "Mustache Rides - 5 cents" and "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!" t-shirts

We hope these suggestions and insight allow you to grow your park's market share of the fugly demographic.


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