Six Flags theme parks are emerging from bankruptcy just in time for a new season and marketing campaign built around the company’s Mr. Six mascot. Could there be any better harbinger of a brighter economy on the horizon?
In fact, the amusement-park chain is giving Mr. Six a younger companion named Little Six, pairing them up in pitches that include TV commercials and appearances on the Six Flags website.
To some, Mr. Six has been a bit, well, creepy ever since he appeared in 2008. Skeptics, no doubt, will dismiss Little Six as a happier echo of Mini-Me, the diminutive doppelganger in the Austin Powers movie series.
To be sure, Little Six does share Mini-Me’s devotion to his master. In one spot, Mr. Six and Little Six join a tourist group being shown a cave, and the Sixes give the experience “no flags” on their “Fun-o-meter.”
But when the scene shifts to a Six Flags roller coaster, they’re all thumbs up, giving the ride “six flags” in the fun department. The idea is to “bring out the Little Six in you” by going to a Six Flags park.
“Love him or hate him, Mr. Six is an advertising icon that sparks animated discussion every time he appears,” Angie Vieira Barocas, the brand’s SVP for entertainment and marketing, told the New York Times. “And we expect that the guests will react as passionately about Little Six.”
Six Flags would like more of those guests no matter what. A combination of factors including the recession helped lay low the company last year.
But after an 11th-hour ownership deal this week involving bondholders and hedge-fund groups, Six Flags is able to resume operations with an infusion of as much as $725 million to allow the operator to get into proper business shape.
So while the Sixes may create more awareness for Six Flags in the new marketing campaign, the key to the brand’s long-term health will be the attitude of American vacationers.
If they’re ready to have fun again this summer after a long couple of years, expect plenty more thumbs up from Mr. Six and Little Six.