View Full Version : Elections, Economy, Advertising

02-03-2008, 12:56 PM
Seems like everywhere you turn these days, you get the cheery news about the economy and elections. This October, it's probably just going to get worse.

Hopefully not the economy, but what I mean is, every media outlet you see or hear this October will be dominated with political ads.

So, the reason for this post is to propose three questions that may give haunters some assistance as they plan for 2008.

First, what impact do you think the economy will have on attendance this year?

Second, what are you planning to do with your advertising this year, in light of the political environment? Advertise more? less? the same? differently?

And, last, how has your attendance typically been in a general election year?


02-03-2008, 02:08 PM
I see the news about the economy as depressing, as do many others, but it seems that unless it has a direct impact on you, you pretty much ignore it. Like that old saying goes: a recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose yours. I think a lot of the bad news relates to the housing market. That's bad if you are losing your house or are in construction/real estate, but I think most other people will ride it out without too much inconvenience.

I have been thinking a lot about the election, and am working on some unconventional advertising approaches. I think many of our potential customers will be ignoring traditional media this year, turning the volume down during commercials and skimming through print media.

02-03-2008, 02:20 PM
Try to get a politician to visit your haunt! ;) -Tyler

Jim Warfield
02-03-2008, 06:23 PM
"Try to get a politician to visit your haunt!?"

...I suggest Adolf Hitler, charisma, energetic, truthfull (sort of?) a snappy dresser(nice color contrasts, black swastika against white with a red boarder, brown uniform, black belt, black knee length books..
There would be a long line at his autograph table, you can bet on it!
"Dolf! is that your breifcase under the table?"?

(Don't place time bombs under his table it just makes him mad! ..and hard of hearing.)

I think this entire country has gotten a much grimmer outlok on life ever since
I heard Menards lumber is now beginning to sell grocerys. Gotta have something to sell.
Menards-37,000 employees-200 stores?
Home Depot-370,000 employees 1,400? stores
Lowes -? - 800? stores.
The article I read these numbers from might be a little out of date but it still provides an idea of how many people rely upon the building trades and do it yourselfer's for a living.

02-03-2008, 06:38 PM
did you just Godwin this thread, Jim? Yes you did.

Previous wisdom was about entertainment venue income being inversely proportional to the economy. During bad times, people need entertainment.

this will be offset by the gas prices, so more local venus will be attended rather than distant ones.

It was also said that war is good for the economy. that did not hold true this time.

so where it goes is anyone's guess.

02-03-2008, 07:20 PM
I've always heard that bad times are relatively good for home improvement stores. People won't be buying new or moving up so they have to keep the home they have in good repair.

02-03-2008, 08:38 PM
Not surprised. Discretionary for luxuries such as trips would be spent more on home improvement and local amusements.

And of couse if you have a disaster such as Katrina, there is a run on plywood there :)

Greg Chrise
02-03-2008, 09:00 PM
Yes, after a few decades of relative comfort, they will need the home improvement stores. Especially when they have to take the front of the house off to get out the 600 pounders just to repaint the living room.

There's a new Home Depot commercial. You Can Do it! We can Help.

They will actually get Oprah to talk them thru it on the TV set. They will have Paul Harvey talk them thru it on the radio. As there are millions it's not really a mis use of the TV and radio.

So far, I have had to bust my tail to stay the 10 pounds over what I weighed in high school. I don't know how they do it. I can't afford that much food. I guess they have been just sitting still not effected by gas prices. Creating their own gas.

It seems to be what is on the TV. Lose lots of weight, paint a room in your home yourself, see Oprah, she's giving money away. Let's build a home and give it to people.

Where's my free food, money, home? Yeah send me on vacation for a week while they build me a house. Maybe when the TV goes out in Febuary 2009 as it goes digital I will leave it out?

So when you as one of the 116 million get your $300 to $600 what will you spend it on?

I'm pretty sure I already spent 3 times that this year just trying to keep things going. Extra dollars for gas, higher food cost in smaller packages. As a result employees demanding they work 60 hours a week doing nothing just to make it?

Yet in the file footage, and stock photos, I notice the lines in the 1929 depression to get soup, everyone is kind of over dressed like they are going to church or something.

Maybe in honor of this historic post, I will have mashed potatoes for dinner.

Jim Warfield
02-03-2008, 10:13 PM
The veiw from this little corner of the world shows me that as recently as 35 years ago if you wanted a better paying job with better benefits and you lived in this county all that you had to do was to drive 25 to 30 miles(one-way) and there was your job..not true anymore, infact I really don't know where most of the people around here work anymore because all of those jobs are gone now.
I am referring to about 6 major companys , railroads and a military base that had been a base since 1917.
The population of every little town in this county has also dropped quite a bit, except for the coyote population, they punch in for work on third shiftless almost every night, then just have morale building group sing alongs.
I hate to break it to them, I doubt if one of those talent shows on Tv will be auditioning around here.
They have the singing down, now they should work on those dance steps to keep the rifle bullets guessing.

02-03-2008, 10:40 PM

02-04-2008, 03:46 AM
Just remember, all great empires are destroyed and brought to it's knees by destroying it's currency! With our dollar falling like a rock, our economy on the brink of recession, and inflation only shooting up... I predict and national bankruptcy coming and this great empire, yes, the USA, coming to it's knees!

Unless of course we do something about it! But nothing has "really" changed over the past 20-30 years! So, oh well... -Tyler

02-04-2008, 05:29 AM
I will vote Republican NO MATTER who runs against a Democrat. If you're a small business owner, much like MOST haunt vendors and haunt owners you need to take a close listen to what Democrates want to do with wages. They want to raise that baby up to $9.25 or something like that. They want to create jobs but that does nothing but run jobs out of this country into others.

I'll never vote for a Democrate ever...

As for the election, hey when Clinton's run was winding down the ecomony went bad, I think for fear of something new. As bad as Bush has made our country look in the eyes of the WORLD, you have to admit a few things about the guy. He took over a bad economy from Clinton and turned it around quickly. The entire time Bush has been President, the nations economy has been great! I think Bush will get the economy fixed up here and everything will be fine.

Bush has also cut taxes to record lows, and he's talking about even more tax cuts, and they've got the price of a barrel of oil down as well for fears of world wide slow down. Personally I think everything will be fine.

But the real problem come this October will be that marketing prices could be higher than normal because everyone running for some kind of election buy up spots. That is always a problem in an election year and this year will be no different.

Look out for that.


02-04-2008, 05:32 AM
One other thing to any vendor our there...

The dollar is SOOOO LOW, that this is the time to sell overseas. You should be pushing hard to make sales to overseas clients. I have clients buying right now because they can get about 2 American dollars for one Euro. To them they're getting a 50% discount right now...


We landed a HUGE job in London not long ago because of the WEAK dollar!

It was the TALK of IAAPA. See European coaster companies for example can't sell ANYTHING to US theme parks because they have to pay double right now, and this is why US coaster companies are in demand.

Don't buy from Europe just sell, sell, sell...lol


02-04-2008, 11:16 AM
Beg to differ on the coaster assesment. The slowdown is delayed by a year and does not affect 2008 installations.

European coasters going to the US right now:
Mall of America: Intamin half pipe coaster
Six Flags Great America, Great Adventure, New England, 3 Mack wild mouse coasters.
Hersheypark: Intamin custom
Hard Rock park: Bolliger & Mabillard sitdown (Led Zeppelin, the ride)
Hard Rock park is also purchasing 3 more coasters, 2 from Vekoma and 2 from Premier Rides
Darien Lake: Zamperla Motocoaster
Knotts Berry Farm: Zamperla motocoaster
Nickelodeon Uniuverse, Minnesota: Gerstlauer coaster
Six FLags over Texas and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom are recieving Gerstlaur spinning coasters

These are all brand new European rollercoaster builds. I cut out several relocates and American company designs.

SOURCE: http://www.rcdb.com/ir.htm?opened=2008&status=9,13

If there is a slowdown, we will see it in next year installations as the new contracts written for the most will be for next year. The above coasters would have been signed the year previously.

Randy Bates
02-04-2008, 11:39 AM
I have seen attendance actually rise in poor economic environments. I do think that we will need to purchase ad space way in advance of the fall elections. I have already contacted my primary advertising outlets, and am setting aside times for this year. Another thing you can do is advertise to your local areas by stating that you are located just minutes away. We have a large number of haunted attractions in my market, but I am located closer to the city of Philadelphia and the surounding suburbs. I try to market to the surounding towns that are within 50 miles. With gas prices staying high, people may stay closer to home.

02-04-2008, 11:50 AM
Destination resort spending would suffer but local spending would increase. Marketing local is smart, especially if you can stress that, such as a promotion based on local zip codes (Disneyland used to do that, give a ticket pricing cut based on being local).

02-04-2008, 04:59 PM

I must respectfully dissagree... Bush has done NOTHING good for our economy. When Bush came into office we had:

-A $2 Trillion debt, that's now up close to $9 Trillion.
-Ever falling dollar
-Rise in un-employment (small rise, but .5% is something like 250,000 jobs!)

and worst of all...


Right now we sit on a 6-7 TRILLION dollar debt to China alone. We are borrowing nearly 1.5-2 billion dollars A DAY from China to pay for the War in Iraq. Our government is also overspending our tax dollars... let me explain:

-First we pay to blow up bridges in Iraq... then pay MORE to build them up again... all the while our own bridges are falling down!!!

-We currently occupy 138 countries including: Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Korea, Russia, Cuba... etc. etc. Studies have PROVEN that if we brought home EVERY SOLDIER from EVER COUNTRY we would save close to $2 TRILLION dollars a year! Yet, we are currently building 3 bases in Iraq that are bigger than the Vatican!

-We are overtaxed, and you believe we are getting "tax cuts". Here is a very short list of the most common taxes we pay: City/State/Fed., Social Security, Gas, Property, Sales, Tips, Inflation Tax, School, Utilities and most UNCONSTITUTIONAL... an INCOME TAX!!!

I have a challenge for anyone on this board... SHOW ME A LAW REQUIRING AN AMERICAN TO PAY A TAX ON THEIR INCOME! If you can I will give you $100! I'm dead serious!

And I bet you won't be able to because there IS NO LAW that says you MUST pay a tax on your income... and people thing we're getting a "tax cut"... whatever! Bush's new "tax plan" will only HURT our economy more. Sure, some extra cash is good, but it won't help. The problem is not that Americans DON'T have money, it's just that our government is SPENDING money we don't have!

Most likely people will get their "check" from the government and go buy something cool and nice that they've always wanted. Sure ok... but most likely they will buy something made in China... which is lending us money to pay for Iraq... so our money, going to China, will be sent right back to us as new debt! Clear as mud right? Odds show that you have a 70% chance of buying something from China than anywhere else! So in reality and the way the economy works, this "tax cut/rebate" will only hurt us MORE!

Thank god I took a political science and a economics class! -Tyler

Jim Warfield
02-04-2008, 07:22 PM
Was it over 100 years ago that everyone agreed that there were only two economists alive who really understood finances? ..and they disagreed?
Almost any calamity of money always creates opportunity for someone else.
Just as the cave man had to hunt everyday, certain hunting grounds wither and new ones have to be found.
Kurt Vonnegut(sp?) said something like: "Humanity is like an iceberg of meat, eating and destroying everything in it's path."
We can't toally blame Bush.
Other voices tell him what to do , now whether those voices belong to some very wealthy, controlling people or belong to little green worms inside of his head, we have yet to determine.
(Maybe very wealthy, little green head-worms?)

"Autopsy! Autopsy! Can I get an autopsy over here?"

02-04-2008, 07:37 PM
I didn't start this post to stir up a political can of worms, so in an effort to bring it back on point, I think Randy is really the only one who answered some of the orginal questions. Not to discount the discussion, which has been interesting, but perhaps a new topic "Haunters Political Views", that one should get some action!

So here are the original questions again.

"So, the reason for this post is to propose three questions that may give haunters some assistance as they plan for 2008.

First, what impact do you think the economy will have on attendance this year?

Second, what are you planning to do with your advertising this year, in light of the political environment? Advertise more? less? the same? differently?

And, last, how has your attendance typically been in a general election year?"

Randy, thanks for the feedback, I agree with you on securing your advertising well in advance this year. How has your attendance typically been in an election year, have you noticed any trends?


02-07-2008, 08:08 AM
As if the elections aren't scary enough!!!!!
I think you have to remember that a lot of the target audience for haunted houses are teenagers or college age kids who's mommies and daddies are worrying about the economy for them. The kid's still have money to spend at local haunts because daddy's visa card pays for the gasoline in the $30,000 vehicle they got for a graduation gift.

Jim Warfield
02-07-2008, 08:59 AM
The headline this morning is about stores in New York taking "Euros" instead of dollars......any hints as to what this may mean?
Those New York stores are so lucky, I'll probably be forced to take bushels of corn and first-born.