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12.06.2013 - Ausgabe: 3/2013

Angry Birds making playground

Särkänniemi is a 42 year old theme park with 550.000 visitors, located in a beautiful lakeside in Tampere, Finland.


When Särkänniemi Adventure park was looking for a new thing to boost their visitor numbers, it decided to join “the fly” of Angry Birds after a long and intensive thinking process to find a best possible way to boost its numbers and enhance guest experience. Angry Birds Land at Särkänniemi has been a great success. It is a “park inside a Theme Park” meaning that it is a part of a theme park with own gates thus being an own entity.

“We wanted to have a well known brand with strong characters, visuals and interactivity that is becoming more and more popular all over the world. And Angry Birds attracts to very wide democraphic group, which was also important,” says Miikka Seppälä, the CEO of Särkänniemi.

Angry Birds come from the gaming world, which is part of childrens daily lifes nowadays, but it was not utilized in theme parks or outdoor play. Angry Birds as well as being creative in the online gaming world, is focusing on families being together and on engouraging them to exercise, which is important.

“I had a feeling that the worlds first Angry Birds Land would be a success, but the international hype has been enormous. Our statistics from meltwater news show that we have had articles that cover over (one billion) readers and tv channels like CNBC, CNN, CCTV, Sky news and many others have been covering it. The hype has been so huge, that I was actually worried that how visitors would react to Angry Birds Land at Särkänniemi, but everybody loved it. We do intense customers satisfaction surveys, and actually our numbers in old attractions have gone up as well,” Seppälä says.

Angry Birds Land at Särkänniemi has a footprint of around one hectare and the center piece is a playground manufactured by Lappset. It also includes 12 amusement park rides, some of theme new, like the mini-drop tower, and some of them re-themed. There’s also two snack kiosks, amusement park games, and an Angry Birds shop with retail merchandise.

“The fast and precise way Lappset reacted to our needs and develop the playground to fit our vision and needs was phenomenal, especially concidering the very tight schedule that we had, was great. It is more than the playground actually, it is a whole entity.” Seppälä says. “The playground is Angry Birds activity park, and it has built to look like one game level of Angry Birds. It there the children will play “with Angry Birds” and the story is backed with intensive theming, sounds, interactivity and even water surprises. Probs provide photo opportunities for guests thus enhancing the experience. The probs are three dimensional with high visual effects. The playground is a multilevel adventure playtrail with a high hourly capacity. I wanted children, and adults as well, to feel that they are no longer in Tampere. The story is that the bad guys, the pigs, have taken over the Angry Birds Land and the park. The birds need help of the guests, and especially the children, to save the day.”

The numbers with the new Angry Birds Land at Särkänniemi has been impressing. The total number of visitors in Särkänniemi went up by 55.000 visitors. And Angry Birds Land has only about one hundred operating days on summer due to climate. What is more important, the number of international guests went up significantly. Angry Birds Land at Särkänniemi had visitors from Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe, especially from England, but a significant number of visitors also from Asia, especially China, but also from Korea, Hong Kong and India.

“Särkänniemi has being well known and has a solid customer base, but only domestic customers, but now we have being attractive to foreign customers as well. And not only tourists that are visiting Tampere or Finland, but also customers who travel to Finland because of us,” says Seppälä.

The retail and merchandise was also a success. The sales of the retail went up by 58%, being something that Särkänniemi hadn’t seen before. Especially popular were plush toys and Särkänniemi co-branded, exclusive apparel. Angry Birds merchandise include a wide variery of products from soft drinks and candy to all sorts of souveniers to iPad covers. Angry Birds Shop is located below the Adventure course, and it is themed to be part of it. Located conveniently and being themed into the story, it attracted some many visitors, that on the busy days it actually had visitors waiting in line to get in.

“The merchandise and retail has being a success in financial terms, but more importantly, it has also had a significant impact to our customer satisfaction, which was bit of a surprise to me. Seems that customers are more happy when take can take home something tangible from their visit as well and rememorize their happy moments in our park.” Miikka Seppälä says.


Miikka Seppälä
Fotos: Tampereen Särkänniemi Oy / Särkänniemi Adventure Park

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