In December I wrote about my recent visit to Niagara’s Winter Festival of Lights, and said that I would follow up on a comment I made about the marketing of the event. Well, here it is.
My mom and dad brought us to Niagara when we were kids, before the Festival of Lights was a “thing”. Then it became a “thing” and we enjoyed the displays of the saluting mounties, and kids building an igloo…. rams butting heads and ice skaters. And Noah’s Ark, of course. We were KIDS, mind you.
Then Disney came along and we watched it grow, and grow, and GROW. We were adults by then, and, despite the fact that they were ads for the entertainment giant, we loved the displays. They obviously had an appeal for kids. We would park and walk through the field and admire them up close.
Which brings us to 2014. While the multitude of Christmas Trees was lovely, we had no incentive to park and wander any closer. To me – that’s lost revenue for Niagara Parks! No parking fee and no sales at the gift shops (that were a great place to warm up). Maybe maintaining the often-muddy field was an issue, and they only want to offer a “drive by” experience from now on. Many Light Festivals are just that, anyway.
Now, my second thought… what appeal is there for kids in a giant Buffalo or Moose or Deer? The animated Goose was pretty cool….but what about the giant banana (as my niece called it)?
As I stated in a prior post – I’m a graphic designer, so I get and admire what went into those displays. They are beautiful. But from a marketing angle, I’m confused. To me, light displays have to have something that interests kids. Do the more sophisticated gold displays have more of an appeal to the people that the Casino draws?
Maybe I’m being unfair… the folks taking donations at the end of Dufferin said it’s a 5-year work in progress. I’m just not sure where they are headed, or the demographic they are trying to draw.
How do you feel about the new direction of the Winter Festival of Lights?