Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Potential WoL Ressurection Ideas, part 6

Welcome back, readers, and moving on from our issues with regards to the fallen health habits experience now undergoing the scalpel, it is far wiser to get back into the hypothesis and armchair imagineering theories that Wonders would have needed. From past issues of Operation: Imagineering, here are a few articles that you might have missed:
  1. The Interior (Design, Structure at a Glance)
  2. Music Playlist
  3. Floorplan, Attraction Categories
  4. Colour and Design Schemes
  5. Sponsorship and Character Involvement

As life from the other side of the blogosphere is beginning to become hectic, you may experience a slight slump in blog updates, but I must assure you that doesn't mean all operations have abandoned ship. Keeping in line with the pavilion image, we'll continue delving into pavilion image by a few things coming...

2. Pavilion Image

c. Pavilion Visibility

Now those of you who have learnt a few rules in the world of Imagineering (regardless of what set of interests or which division you're currently in), an important feature a typical future world pavilion would definitely need is visibility and exposure. Apparently, it was much earlier then that Wonders of Life was apparently meant to be placed between The Land and The Seas (during the time when the pavilion was to be dubbed Life and Health), rather than Universe of Energy and Mission: Space (or the Horizons grave, whichever you call it) where it remains today.

Of course, Future World East was favored as the left brained, mechanical side of things, while West was right brained and focused on the natural free flow of things. Wonders was chosen to be on the East side of Future World in regards to medical technology, as well as to promote the image of the human body as the remarkable machine. Apparently, there was one problem with regards to placement of the pavilion within the Future World area... and probably that was to do with how it's done.

For those of you who have been to Wonders of Life during trips to Epcot through the years, you may have noticed that the pavilion has become harder to spot (despite some telltale signs of its existence, including its own iconic genetic monument in front of the pavilion. And a whole lot more.
Apparently, while having trees outside the pavilion to spruce up its exterior a step higher sounds effective, it appears apparent that the trees were having some plans of their own (well, unintentionally for them, but sinister behind management intentions then), as documented through Imagineering Disney and its before and after shots...
As accessible in Imagineering Disney's "Then and Now of EPCOT Center"

Yes, purposely hiding the pavilion would have gave it an injurious blow in the form of dwindling visitor numbers, and hence that is what buried Wonders in the first place. All because of failure to prune the trees that had intentionally fenced Wonders on the inside.

With regards to improving the visibility of the pavilion, it would be a wise idea to slowly and gradually consider pruning the trees to a considerable and acceptable (non obstructive) height. Now, this would have to involve some maintenance work in between seasonal periods, and in order to ensure that nothing happens to the pavilion (Wonders and it's neighbor Energy) and the guests as they wander around Future World East, perhaps trimming down a few trees at a time would occur behind construction walls could be feasible (because felling one tree completely would be out of the question if you look at it completely).

Also, should the decision to have a life and health pavilion be accepted, it would be wise to probably bring back, or even give new meaning to, the iconic Tower of Life DNA monument that the majority of guests in their heydays have cherished so far. Some plausible effects for the strand monument might include some projection lights on the inside, and this might give some recognition and visibility space for the pavilion.

Updates to signage would likely be a possible remedy for visibility points. Looking back, advertising and titular signage for the pavilion morphed as follows below:
The initial arch signpost, from
Walt Dated World, Bravepages
The additional advertising sign, also
found on Walt Dated World, Bravepages
The present stack-pedestal sign,
also from Walt Dated World,

And from this, as we are focusing on the next generation way of helping the pavilion on its feet, it would be wise to consider the archway as an ideal signage for the exterior. (Keeping in mind that the previous arch is recycled for the Magic Kingdom tollbooth entrance, perhaps building it from scratch and in a highly different and recognizable way would be a possible solution.)

Of course, some advertising billboards for the pavilion, much like the uncanny head sign for Wonder's head attraction (hint dropping pun alert!) would have worked out fine, but for an interactive crowd, it would be a step forward to attempt the reaction with mobile devices operating on a directly obtainable free app. Sure, the application could be a different topic altogether, but let's assume you'll get a virtual map or passport of activities specific for the pavilion.
And now that we've covered the exterior for visibility points and how to get them back, let's get to the next necessary piece...

d. Advertising and Word of Mouth

Okay, so what I mean by advertising, I would mean a way to give the pavilion some much needed exposure to guests, both within the Happiest Place, and outside its borders (yep, and definitely overseas). With regards to advertising for the pavilion, while people back then would treat paper brochures for granted and just forget them or drop them or throw them out, some people consider them souvenirs and keep them as history records of their trips. Some of them are even obtainable on eBay for a decent (though lacklustre) price, just like this brochure once was...

Given the fact that MetLife was the former sponsor of the pavilion, you'd expect to find Snoopy and the Peanuts gang (their mascot group) advertising just a handful of the attractions, and even a holiday promotion. So far, the promotional brochure pictured is just one of the various ways the pavilion was advertised, as well as (humbly) some vacation planning video tapes. (It's apparent that since the 2003 update, any vague mention of Wonders of Life would have been the least prioritized). To find any mention on how the pavilion was advertised would have been a close call stroke of luck for a select few people.

But supposed that if the pavilion were finalized into working order, and it seems a soft opening is reasonable to successfully match the target audience expectations and pick out any bugs worth fixing up, prior to the grand opening. This worked with no problem for Wonders in '89 (compare that with Habit Heroes of recent yore, and from there it fell flat) and the exhibit opened to the public with high hopes. But imagine right now for a moment... how would the pavilion be advertised?

Print brochures are one prime form of in park advertising... apparently, park brochure presence in not just the parks, but their presence in hotel lobbies, guest relations outposts and even in the airports and travel agents, that explains the versatility of spreading the word towards possible guests into the parks, and hopefully into the attraction. But remember, that was '89, and nowadays, it's not just print used for advertising but today we have multimedia outlets (even social networking websites) to help spread the word across, and with a large group of people on social sites for their share of news and updates, we've found our niche now.

Contentwise, it would be of a good idea to not just put all the eggs into one attraction (for instance, Body Wars was done to death in the marketing corner), but also vary the focus on each of the attractions – for instance, one brochure could focus on the ride, while another could focus on another attraction highlight, and so forth. Giving the attraction highlights equal exposure, rather than dominance of one and leaving the rest in drips, would allow visitors the opportunity to visit some other attractions after experiencing one of them.

Outside park boundaries, even social media and ambient advertising methods would be used to their advantage. Prior to the inception of the blog, I have managed to look at a few other blogs dedicated to the most inventive ways advertising has taken a turn into. Innovation is Epcot's main focus when it comes to a Future World attraction and it's not just limited to "thrills and spills". Perhaps the audience deserves a taste of what's to come in the attractions, and even immersing people into the experience could be one way to introduce people to the attraction and it's highlights. I won't go into too much detail as of yet, but in summary, assuming the pavilion deserved a revival (that is, has been reconfigured, reImagineered, overhauled, fixed up and finally all ready and accounted for), this is what my thoughts would all point to:
  • Don't just put all your eggs in just one pavilion, leaving other possible attractions out of the picture. Give the other attractions equal share of the publicity, and tailor exposure depending on reception.
  • Consider the opportunity to immerse the audience into what to expect; give them a taste of what's to come in the exhibit
  • Briefly inform the audience about the attraction, to the point while still maintaining the 'wow' factor. Don't just sugar coat it with 'thrills and spills', though.
Following these principles, it would be hypothesized that if WoL were advertised towards these points, then perhaps it would have been wiser to have Buzzy as the main headliner host compared to Captain Braddock, but these are just assumptions for the while being. Besides, for the readers, your interpretation on advertising the pavilion may vary dramatically, but it's up to you.

And that is probably it for the section on pavilion image projection – that is, how it would be presented to the public, how would it be advertised, and even which sponsor, and even which supporting character could attract (or repel) the audience. If anyone has any comments, or has figured out what they would do in response to improving (or even putting on a whole new level) pavilion image and visibility, feel free to leave a comment below.

Until next time, readers!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Commenting is a very helpful method for the following reasons - to provide any information or thoughts on the subject, as well as critiquing or making suggestions. Please note that all comments are moderated, so please plan carefully. Also, if you enjoyed the article, feel free to share it with your friends!