01.09.2012

WINTER WONDERLAND - SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

Every year the exclamation that ‘Christmas is here’ is heard around the early November mark.

This season’s Christmas happenings began with discussions of Monty the Penguin versus the more topical, and potentially controversial, World War themed Sainsbury’s ad. Social media has been awash with debates of what brands can excite, delight and entertain the most.

This Friday the advancing Yuletide steps up a notch. Here is a pre-warning, anyone feeling the least bit Grinch-like should avoid Hyde Park for the next six weeks, because Winter Wonderland is coming to town. For those of you that can’t turn the festivities down, rest assured that you now know where to head to get your Christmas feels in gear.

Since it first opened in 2007 the Wonderland has been a hoho’ing success, and it seems that its growth in popularity is not slowing down: Last year the 3.5 million people walked through its festive gates.

Much of this is down to the wide range of attractions on offer, including the UK’s largest open air Ice Rink which measures in at 1,600m2, and a Christmas Market that offers enough Glühwein and glazed cashews to stave off any hunger to ever visit Hamburg.

Besides its newly added attractions, what is behind this event’s massive magnetism?

Christmas has the potential to bridge all demographics, and the Winter Wonderland capitalises on this brilliantly. It offers the ultimate Christmas brand experience, involving a strategy that is richer than simply splitting the attractions in to those for children and those for adults.

That is not to say that the more focused experiences don’t exist too – young children can visit Father Christmas in Santa Land (at no cost to their parents), and at the other end of the spectrum, numerous bars are on offer for the merry to dance, sing and indulge.

Yet careful consideration has taken place within Winter Wonderland’s event production to ensure that the attractions cater for a diversity of consumers. Zippo’s Christmas Circus is marketed as the perfect family experience, right down to the length of the show, which is masterfully capped at 45 minutes to ensure the sharp attention of the young. An alternative option is Cirque Beserk, again open to everyone, but this year with a VIP option; priced at £100 they buy a private box for four, along with champagne and chocolates. The new Ice Bar offers a free cocktail and a 40 minute stint in sub-zero temperatures, but it also invites children to enter in their borrowed cloak and gloves, and enjoy their (non-alcoholic) bev.

Winter Wonderland has truly and expertly captivated the true spirit of Christmas, in that it doesn’t exclude anyone. There are few events where an entire family or groups of widely ranging demographics can all enjoy the same experience, and it is a tough thing to master, so well done to them.

Perhaps more importantly though, particularly for those scraping the pennies, entry is free!

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