Hot on the heels of Kate Winslet and Slumdog Millionaire’s success in Hollywood, the Brits have done it again. Purple Circle, the Nottingham-based branding and graphic design studio has just returned from Los Angeles with the themed entertainment world’s equivalent of the Oscars – a THEA.
THEA is an annual award ceremony for the Californian-based Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), celebrating the very best of themed entertainment throughout the world. The award is for Purple Circle’s work with BeWILDerwood – the children’s woodland adventure park in Hoveton, Norfolk. A truly worldwide organisation, all of the big players and many famous names in theme parks and live entertainment are members of TEA – Disney and Universal Studios to name but two.
This year’s award ceremony took place on 7th March at the Disneyland Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Purple Circle’s BeWILDerwood entry was the only British theme park receiving an accolade, and was one of only two European attractions recognised. Other winners for 2009 included the teams behind the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics and The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood.
John Lyle, Director of Purple Circle, was very excited about the award; “We have known about the award for a few weeks now, but competition is fierce and the winners have to remain a closely guarded secret until the official announcement. To see our little adventure park rubbing shoulders with the likes of Disney is amazing; we believe in the BeWILDerwood brand heart and soul – of course – but it is still incredible that we have achieved such status in such a short time.”
Purple Circle has worked with BeWILDerwood since the park’s inception, creating not only the branding but also the theming and the tone for the entire attraction. The park has been a runaway success since it first opened its gates in May 2007; in 2008 it attracted over 140,000 visitors, a figure more than double the number projected.
Purple Circle operates as an integral part of the BeWILDerwood team, partnering them in all of their creative efforts, including the design of much of the merchandise that is sold through the park and online. This includes the popular children’s books ‘A Boggle at BeWILDerwood’ and ‘BeWILDerbats’ by Tom Bofled, the founder of BeWILDerwood.
John continued “Branding is far more than simply sticking logos on things; rather, it is about an organisation – however big or small – setting a tone for its entire communications and ensuring that the core values of the company pervade every aspect of the business. If you can do this, it doesn’t matter whether you are speaking to your team or to your customers, you can create a brilliant brand – even with a swamp to work with.
This award shows what compelling branding can do when you consider that BeWILDerwood, created on swamp and woodland on the edge of a small Norfolk village, captures the imagination of a worldwide organisation such as TEA, as well as those of British families. Our entry consisted of an eight-minute video letting the kids do the talking – showing them enjoying BeWILDerwood to the max – and we think this is what swung it for us (every pun intended!)”
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