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Family Entertainment: Merlin Invests £17.5m in London Eye


As part of its commitment to continuously invest in its portfolio of brands, global visitor attractions operator Merlin Entertainments (Merlin), unveiled the second part of an £17.5m, 3 year programme for its premier UK attraction – the London Eye.
This follows an announcement earlier this year that Merlin was investing £12.5m in the 3 years leading up to the 2012 Olympics in upgrading all of the capsules on the London Eye – providing greater comfort and technology to enhance the visitor experience of the attraction.
A pioneering new £5m bespoke 4D cinematic Experience, underlining the unique location and London Eye experience, will add real value and a new dimension for visitors before they take their iconic flight.   Breathtaking aerial footage – combined with 3D technology with realistic cutting edge 4D sensory effects like wind, snow and even smell – will make visitors feel like they are ‘really there’ as they lose themselves in events such as London’s spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks; and view London from above in a way which very few experience……highlighting the unique perspective and excitement only the Eye can offer – day or night.   
New show, new look, new name…..The Merlin Entertainments London Eye
Accommodating the new 4D cinema has also meant an impressive refurbishment of the London Eye’s ticket hall and information areas showcasing an exciting new brand identity for the attraction which for the first time will underline its ownership – adding the quality endorsement of the Merlin name – The Merlin Entertainments London Eye.
The use of Merlin Entertainment’s name in association with one of the Group’s best known attractions, underlines Merlin’s increasing public profile and its position at the world’s No 2 visitor attraction operator.  The most dynamic company in the leisure industry, it is also an example of Merlin’s commitment to continuously invest in its portfolio of 59 attractions while still pursuing an aggressive programme of new site openings.
Commenting Merlin Entertainment’s CEO, Nick Varney said: 

 “This very significant investment programme not only reflects our confidence in the London leisure market, but also marks a new phase in the development of The Merlin Entertainments London Eye, underlining its position as one of the primary attractions in the Merlin Group.    Already a global icon and symbol for London, and the Capital’s No 1 paid for visitor attraction, it is nearly 10 years since the Eye first turned on London’s South Bank.  The new 4D cinema, and other changes will provide an even more exciting experience not just for first time visitors, but to encourage others to come back and ‘fly’ the Eye again. “
“For Merlin it makes perfect sense to raise our own profile in our home market, and overseas, by publicly linking ourselves with one of our key global attractions at this time.  Not least to complement our other Group marketing initiatives like the introduction of the Merlin Annual Pass for example, offering unlimited entry to our 21 UK attractions for 12 months.
This investment follows Merlin’s £5m refurbishment of the SEA LIFE London Aquarium earlier this year; and precedes some major and very exciting developments planned for Madame Tussauds, London for 2010, as well as new investment plans for the London Dungeon.
First Ever TV Campaign for Merlin Entertainments London Eye
Helen Bull, Marketing Director for Merlin Entertainment Group’s (Merlin) London Midway Attractions, comments “The new branding represents the beginning of a new chapter for the Merlin Entertainments London Eye (London Eye).  Almost ten years on from the dramatic launch of the attraction in 2000, the London Eye is clearly established as one of not only London’s, but the country’s most iconic and popular landmarks.  This journey is cleverly reflected in the dynamic and bold new branding, bringing to life the engaging and colourful personality of the attraction.      We’re also very excited to be airing our first ever TV advert for the London Eye as part of a major support campaign for the new show.  This will air from this weekend, throughout the rest of August, primarily in the London and South East.   It will even star some of our very own Merlin employees!”    The ad has been produced by Manchester based design agency, frank.
The new branding/logo (see below) was designed by independent, multi-disciplinary LMC Design agency.  Inspired by feedback from visitors to the Merlin Entertainments London Eye and other qualitative research, LMC used this consumer insight to ensure that the new branding directly represents visitors’ personal experiences and understanding of the London Eye.      Commenting, Creative Director of LMC Design, David Johnstone, said, “We were delighted to be given the opportunity to re-invigorate one of the capital’s most iconic landmarks. The brief really was a designer’s dream, and a hugely enjoyable project to be part of."
MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS GROUP is the leading name in location based, family entertainment, and has seen the most successful and dynamic growth of any company in the sector over the last five years.   The world’s second largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin has 59 attractions, 6 hotels and two holiday villages in 13 countries, across 3 continents.   The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 35 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and 13, 500 employees.  
Merlin Entertainments operates the following attractions – SEA LIFE – the world’s biggest aquarium brand, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK, Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo, Heide Park, and Earth Explorer.  All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit for more information.

See also:
Family Entertainment: 4D takes the London Eye to a new dimension
Amusement Parks: Merlin Entertainments Group Continues Strong Growth Record
Amusement Parks: Merlin Entertainments the Fastest Growing Private Company in the UK
World Leadership through People and Creative Ideas : An interview with Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments Group

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