Should Everything Dinosaur work with the Walking with Dinosaurs Arena Tour?
The “Walking with Dinosaur” arena spectacular is returning to the UK in December of this year. There will be a nationwide tour which will run until the middle of 2013. This is the second time this attraction has visited, the “Walking with” tour played to packed audiences back in the summer of 2009. We at Everything Dinosaur have followed this tour, in the media, as it has travelled around the world, we even went to one of the shows in Manchester during the 2009 tour. A few months ago, we were approached by one of the marketing agencies responsible for promoting this event and asked whether we were prepared to sell tickets to the shows on the Everything Dinosaur website.
Whilst we were flattered to be asked, naturally, we told that we would be paid a commission for every ticket sold via us, we politely turned down this offer. The ticket prices are high anyway and we felt that we would just not be comfortable associating our business, with commission being earned on ticket sales.
At Everything Dinosaur, we are a small team of dedicated people who genuinely care about what we do. Our passion for palaeontology and enthusiasm for our subject comes through and we do try to help our customers and offer what we think is value for money. We even provide lots of free advice and information in the Everything Dinosaur Blog.
When we saw the show back in 2009, we were impressed, the dinosaurs are indeed spectacular. We all went, a sort of Everything Dinosaur afternoon out. The consensus was that although we enjoyed the show, for a family seeing this it would prove to be a very expensive experience, especially when you consider that most museums with real dinosaur fossils are free to enter (long may this continue). As the lights dimmed and the show began, I happened to glance down at my watch, when the first part of the show was over, I noted that only forty-five minutes or so had passed. The second act, ending with the exciting visit of a Tyrannosaurus rex and a baby T. rex was not much longer. On the “Walking with Dinosaurs” own website, the organisers have been kind enough to list the approximate running time of the show. They state that it lasts about an hour and twenty minutes with a twenty minute interval. If you dig a little deeper (no palaeontology pun intended), in the FAQs the actual length of the show itself is given as ninety-six minutes. I guess this is like going to watch a Premier League football match in terms of the cost of the tickets and the duration of the actual action.
We have just been approached by a second marketing agency, keen to promote the “Walking with” tour. As Everything Dinosaur is staffed by teachers, and dinosaur experts, it is only to be expected I suppose, after all, we do know lots about dinosaurs and we have all seen the show. The London based agency has enquired whether we would be prepared to promote the tour by running a prize draw for our customers to win tickets, this could be promoted by online banners on the Everything Dinosaur website and via our e-newsletter and other communication media. For our co-operation the agency staff member generously offered to provide us with an allocation of tickets for our team members or for use in corporate entertainment – not that we do much corporate entertainment, unless of course you count taking a few people out with us on our fossil hunting expeditions.
Whilst, once again we are flattered to be asked, this approach has led to much debate amongst our team members. One of the other issues we had with the 2009 tour was the very expensive merchandise that was sold with the show. We know how keen the “Walking with” tour is to position itself as an educational experience, we commend them for their efforts in this direction. However, whether it is rock groups, festivals or dinosaur shows, there always seems to be huge expense involved for families. I think there are some family concession tickets available, but when we saw the show three years ago the ticket price was about £35 each person, the seats were close to the front of the arena and the view was excellent but similar tickets on sale for the 2013 tour are now priced at around £50. We baulked at the high prices back in 2009, the merchandise in particular upset us. We help design and we sell dinosaurs and prehistoric animal models ourselves, whilst we appreciate the costs of running such a show and the need to make money from merchandising it was very expensive – we wrote an article about this at the time:
To read our article (July 1st 2009): Walking with Dinosaurs/Dinosaur Live Merchandise Rip-off.
The question remains do we associate Everything Dinosaur, our little company with this arena spectacular? We are passionate about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals, to us this is the most important thing – whether it is helping a school girl with her “show and tell” project, sourcing rare dinosaur models for a collector or just answering all the questions we get on email from young dinosaur fans.
It just does not feel right, we are a commercial organisation ourselves, but we try our very best to help each and everyone of our customers, with high ticket prices, expensive merchandise and all that this involves in terms of the cost of a family day out, it does not feel that this event is something that we should be associated with.