Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney says this is the “perfect time” to raise Merlin’s profile in line with the flagship attraction, which is undergoing a three-year £17.5m investment programme.
There will be cross-promotional activity involving Merlin’s 20 other attractions, which include Madame Tussauds, Legoland, Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Sea Life London Aquarium. The strategy will also incorporate the Merlin Annual Pass, which was launched in March with the company’s first corporate advertising campaign.
The London Eye has been unbranded since it parted company with British Airways in February 2008. Extensive talks followed with various interested parties, including Virgin Atlantic, which declared at the time it was keen to take over from BA but no deal was struck. Varney says he thinks it is “very likely” another sponsor will come on board during the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The London Eye is undergoing extensive upgrading. The capsules are being refitted to provide greater comfort and new technology is being installed to enhance the experience for visitors.
This week a £5m 4D cinema is being unveiled, which the company says will “add value and a new dimension” for visitors before they take their flight on the Eye.