Putting Your Unique Stamp on It
Coast to Coast Offers Custom Cranes to Grow Customer Loyalty & Revenue
Branding. You know it works or you wouldn’t see major companies spending thousands and millions of dollars on it annually. But what a lot of people either don’t know … or don’t realize … is that you don’t have to be one of the big boys, or have a big budget, to make it work.
That’s where Coast to Coast comes in with their new custom-branded cranes. They made a big splash introducing the concept at this year’s Bowl Expo and just days later, followed up at Amusement Expo.
Said Tony Maniscalco, executive VP of sales and marketing for the Elaut Group USA’s of companies that includes Coast to Coast, Benchmark Games and Elaut USA, “Companies pay thousands and, in some cases, millions of dollars creating and developing their brand. It is who they are and how consumers identify with them. McDonald’s has the golden arches, Nike its swoosh and Apple has, well, the apple with the bite taken out of it. This branding helps drive consumer traffic to the stores where customers ultimately buy their products.”
While it’s not a new concept, it’s important to understand that it’s not limited to major consumer corporations and it’s trending in the amusement industry.
“Quite honestly, custom branding has been around a long time. We didn’t invent it but what we are doing that’s special is creating awareness that a facility is neither too big nor too small to take advantage of the concept. Branding should be used to its maximum advantage whether that’s using their logo or mascot wherever possible or, in some cases, in a way that has nothing to do with the specific location, like having an arcade basketball game featuring a local or pro team logo.”
Even though it’s not new, it is trending in the amusement industry, he repeated. Readers have likely noticed custom-branded prize merchandise at the redemption counter or, during the pandemic, themed graphics and logos on hand-sanitizer stations. “Facilities that ordered custom hand sanitizers wanted their facility to be recognized not only as a fun place to be, but also one that is consciously aware that the safety of their visitors is paramount. Sometimes it’s the little things people remember and having the company name well placed on a product etches that into memory,” he said.
“LBE and FEC chains all have a recognizable logo or mascot. Anyone driving down the highway can see the big, brightly lit, blue circular sign with three characters –– D&B –– and know it to be Dave and Buster’s. Anyone seeing America’s most recognizable rodent –– no, not Mickey Mouse –– on the façade of the building knows it’s a Chuck E Cheese facility. It’s all about creating consumer awareness.”
For Coast to Coast, they felt the best way to create awareness was at the industry’s first big in-person event since the start of the pandemic, Bowl Expo.
“We know most bowling center owners are generational, having spent many years developing their brand, cultivating their clientele and expanding their businesses. With that knowledge, we thought what better group to introduce our custom cranes to than the BPAA members? We were fortunate to have three bowling centers –– Alley Cats, Blue Fusion and Rule 3 –– allow us to create a crane with their logos and visions. These centers were blown away with the finished product. More importantly, their peers in the industry were eager to find out how they could get their own. Mission accomplished!”
Maniscalco reported that early orders backed up that enthusiasm. “In most cases, you have to wait a couple of weeks to get orders from a show, but we wrote 10 orders right on the show floor and, as we speak, another 10 since then. We’re all in!”
And to really carry it home, he said the company’s “Plush Ninja,” Paula Rinker, has a merchandise line where the operators can place logoed t-shirts on the stuffed animals as well as award tickets that can be redeemed at the redemption counter. Concluded Maniscalco, “A custom toy, especially out of a branded crane, is a vehicle to allow players to take a little bit of the location home with them. It reminds the visitor where they had their fun. You can’t put a price on that kind of advertising making its way to the player’s home.”
The crane is 32”W x 34”D x 75”H, though Coast to Coast can also customize cranes measuring 38”W x 37”D x 7 5.5”H, depending on the needs of the customer. Features include: steel coin doors, optional free-play button, and chasing LED lights that create an attractive light show to draw attention to the machine.
For more information on the custom cranes, contact your Coast to Coast distributor or contact either Jimmy Chaps (630-258-3058; email [email protected]) or Jeff Tash (314-322-8274; email [email protected]). To connect with Paula Rinker about the special plush line, email [email protected] or phone 561-588-5200 ext. 720. Visit the Elaut Group online at www.elaut-group.com.