Relish the Difference at Six Flags

Six Flags' (NYSE: SIX  ) transformation into a family-friendly brand with household-name partners continues. The chain of regional amusement parks announced this morning that it would hook up with Sara Lee (NYSE: SLE  ) to make the diversified conglomerate's Ball Park hot dogs the official frankfurter of Six Flags.

The deal follows similar culinary moves last year, including partnerships with ColdStone Creamery and Papa John's (Nasdaq: PZZA  ) . Inedible pairings were also recently signed with Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) and Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK).

Why would an amusement park covet these deals, when folks can order a Papa John's pizza from home and pick up some Ball Park wieners at the grocery store for a lot less than in-park prices? Well, you're missing the point. Corporate sponsors will bend over backwards to get their products in front of the millions of guests that go through the turnstiles of any given park. You haven't lived until you've seen Pepsi (NYSE: PEP  ) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) duke it out for exclusive pouring rights at a theme park.

However, there is something even bigger at stake for a company like Six Flags, beyond ad revenue and attractive food pricing. Just as Six Flags was able to reach out to Papa John's patrons with localized ads on pizza boxes, the chain will now be promoted at the supermarket level with Ball Park packaging.

After balancing a dip in attendance last year with skyrocketing per-capita spending, enlisting other brands to do its marketing legwork is a brilliant plan to get Six Flags' turnstiles clicking again. Along with new themed attractions in several of its parks that play off popular kid-friendly brands like The Wiggles, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Tony Hawk, 2007 is shaping up as a promising year for the company.

In a battle of wieners and losers, let's see whether Six Flags can hit this one out of the Ball Park.

Further Foolishness that cuts the mustard:

Nintendo has been recommended for Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers. Coca-Cola and Home Depot have made the cut for Inside Value readers. Sara Lee is a former Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Fool newsletters free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys taking his family on coaster treks over the summer. He did his part by hitting Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Great Escape last year. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy strongly recommends that you keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.


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