Flying Billboard with wireless interactive marketing system
By Mike Hanlon
May 2, 2006
May 3, 2006 As the world of advertising continues to embrace new technologies, we will see some wonderous and compelling new ways to meet people who are selling what we need when we need it. Last week at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas American Blimp Corporation’s Lightship/Lightsign subsidiary unveiled a new advertising platform of sheer genius. We’ve seen a few media concepts of great foresight of recent times, but this promises the hamburger with the lot to advertisers. The A-170 Video Lightsign airship marks a new era of outdoor advertising, one that has been long heralded by scifi writers – flying electronic billboards. It has a high quality colour LED screen measuring 30' X 70' that can be used to broadcast live TV, Internet sites, stock tickers, slide shows or any other media. Indeed, the Lightsign has been designed with such an array of technologies in mind, that it’s really more an integrated marketing medium than an outdoor medium utilizing GPS tracking (changing the message to suit the audience below and the time of day), two-way communication with customers, text messaging and phone tie-ins. Modern materials and technologies now offer what was previously an almost cost prohibitive promotional platform into a very cost-effective, completely portable arsenal of sticky and very effective marketing technologies to target a mass audience or select demographic or any captive audience! Mark our words – this is big!
American Blimp Corporation subsidiary Lightship developed the first unit – the only ship of its kind in the world. It can be changed in real time so an advertiser could promote a breakfast product in the morning and a lunch or dinner entree in the afternoon or evening on the same LED sign without having to land to change the data. It also allows outdoor ad agencies to sell the same real estate to more than one advertiser -- generating more money for the agency, while lowering the cost per ad for individual advertisers.
"The key aspect of the Video Lightsign airship is that it enables us to offer the holy grail of Total Integrated Marketing utilizing a single medium," said Lightship Group’s Toby Page. "In other words, outdoor, TV, Radio, Internet, Print, PR, Event and Promotional marketing are all potential media avenues that can be accessed by the Lightsign airship. We have changed the traditional blimp media platform into a technologically advanced tool for the 21st century. The possibilities are endless, and the Sky really is the limit."
Sanyo has partnered with the Lightship Group for nine years on its blimp program and strongly believes in the concept. "The new A-170 Video Lightsign airship is the natural next step in the development of airships as a media tool, enabling true interaction with customers, and the activation of any marketing campaign. The Lightship Group has succeeded in taking airship marketing to a higher level to further deliver a positive Return on Investment for Sanyo in an increasingly competitive media environment. It is rare to discover an advertising medium that has never been tried before, but The Lightship Group has invented such a medium, and reinvented an industry." said Alan Foster, Vice President of Sanyo North America Corporation.
The Lightship Group has recently completed testing and FAA approval for the new ship and is seeking expressions of interest.
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