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Balloon Advertising

Balloon advertising can take a number of forms, the choice dependent on your budget and the aims of your campaign:

  • Hot Air Balloons and Blimps
  • Cold Air Inflatables
  • Hand-Held Balloons

Hot Air Balloons and Blimps

Research in the US shows that branded hot air balloons are up to 5 times more effective at attracting attention than any other form of media.

The cost ‘per thousand opportunities to see’ is also lower than any of the mainstream forms of advertising.

Blimps are similar to hot air balloons except that they are surprisingly easy to use. Blimps simply need to be filled up with helium, attached to a secure point, before being released into the sky.

Aside from the cost-effectiveness when it comes to generating awareness, other advantages of advertising using hot air balloons and blimps include:

  • Specific locations can be targeted
  • Viewed positively by people
  • PR spin-offs
  • Creates a sense of ‘buzz’ about your brand
  • Can be featured on marketing literature, such as calendars

The public relations benefits are often overlooked but can be significant. Balloons and blimps create widespread awareness, including capturing the attention of journalists. When combined with a marketing stunt or an interesting press release significant editorial coverage can be obtained, further reinforcing brand awareness.

When comparing hot air balloons and blimps, hot air balloons are more flexible, in that they can be used at promotional events to transport guests and can move around to target a wider area. However, these benefits are countered by significantly higher costs.

This type of balloon advertising is excellent for creating brand awareness but there’s no call to action. When building a brand it’s an excellent tool but for small businesses it may not generate the required sales.

Cold Air Inflatables

A cold air inflatable can be likened to hot air balloon that remains on the ground. They are large inflatable objects which can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

They are highly visible as they’re positioned at eye level, and are ideal for promotional events.

Compared to hot air balloons cold air inflatables tend to be cheaper, less hassle in that no permission is required to set them up, and they tend to make a bigger impact where they are located.

However, hot air balloons are better at creating widespread awareness, simply because once up in the sky they can be visible across a whole town.

These differences give rise to the generalisation that hot air balloons are often used on their own as a form of promotion, whereas cold air inflatables are almost always used as part of a wider promotional activity or event.

Hand-Held Balloons

Smaller localised businesses can effectively utilise balloon advertising through handing out branded balloons to children at local fairs, events, or along high streets.

Everyone knows that frequency is a key part of advertising. Few people will act after seeing a message once but when seen many times they may take action.

Through handing out balloons to children you’re handing out something of enjoyment value whilst also reinforcing your company message every time parents look at the balloon.

Therefore if you have a local service or a product aimed at children handing out branded balloons can be a very effective promotional tool.

Balloon Advertising Costs

Hot air balloon advertising costs are determined by the type and size of balloon, the exposure required, and the location being targeted.

Blimp advertising tends to be considerably cheaper, with size being the main factor affecting the price.

In general, manufacturing a hot air balloon from scratch can cost from £10,000 to £70,000, depending on the artwork and shape of the balloon. The operating cost is then £500 to £1,500 per day.

Blimps are considerably cheaper, with a 15 foot basic blimp available to purchase for around £500. In addition to that there’s the cost of helium and the cost of monitoring the blimp throughout each day.

To produce 1,000 hand-held branded balloons would cost around £100 – £150, with helium being another £150.

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