Non-traditional cures for summertime marketing blues

Reaching people by traditional media in the summer can be difficult. Your audience may be on  vacation or enjoying the outdoors near home but away from their screens and mailboxes. Fortunately, there’s still time to reach them via some non-traditional outdoor advertising. Whether at the shore or the ballpark you’ve certainly noticed some creative skywriting, banners, blimps, etc. vying for your attention. The question is, are they worth the investment? They must be paying off for someone. Here’s what we know.



If you want a modern airship like one of the 246-foot Goodyear Blimps, be prepared to shell out $21 million. Most advertisers simply rent a blimp from AirSign that gives them a flying 128-foot billboard with a price range of $200k to $400k per event. Mind you, these are piloted airships with custom skins that are typically reserved for big-budget brands. The return? Besides undeniable visibility that you can’t turn off like a banner ad or TV spot, brand teams are able to measure impact on social where airships produce thousands to tens of thousands of photo and video posts.

Airship not in your budget? Perhaps a smaller, remote-controlled blimp or other advertising balloon is more appropriate. According to, an outdoor blimp and operator starts at $1,400 per event. Indoor blimps give you the added option of custom designed shapes which may be even more photo-post-worthy and unique to your brand.



According to there are only between 3-5 skywriting aircraft or skywriters currently in the United States. Regular old skywriting, which uses a single plane to write 6 -8 characters, starts at about $2,500 per writing. You can always upgrade to skytyping, which uses a computer-controlled method involving multiple planes that can write messages of up to 35 characters – so long as you have a budget above $6,000.


Sky Banners (most economical)

Flying banners remain the best bang for your buck. Although they may not seem as memorable as watching a skytyping team scroll a message across the great blue yonder, aerial advertising is known to have a 75% retention rate. also claims that a week-long marketing campaign can successfully reach between 70-80% of you or your client’s target market oftentimes at a cost of under $3.00 per thousand.


Other outdoor gems

Many agencies and brands work with Alt Terrain®, a company that specializes in non-traditional marketing vehicles, to develop campaigns that include:

  • Sponsored food trucks
  • Bike share advertising
  • Human billboards
  • Mobile showrooms
  • Guerilla projection


Imagine combining a few of these tactics to dominate an event such as a street festival. People arrive via bikeshare with your brand riding along with them. As they enter the festival, your remote controlled blimp floats by inviting people to cool off with some free ice cream at your sponsored food truck. At the ice cream truck, your audience enjoys treats wrapped in your brand including an especially cool offer — that’s sure to make a lasting impression.

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