Aerial advertising is advertising in the sky. It is most commonly known as, but not limited to, airplanes towing banners. It is used to advertise to crowded beaches, stadiums or high traffic areas. The message in the sky catches the eye of anyone within sight of the plane, therefore making the advertisement more susceptible to response.

Different Types of Ads

Even though airplanes are the most common type of aerial advertising, they are not the only one. There are several different types of banners the airplanes pull. According to **** , there are three types of banners. Aerial billboards are one they offer that are custom built by the customer. Another is letter banners where the message is plainly printed in letters and the last is a logo board which is a combination of the two. The logo flies first with the message following in letters. Another type of advertising is a **blimp** . These high fliers are used mainly at sporting or stadium events. Other examples include double-sided banners, hot air balloons, giant balloons and even **individually flown banners.**

Why use Aerial Advertising?

This is a non-conventional way for advertisers to get their messages out. It is one of the most successful ways to reach a large number of people at once. There is high response to aerial advertising. According to **Arnold Aerial Advertising**, "88% of people remembered seeing the airplane banner go by after 30 minutes, 79% could remember the product or service being advertised and 67% retained at least half the message from the ad." These ads are almost instantaneously effective and have a higher percentage of remembrance than any other media outlet.

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How much does it cost?

As with every media outlet, the prices of aerial advertising vary. There is usually a flat rate per hour to rent the planes and then extra costs for each different size banners and type of ad. Prices will also increase with the popularity of the event or location. AirSign Aerial Advertising offers discount rates the more hours a customer rents. Michael Arnold of Arnold Aerial Advertising states that "plane hourly rates start around $495 per hour thus making plane banners "more attractive" than the average TV spot."


Even though these ads are more cost effective, they do have their limitations. They are limited to the events or areas the planes fly over. The ads reach a large number of people but in secluded areas. One message can reach hundreds of thousands at one time but unlike a TV commercial, it cannot necessarily reach millions. One of the main concerns for aerial advertising is the limitation on creativity. With television there is room for creative expression and with radio advertising there is theater of the mind but aerial ads are limited to single messages and slogans. On the other hand, having a narrow message might in turn strengthen the message.


Scheduling aerial advertising depends on each company and what they offer. Arnold Aerial Advertising takes less time to create banners than At Arnold Aerial, they ask for a 3 day lead time to create the simpler banners. For the more complex ones, they ask for a 4 to 5 day lead time and at least 10 days for production., on the other hand, asks that the artwork be sent 8 days prior to the flight date and for special occassions or holidays, they ask that the artwork be sent at least 30 days prior. Each company has different lead times and scheduling should be assessed with the desired advertising company.

Reach, Frequency and Impact

The reach and frequency of aerial advertising vary and depend highly on the audience and/or event that are being advertised to. When an ad is flown over a crowded or congested area, the reach can get up to as much as 100%. The frequency will depend on the number of the times the ad is shown. But if the area has little traffic then the reach will significantly decrease as well as the frequency. Advertisers should aim to reach those highly congested areas because that is the best chance to advertise to the most people. The impact of aerial advertising is very high for those who have tried it. As mentioned previously, 67% of most audiences retain at least half of the message allowing the message to be remembered at a higher rate. According to Laura Petrecca with USA Today, an average person on a beach sees an ad for 12 to 17 seconds before it passes. Since aerial ads are short and concise, this allows the audience time to read the message more than once, adding to the message frequency.

Audience and Response

For an aerial ad, the audience is usually a large crowd of people. The planes and balloons are scheduled over designated areas that are filled with people. Usually this consists of crowded beaches, high traffic areas or stadiums filled for sporting or entertainment events. Seeing as these areas are so congested, the responsiveness is usually high. The audience is given more time to read and retain the ad. In some cases, it may cause an almost instant response. For example, a plane flies across a crowded beach towing an ad for a popular seafood restaurant . Someone who sees that may think seafood sounds good for dinner and that is where they decide to go to eat. The ads are simple and there is plenty of time to read them, leaving them in the minds of the audience longer than many other forms of advertising.

Success Stories

There have been numerous success stories with aerial advertising. To name a couple, Mike Olson, President of **Mike Olson Dodge** and Mike Young of Mike Young Motors have both had success with aerial advertising but with different companies. Mike Olson has worked with and stated he noticed "an increase in sales and phone traffic volume after the launch of their campaign." Mike Young, who has worked with Arnold Aerial Advertising, says their "car sales are way up" and Arnold Advertising played a big role in the success of their trial of aerial advertising.


As a whole, aerial advertising seems to be one of the best choices for non-conventional advertising. There has been a lot of noted success and it is beneficial in more than one way. As well as being inexpensive, it serves as a good medium for reaching large amounts of people at one time for extended periods. It is one of the best choices for building brand awareness and brand image.



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