What is the last frontier? Is it space as some claim? Is it the oceans? For advertisers, it may well be the sky. It is like an immense surface on which to write a message for all to see. In a way, the sky is the last frontier in advertising. Aerial advertising makes great use of this resource by displaying banners or billboards that are pulled behind planes over large crowds at a beach, sporting event or the like. This way the message is read by a large number of people in a very short time.

Not long ago aerial messages were mostly novelty announcements like wishing someone a happy anniversary or flying a proposal for marriage. But today most of the messages are advertisements for special events coming up, for products or services, or for a political candidate.

These banners or billboards are usually pulled behind airplanes though some with extra large billboards or banners have used helicopters also. Still others write their message on a blimp or use a remote controlled balloon to sell their product. Any way it is done, a message in the sky almost demands to be read by everyone aware of its presence. Advertisers have found aerial ads to be a low cost but effective way to get their message before a large audience quickly.

A more recent form of aerial advertising is night ads. These are lighted messages that can best be read once the sun goes down. One wonders if some of them might be reported as UFO’s though a quick read of the message shows it is genuine and often helpful information.

The display is made in the same way the message on the bank marquee is made, with lights forming the words or numbers. The computerized moving characters appear on the underside of the plane, from wing to wing. One company states the advertising message is displayed on a 36 foot long grid containing 252 lights. Each letter is eight feet tall.

The moving letters are about eight feet high and are made of high intensity individual lights. Like the bank sign, the message can blink on and off, can be made bold, can travel right or left, can scroll up or down, and can sweep right or left. By using a creative variety, the attention of the audience is kept as they wonder what else it will say.

This display, though not yet in color, has several advantages over daytime banner ads. The preparation of the message is just a matter of typing the words or numbers into the computer. The message can be repeated or reworded for variety. There is no need for risky low level flying to get the message into the air as with banners.  The aerial night ad can be longer and contain more information also. A disadvantage is that people are generally indoors at night and less likely to read the message.

Someone interested in this form of advertising should first work on wording their message. It is recommended that it not exceed 45 characters for this is the amount that can be scrolled across the plane during the 17 seconds of a pass. Of course, be sure all the information you want to convey is in those letters. Next, check the internet to see if a company that provides airplane banners is available to the audience you want to target. The effort and expensive will most likely pay off for writing in the sky, whether in daylight or dark, demands to be read.

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