Soaring Blimp Promotes 'Despicable Me 2'

By Robert Marich
   March 28 2013-Universal Pictures is mounting a national tour of an airborne blimp to promote summer film Despicable Me 2. The balloon-like aircraft is being called—no surprise here—the “Despicablimp” from media company Van Wagner Communications.
   The blimp already hovered over the Los Angeles site of cable TV network Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award last week. “By enabling a new medium for Universal to promote Despicable Me 2, the Airship Group was able to provide an array of marketing options – including social media promotion and amplified presence at high-visibility events – to help moviegoers engage with the brand in a memorable way,” John Haegele, CEO of Van Wagner’s Airship Group, said in a press release.
    The blimp hovering is an exotic out-of-home advertising platform, and another is banner pulls by aircraft that are mounted where crowds gather outdoors, such as sunny warm beaches. The Despicablimp is a paid-media platform like a ground-based outdoor billboard by the roadside; there is no promotional partner such as restaurant chain or carmaker.
   “Over the course of the next six months, the Despicablimp will fly across the country to cover other major events such as the Kentucky Derby and various Major League Baseball games,” says a press release. “As a cross-promotional tie-in, the blimp will fly over Universal Orlando Resort’s attraction, ‘Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.’ The Despicablimp may be tracked in real-time via GPS at the Despicablimp Command Center” via
   Despicable Me 2, which is an animated family film, is scheduled for July 3 premiere. “We had a vision of combining the iconic Minions from Despicable Me with the wonder that blimps inspire in those who see them,” Suzanne Cole, EVP of Media Advertising, Universal Pictures, said in a statement.
   The ad agencies of record Maxus and Kinetic Worldwide helped broker the deal. Van Wagner Communications is best known as a leading operator of outdoor billboards in New York City. Notes a Media Post story by Erik Sass, “Last September, Van Wagner acquired blimp advertising operator Lightship Group and its fleet of 19 blimps, which feature a unique internal lighting system, including one for DirecTV that features a giant LED video screen. The acquisition also included American Blimp Corp., which makes the blimps for Lightship. The acquisition augmented Van Wagner's Aerial Media Group, which operates banner-towing airplanes.”
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Here's a ground view of the Despicable Me 2 blimp.