Friday, March 04, 2011

Think Before You Inflate 

My wife spotted this story yesterday.  It is an example of how a publicity stunt can go wrong.  Intentions were innocent.  Inflate 10,000 red balloons with helium and set them free with a promotional offer attached.  The balloons would fly over city and suburbs and settle where potential customers could grab them and get the offer.  There was only one glitch in the stunt.  It was held in San Francisco, and hundreds of the balloons settled into the bay.  Environmentalists were enraged at the pollution falling balloons caused.  The company handled the situation well, but the damage was done.  

I've worked with balloons on one occasion, and it wasn't successful.  We floated a Styrofoam key on the end of a cluster of balloons with an an offer for a free stay at a hotel during its grand opening.  High winds popped some of the balloons before the key was released, and the key barely took flight down the avenue.  I have avoided balloons since.  The problem, of course, is that one never knows where a balloon will go and what will happen to it.  The uncertainty should be enough to make one think before inflating. Still, balloons make for a grand spectacle -- if one knows what to do.


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