While commuting from home to work (or vice versa), lying on the beach or watching a sporting event within the stadium, seeing an aircraft with a banner in tow fly past is no longer an abnormality throughout South Africa. So, has the novelty of aerial advertising reached its peak? Nils Becker takes a look.
Since we opened our doors in 2011 we have continuously conducted in house and external case studies, the latest being a University of Cape Town vetted case study. The results are impressive, not just for one but all existing and previous clients.
UCT found that of 300 respondents spread out in the greater Cape Town area, 98% have seen an aerial banner during prime time traffic, 89% agreed that the banners are visible and legible and 45% said they discussed the seen brand with family or friends. Furthermore, 80% of the respondents positively perceived aerial advertising as a beneficial platform. Earlier in 2014, the DHL Stormers also completed an aerial campaign around the hashtag #DHLStormersFlyHigh, with the results having been corroborated by an external company. Within a month, completing mere 12 flights overhead of gridlock traffic and actual games, 437 767 viewers on Twitter were reached – every single on being quantifiable.
Having described a success story in Cape Town, what is the impact of aerial advertising in Johannesburg? The uptake in Johannesburg has been surprisingly slower compared to Cape Town. Our business model is based on sustainability with the target market being gridlock traffic, which exists year round, as many of us know far too well. Johannesburg being the most gridlocked city in the country it does come to a surprise that not more companies in Johannesburg have taken to this proven platform. After three years of Sky Messaging’s existence, the hour split between Cape Town and Johannesburg is finally almost on par and Durban, being the latest addition to our full time bases and the smallest city, is still catching up.
Sky Messaging recently completed the Democratic Alliance’s aerial campaign before the national elections. Twitter and Facebook lit up like a Christmas tree. In less than four days a picture of the aerial DA banner reached over 4 000 likes and close to 400 shares. The intrigue of an aerial banner has clearly not worn off when looking at those figures.
We’ve had a few speed bumps that Sky Messaging has had to overcome. From initial contact to signing of an order can be a lengthy process but it can also happen very quickly when speaking to the correct person: the managing director, CEO or in short a visionary or pioneer that comprehends the merit of the medium off the bat. To mention a few, Carfind, Mavericks, Cash Crusaders and Brother have been long standing clients of Sky Messaging. When companies see the increase in brand equity, which is corroborated by an increase of sales coupled with the CEO or MD’s phone ringing from people who have seen the banner, it comes to no surprise that companies resign year after year. Simply put, this medium works very well.
The proven and factual results are present, the operation demonstrated to be safe and professional but there is always room for more. The media world takes a little longer to accept a new medium. With TV, radio and print having been around for decades, it will naturally take some time before all media agents, marketing managers/directors or business owners take on what they now perceive as somewhat risky. Our advice is simple: compare aerial advertising like for like with other media, especially when it comes to investment and factual results achieved.
Also, Sky Messaging continuously evolving its offering: we recently implemented GeoNotifications, which offers clients the functionality of having a SMS sent to their database when the banner passes overhead of their specified location. The function naturally ads great value to companies that wish to advertise product/price promotional offers, a lengthier call to action than on the banner, a competition or even their Twitter and Facebook pages – the options are virtually limitless.”
Nils Becker is Sky Messaging’s media consultant and commercial pilot.
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