The Rise and Fall of A Big Idea

About 40 years ago I designed Canada’s first Inflat­able outdoor board for Pacific Western Airlines. I was the creative director for WestCan’s Calgary office at the time. We needed a Big Idea to support a not so big outdoor media buy (one board each in Calgary, Edmonton and Montréal).I had read about the Inflat­able in AdAge where a fast food chain had attached a huge Hotdog to a super board. The fabri­cator manu­fac­tured hot air balloons, big ones. The first of the three was erected in Calgary at a busy high way junc­tion. The first morning we got tons of Free Air on drive time radio as the news,weather and traffic people had fun taking shots at it with bits of sexual innu­endo here and there. The Calgary Herald ran a story with a full color picture in the morning addi­tion. Things went on like that until it achieved a kind of Mascot status. Then came a harsh fall storm, rain, snow, hail and freezing temper­tures and power outages. Our inflataboard was kept upright by means of a ducted fan and with the power gone the darn thing collapsed giving the media yet another oppor­tu­ni­tyto crack wise. When the fuse­lage re-​erected itself that got a mention to. The free PR was imea­sur­able and just goes to prove some Big Ideas are better off dead…than alive .

Jerry Huff, Geezer

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