Monday, June 19, 2006

Blimp co. produces 'TV in the sky'

The company recently received Federal Aviation Administration approval for its new A-170 lightship, an enormous blimp that doesn't just say "Goodyear" or "Coca-Cola" on the side, but instead flashes their newest commercials, NFL football highlights, movie trailers or whatever else a company wants to put on its 70-by-30-foot LED screen.

"It totally rises above the clutter because this is the only one of its kind in the world," said Toby Page, Lightship group marketing director. "It's never been seen before, so it gets a huge amount of attention."

The new blimp is the crossroads of technological advances in both balloon and LED technology, with stronger lift power, a more durable "envelope" (the part that fills with helium), and lighter, higher-quality electronics. Similar television screens previously were just too heavy.

It will first be deployed overseas next month, though company officials, at their client's request, are keeping secret who paid $5 million for a yearlong campaign or where it's headed.

The new airship has only been publicly exhibited once — for attendees at the National Broadcasters Association in April in Las Vegas and then two nights over the casino-lined Strip.

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