This week brought more
aerial advertising news, with the unveiling of Goodyear’s new blimp, the first new model in 45 years. The new one -- actually a zeppelin, but still called a blimp -- is bigger and faster than
the previous model. It will be able to visit more high-profile outdoor events as it tours the country.
The new Goodyear Blimp, called the GZ-20, was designed by ZLT Zeppelin
Luftschifftechnik, based in Friedrichshafen, Germany -- the successor company to the famous Zeppelin builders of the early 20th century.
The GZ-20 is a so-called “new
technology” (NT) zeppelin, with a semi-rigid skeleton holding up the helium gasbag. By contrast, a “blimp” usually refers to an airship with a non-rigid, inflatable balloon.
At 246 feet long, the GZ-20 is also about 50 feet longer than the previous Goodyear blimp. Plus, it can travel at speeds up to 73 miles per hour, compared to the previous model’s
50 miles per hour, so it can move between events more quickly and make more scheduled stops. Goodyear has ordered three of the airships from Zeppelin, at a cost of around $20 million each, further
increasing their potential coverage.
Earlier this month, DirecTV and Van Wagner Airship Group unveiled the world’s largest LED sign on a blimp. The new Van Wagner airship boasts
a 2,100-square-foot LED “Lightsign” screen composed of 4,200 LED boards and 235,200 LEDs, making it unique in the world of advertising airships. The sign’s brightness is optimized to
perform in daylight, as well as at nighttime conditions.
In September 2012, Van Wagner acquired blimp advertising operator Lightship Group and its fleet of 19 blimps, which feature a
unique internal lighting system. The acquisition also included American Blimp Corp., which makes the blimps for Lightship. The acquisition augmented Van Wagner's Aerial Media Group, which operates
Last year, Universal Pictures promoted "Despicable Me 2” with an elaborate aerial advertising campaign, created in collaboration with Maxus and Kinetic
Worldwide, centering on the “Despicablimp” -- a Van Wagner airship featuring original artwork depicting the movie’s Minion character.