Zeppelins, once the bombers of WW1 and the luxury airships of the post-war era, have a new mission: corporate sponsorship.
The Eureka, a Zeppelin owned by Airship Ventures, is set to wrap its previous sponsorship with Farmers Insurance in April, when the company begins the search for a new sponsor wanting larger-than-life exposure.
Other past sponsors have included the Bay Area News Group and Disney-Pixar’s animated film "Up."
Airship Ventures director of sponsorship Joanne Fedeyko stated: “The most successful airship sponsors are those who think big, and we certainly accomplished big things with Farmers. Our partnership proved that airship sponsorship can yield rewards beyond traditional marketing programs."
Fedeyko added that an investment in airship branding "isn’t just about having a cool billboard, but rather using the airship as a platform for differentiating its brand and engaging its audience.”
In addition to showcasing the Farmers brand above professional golf, tennis and NCAA football, Eureka earned additional media coverage with stories about its work as a passenger and scientific research platform, including high-profile placements on Yahoo! and NBC’s "Today."
One of its most memorable appearances was virtual, when the Farmers Airship appeared floating above the landscape of Zynga’s FarmVille.
Being a Zeppelin airship still means something: at 246 feet, the Eureka is 50 feet longer than the largest commercial blimps, not to mention 15 feet longer than a Boeing 747. It is one of just three cutting-edge Zeppelin NTs (Zeppelin New Technology) manufactured by Zeppelin GmbH of Germany.
The modern Zeppelins are environmentally friendly and use helium instead of hydrogen to avoid the unfortunate fate of the Hindenburg. In addition to its substantial outer surface area for corporate logos and messages, it accommodates a pilot, flight attendant and 12 passengers.