I thought I covered every angle of the blimp story yesterday, but I have one follow-up. I never really talked it from DirecTV’sperspective. Below is my interview with Josh Stern, the company’s director of advertising.
Darren: So why the blimp?
Stern: For us, Direct TV is always looking to do things differently. So we decided to go out there and do the blimp. But we couldn’t just get an ordinary blimp. We had to get one that the world’s largest HD screen on it and not only the largest screen, but had to be the only one in the world to have it and that’s where we stand. It’s totally different, it breaks through the clutter, we’re having fun and we’re giving some value to our customers.
Darren: So how did it work? How did it happen?
Stern: They came to us, the opportunity was there. Ginn Resorts was using the blimp before us and they wanted to discontinue using their program. It was right before we were going to launch our HD channels so we said, let’s get this and use this opportunity to get our message out That’s not only the venue, but to the viewers at home that see it on the network.
Darren: What was the goal?
Stern: The goal was to use this as a marketing tool on the local level, to go in over these venues and let fans in the stadiums know what our competitive advantages over cable and basically going to market and say “Direct TV has this and your cable company doesn’t.”
Darren: I assume that there are some rules when you are flying above and sometimes it doesn’t exactly work out, so what kind of rules do you have to play by?
Stern: We have some FAA restrictions and then we have what we call venue restrictions where some of the local cable companies have taken notice of our messages on the blimp and asked us in not-so-nice terms to discontinue some of it.
Darren: In your first year of doing this, how has it worked out?
Stern: It has been fantastic for us. A great investment in our part. People love seeing a blimp, it’s a great tool for delivering messages. Producers love it, directors love it, fans love it and viewers at home love watching it.
Darren: What’s your plans for the future?
Stern: Right now, we are going to continue with blimp program, as I said its a great investment for us, its a great marketing tool, we’ll absolutely continue it.
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