Ever since my family and I have been coming to the Jersey Shore in summer — off and on for more than 30 years — I’ve spent a few minutes each beach day staring up at the sky as small planes tow intriguing banners with messages advertising various places to eat, drink and otherwise spend your money.
Such as: “$1 beer every Monday night at Captain Bob’s Brew Dock!”
Or: “Try Luigi’s for the Best Lasagna in South Jersey!”
Or: “Empty Your Wallet at the Trump Palace in Atlantic City!”
Well, I made that last one up, though it would constitute truth in advertising.
I’ve often wondered, though, just how much effectiveness such ads have — do they really rake in enough customers that it pays for Luigi to hire a small plane for, say, a half hour?
Then I came upon surveys that showed that aerial advertising sticks in people’s minds, probably much more than, say, a billboard, TV commercial, or other form of ad that one may encounter dozens of times a day.
The key is that it’s so unusual that the message imprints on the brain, to the point that many beachgoers will remember it for hours or days to come.
While they may not decide to eat at Luigi’s when they first see the ad, they may pass Luigi’s later in the car and — even subliminally — think: “Hmmm, I sure would like some lasagna tonight!”
Since it costs about $6 a minute to hire a plane for aerial ads, 10 extra customers at $18 a head might pay for a half hour’s worth of beach advertising. Anything more than that would be gravy (Sunday or otherwise).
And for a casino, it’s a no-brainer. One gambler could drop that in a single bet.
More important, though — especially for baby boomer travelers — is the nostalgia factor.
What would a day at the Ocean City or Sea Isle or Avalon beaches be without aerial ads flying above?
In fact, I’m going to make a special effort to patronize the next aerial advertiser I see — especially if it’s for lasagna.
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