The sky is truly the limit as advertising employs it (the sky) as one of its platform in form of skywriting. Skywriting is the process of using an aircraft able to expel special smoke during flight to fly in certain patterns to create writing that can be readable by someone on the ground. It is an advertisement aimed at everyone in the vicinity and requires a lot of experience and practice to create these skywriting signs
It is a technique whereby smoke is discharged in a series of bursts, like dots. A computer generates the master plan and electronic signals control the smoke output. The blurring of the smoke makes the desired end effect.
It has a WOW factor effect on its audience after each advert, considering that each advert is 5 miles long and visible up to a 15 mile radius. With no winds, skywriting is visible until the earth rotates away from the writing, about an hour. When the wind is strong, visibility of the skywriting can vary from seconds to 5-10 minutes. Sky-typing requires up to 25 characters per sky advertisement.
Sky typing is captivating, offers excellent recall and easily targeted to places of large gathering or outdoor events. It is often targeted at places like Stadium, Beaches, Concerts, Sporting Events etc.
This phase of advertising started in 1932 by the Skywriting Corporation of America. One of the first major clients was Pepsi-Cola, which used skywriting to reach a mass market. It also requires up to 25 characters per sky advertisement and each character is completed in less than 4 seconds.
The word “PEPSI” requires 14 separate smoke triggers by the pilot. It is all about judgment and timing; the slightest hesitation can ruin a letter, and all is lost.
In terms of reaching out to a larger audience, Sky typing has triumphed over the print, radio, television and even the Internet and in terms of capturing audience attention from up to 7 to 10 minutes. Sky-typing advertising keeps the audience attentions while they are taking videos and pictures, sharing the messages on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. This will also pave way for discussions on the social media.
Sky-typing is literally 1,000 times larger than a roadside billboard, and it can be strategically placed over the specific demographic area or desired event. The advertiser is guaranteed millions of captive onlookers.
Sky writing exists in two forms; Traditional Sky-writing and Digital Skywriting.
Traditional/ single Airplane Skywriting: Accomplished with a single airplane flying through the sky to form letters. The white smoke is emitted like writing across the sky is composed of a special combination of oils, which is emitted through the plane’s exhaust system. The average skywriting message can be up to eight characters long.
Digital Skywriting – Accomplished with five airplanes, they fly parallel in line in as perfect unison as possible. The skywriting message to be written is loaded onto a computer, and as the planes flies, electronic signals trigger the smoke-emission mechanism in each plane to release the smoke accordingly. Digital Skywriting is executed by a number of planes that coordinate to print different segments of the message. Every five seconds new letters are finished. The average message is up to thirty (30) characters long and can stretch four to six miles long.
The letters are made up of individual dots that blend together at a distance. Emitting the dots is entirely automated. A message is loaded into a computer that controls the smoke-emitting machinery in each plane. The program tracks the locations of every plane as they fly. Whenever a plane reaches a point where a dot should be placed, the computer triggers a burst of smoke from that plane. Though digital skywriting requires less piloting skill than manual skywriting, though it is more expensive fueling up five planes because it costs more than fueling one, the advantage is that it allows for more characters, most times up to 30 characters.