GEICO-Skytyping-Oceanside There’s nothing more exciting for me than being witness to an effective marketing tactic that I have never seen before. Even if it was invented in 1915! That was the case on Labor Day as I was enjoying a concert on the green – golf green believe it or not. It was a flawless day – bright blue sky and not a cloud in site. PERFECT in so many ways! And perfect for the Geico Skytypers. Being only 10 minutes from the beach we were privy to the best sky promotion I’ve ever seen.

OK – if you live in one of those fabulously sunny all-year round locations, this marketing tactic may not be new to you – but for this Canadian – it sure rocks my boat.

Yes, I’ve seen the old fashion skywriting, usually performed by a single plane which is pretty cool. Yet, more often than not the writing is difficult to read with the first letters trailing off before the word is completed. Of course there’s also the difficulty in writing anything longer than 5-8 characters. The single engine plane simply can’t maneuver fast enough through the loops to keep up. But the Geico Skytypers have it down to a fine art operating on an entirely different model. Five or six planes fly in a V formation at 250 ft apart dropping the smoke (likely to be eco-friendly vapor) at timed intervals to create the letters which become words. Messages can be as long as 8 miles (12.8 kilometers). WAAAAAY more effective. And it’s ALL done on a wireless digital network.

Check this out … 19 characters and 6 dots! The letters are super LARGE and so simple to read. What better way is there to get your message to a targeted crowd of beach goers, to an outdoor concert or festival. Brilliant!

And what’s even better about the Geico Skytypers is that they’ve put another spin on this marketing tactic for the insurance megabrand. Geico doesn’t just DO Skytyping, they sponsor Skytyping – another marketing tactic to leverage the brand.

GEICO Skytypers Team and Aircraft - 3-Step Marketing Tactics of the Week

Checkout the Geico Skytypers Airshow Team. They’re a flight squadron of six vintage WWII aircraft that do precision maneuvers at airshows. I’m going to guess that Geico simply sponsors a group of veteran Skytypers for brand awareness without the hassle of management and aircraft maintenance. Typically in these deals, in exchange for a large sum of money, the sponsor slaps their logo on virtually everything including the planes in this case and melds into the name … Geico + Skytypers. Heavy social media and online presence is managed by the Skytypers. Likely included in this arrangement is also a schedule of messaging for Geico wherever the unit performs. Works great for Geico that has a massive budget for image advertising. And win-win for the Skytypers who with a solid sponsor can do their thing at airshows and also give some of their efforts to charity.

When to use Skytyping:

  • To geographically target large outdoor events or densely populated areas.
  • For product being sold at the event being targeted.
  • For a low-sell short message.

Pros of Skytyping:

  • Skytyping is captivating, noticeable, eye-catching.
  • Very unusual so people notice.
  • Easy to geographically target.
  • People look up when they hear a plane.
  • The message can change frequently unlike aerial banners.
  • Can include hashtag # to get some social media traction.

Cons of Skytyping:

  • Skytping is weather dependent.
  • 8 miles of message is still pretty short when it’s in the sky.
  • More difficult to demographically target.

Skytyping Resources: