When you care enough ... say it with billboards
Looking for a better way to say "I love you," "Happy
Birthday" or even "Congrats on your retirement" --
something that goes way beyond the basic card and bouquet of flowers?
Sometimes, when you care enough to send the very best
... well, a $4 card just won't cut it. The time you want to go a
little overboard, say it with billboards! Or with skywriting. Or
maybe even on a giant display screen at your favorite pro sports
How about a full-page birthday ad in the New York
Times? Yes, it'll set you back a bit -- about the cost of an average
home -- but hey, it's definitely original! You could also ask your
sweetheart to marry you at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and have
a skywriter blaze your proposal across the clear blue sky -- for
about the same cost as a modest engagement ring.
are several offbeat ways to get your message of love and good wishes across, especially
if you've got some extra cash. Here are some suggestions to spark your imagination:
Big news: Stop the
presses! The world should know that your son finally graduated from
college! If you want to take out a full-page congratulatory ad in
the New York Times, though, you'll probably need to raid Junior's
trust fund to do it. A one-time display ad on Sunday, appearing
in every edition throughout North America, will cost you $143,625.
Weekdays are a bit cheaper. The same full-page splash during the
week is only $128,207.
If that option is too rich for your blood, you're
in good company. Kerrie Gillis, New York Times group advertising
director, only remembers one person taking out a full-page personal
ad in the paper in recent years. "And it was a very, very wealthy
individual," she says.
Less-costly options include a small, text-only congratulatory
message on the New York Times' front page -- again, appearing in
every North American edition. Each 32-character line will set you
back $646 on weekdays and Saturday or $856 on Sunday. There's a
two-line minimum, and you can buy up to six lines. One caveat, "If
there is an important news item the day your ad is scheduled, the
paper may bump your message. News always comes first," says
The more common way to get your message into the New
York Times and other regional and local newspapers is via the classified
ads. At the Times, for instance, "happy announcements"
typically run in the Sunday "Style" section. These ads
cost $35 per 32-character line, with a four-line, $140, minimum.
Customer-service specialists can guide you through the process of
creating your ad. You can also get details at the paper's Web
site. Your local newspaper can guide you to its own rates and
Head in the clouds: It's
a bird, it's a plane, it's your boss's "Happy Retirement"
message in skywriting above the site of your company picnic! Aerial
advertising, like skywriting or airplanes towing banners, is often
used to promote company brands or special events. However, you can
hire a pilot like Jimmy Stevenson, owner of the Orlando, Fla.-based
Rosie O'Grady's Aerial Advertising, to create a fly-by message of
almost any type.
towed banners and done skywriting for several wedding proposals and anniversary
messages -- including a few over nearby Disney World.
Stevenson says banners are definitely cheaper than
skywriting. Having your customized sign towed by an attention-grabbing
Rosie O'Grady biplane for about half an hour costs $450 to start.
Stevenson and other pilots may also add travel time, depending on
where they'll need to fly.
Stevenson's skywriting services
come at a flat $1,500 fee for the Orlando area. These specialized smoke messages
often can be seen for up to 25 miles, depending on weather conditions. Stevenson
advises customers to choose fairly short messages (such as "I LUV U, CINDY")
for skywriting, since the writing fades as the winds change. Skywriting is definitely
a fair-weather type of message, since wording is most visible in clear, cloudless
You can find aerial advertising pilots by doing
an Internet search for companies like Rosie
O'Grady's or national brokers such as Sky-Writing.com.
You can also call small airports near your home for referrals.