Nov 23 Giant balloons will float above New York
City's 6th Avenue on Thursday morning in the annual Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of them a 72-foot-long green
dinosaur balloon from Sinclair Oil Corp boosting recognition of
its name amid an expansion of its gas stations into the East.
Privately owned Sinclair is in the middle of a major
expansion with the company planning to more than double the
1,300 Sinclair-branded gasoline stations by 2024, with most of
that growth planned for the eastern part of the United States.
The green dinosaur, known as Dino, is part of the company's
"We were a coast-to-coast brand decades ago before the
changes in ownership and some of the consolidation of the
industry," said Jack Barger, the company's vice president of
marketing and supply.
Online retailer Ebates estimated the cost for a brand to put
a balloon in the parade at between $90,000 and $190,000. Macy's
would not divulge any costs associated with the parade. Sinclair
declined to say how much it paid but described the balloon
investment at the "higher end" of what brands usually pay.
All month long, Salt Lake City-headquartered Sinclair has
been driving a miniature Dino dinosaur across the country in a
marketing push that will culminate with the parade.
An older version of Dino had been a part of the parade for
13 years in the 1960s and 1970s but was "retired" in 1977, with
the company returning last year with a new version. "It's a kind
of character that really fits with a lot of the other big
balloons in the parade," said Barger.
The parade is annually among the most-watched non-sporting
events, with NBC drawing more than 22 million viewers last year.
This year, NBC is partnering with Verizon Communications Inc
to stream the parade for the first time on Verizon's
YouTube page. The parade also attracts more than 3 million
people who line the streets of Manhattan.
In an era of fragmented TV viewership, Barger said, the
money spent on the 36-foot tall balloon is just as valuable as
buying regular commercial time. "It's one of the few ways to put
your brand in front of an event that people really watch."
Other brands participating in the parade include Saban
Brands, Pillsbury and McDonald's Corp.
(Reporting by Tim Baysinger; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)