herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

First Minions, next Transformers - Dublin could soon be under siege

A minion in Santry
A minion in Santry

Balloons are brilliant marketing. In this modern age we hear so much about Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, flash-mobs and guerilla marketing, that we overlook the classics. Like huge inflatable cartoon characters.

It took a minion in Santry to remind us that the old techniques still work. The minion in question escaped from a fair, hurling its 40-foot inflatable body into the road and onto passing cars.

No-one was injured (hardly surprising, as it was an inflatable minion), but vast publicity was generated. So much publicity that the lesson everyone will have learned is - where possible - make sure your giant inflatable gets free at the earliest opportunity.

inflatable

That lesson was first taught nearly 40 years ago when a huge inflatable pig escaped during the shoot for the cover of Pink Floyd's album Animals. The giant pig was supposed to be floating above Battersea power station, but broke free of its moorings and wafted into Heathrow airspace, causing major difficulties for the airport, before eventually touching down in a field.

The end result for Pink Floyd (after some difficult interactions with the police) was more publicity for their album than they could ever have hoped for. So much so that some cynics believed the pig was released on purpose just to get attention.

Obviously that was not the case. Nor was it the case with the runaway minion - but wouldn't it be brilliant if it did catch on as a marketing technique? Every time a movie came out, the country would be assaulted by giant balloon characters from the film?

If that happens the release of the next Transformers would be the single most exciting thing to happen to Dublin since the Vikings arrived.

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