ICON maintains access to one of the largest inventories of broadcast airtime, internet advertising inventory and print/out-of-home ad space in the media industry. We purchase large quantities of media capacity in advance and have cultivated ongoing, innovative partnerships and trade credit arrangements with global media giants and local advertising networks. ICON’s corporate barter transactions offer a broad range of creative opportunities and promotional avenues for advertisers.

The Challenge

Satellite television provider DirecTV is one of the biggest media companies in the world, distributing programming to more than 17 million subscribers in the U.S. and another 5 million in Latin America. The company was looking for a new, unique and effective way to promote its services. After discussing a host of promotional ideas, an unusual one was “floated.” An airship could give DirecTV direct, on-site access to potentially hundreds of thousands of fans at major sporting events – plus the millions watching at home – and nearly limitless sponsorship and promotional opportunities. There was only one problem: custom blimps cost millions of dollars, not including maintenance, crew salaries, storage, and so on. Building one with the world’s first airborne HD-resolution LCD screen would make it even more expensive. The question became how to finance this exceptional opportunity.

How ICON Uncovered Value

ICON presented a creative solution to DirecTV to fund the production of the 108-foot DirecTV airship: we provided cash in exchange for future advertising time. Our clients now have access to a new, innovative marketing vehicle. This partnership raises DirecTV’s and ICON’s promotional opportunities well above the competition.

The Results

The DirecTV airship is aloft 48 out of 52 weeks each year. Sporting event attendees and viewers have a new, richer viewing experience; DirecTV gets nearly uncountable impressions and ICON clients get access to a high-impact promotional medium. According to DirecTV’s SVP for advertising sales, “When we come up with creative ideas like this one and we don’t have to do a big cash layout, we can use the cash for other company initiatives. We embrace that sort of thing."