OC Register

Did 25′ Rally Monkey help Angels win ë02 Series? September 23rd, 2008, 5:00 am ? posted by Jan Norman

In 2002, the then Anaheim Angels had a 25-foot-tall ìdancing inflatableî Rally Monkey in front of Anaheim Stadium during the World Series.

Dancing inflatables are those bigger-than-life, bobbing advertising critters you see everywhere from the local Blockbuster to the ìGone, Gone, Goneî music video to the NFL Super Bowl.

Chris Austin, head of SoCalís SkyDancers International, which made the monkey, doesnít claim credit for the Angelsí first world championship. But his companyís recent survey of customers like the Angels ó now the Los Angeles Angels of Anheim ó did find that nine out of 10 these inflatables deliver great return on investment.

And whatís a greater ROI for a Major League Baseball team than the world championship? OK, so maybe the team accountant might say attendance. The Angels drew more than 2.3 million that year, says Baseball Almanac. SkyDancers says a survey of its business customers found that 88% attracted more customers with the dancing inflatables.

SkyDancers is the only U.S. manufacturer of these inflatables invented by Austinís dad in the 1990s.

The inflatables were invented by Austinís dad. ìDad was in aerospace; mom owned a balloon and flower store,î Austin explained the origin. The original dancing inflatable was just a man. Since then, inflatables have been created as Santas, court jesters, crickets, Uncle Sam and and Halloween skeleton as well as custom corporate designs such as a Sealy mattress and Dunkiní Donuts coffee cup. More than 10,000 companies have used SkyDancer inflatables.

ìWe did the survey because we wanted to know what customers were thinking, how they used the product ans what was their return on investment,î Austin added. Among the findings: 88% of respondents used their dancing inflatables for specific events or promotions

94% would use dancing inflatables in the future
89% said inflatables are effective or very effective in attracting business prospects.
ìWhen resources are poured into a promotion or event, and the audience required to make the event successful does not show up, it can be a painful experience,î Austin said.

Companies look at return on investment when ordering dancing inflatables, Austin said. Thatís why most buy their inflatables at $500 apiece instead of rent them at $100 a day.

The surveyís findings prompted a change in how Austin does business. Most respondents said they had to wait two weeks to get a price quote on a dancing inflatable. Austin thought he was doing good to get his quotes out in a day or two. But based on the survey, he changed the policy to give a quote within 15 minutes