4.18.2008

the brain invaders advance over another hill

Marketers have discovered another way to pollute our landscape and invade our brains. It's called the Flogo, and it might be coming soon to a lovely blue-sky day near you.
As kids, most of us spent time laying in the grass, watching clouds roll by and imagining the shapes we could see in the fluffy white masses.

Now, one company aims to indulge those flights of fancy by actually making "clouds" in the shapes of, well, anything, from the Atlanta Braves' tomahawk to Mickey Mouse's iconic head.

These clouds are actually a mixture of soap-based foams and lighter-than-air gases such as helium, something like what you'd get if you married helium balloons with the solutions that kids use to blow bubbles from plastic wands.

The company uses re-purposed artificial snow machines to generate the floating ads and messages, dubbed Flogos. The machines can pop one Flogo out every 15 seconds, flooding the air with foamy peace signs or whatever shape a client desires. Renting the machine for a day starts out at a cost of about $2,500.

Designers use computer software to make a stencil that when placed into the snow machine, "cuts the foam in the exact right shape," said Flogo inventor Francisco Guerra.

The Flogos are about two feet long and nearly a foot wide, and generally last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on conditions in the atmosphere, according to the company.

"They will fly for miles," Guerra said. "They are durable so they last a while."

They generally bob to heights of 300 to 500 feet (90 to 150 meters), the inventors say, though they can rise up to 20,000 feet (6,100 meters) in the air.

Guerra says that Flogos are environmentally friendly as the soaps that make up the foamy shapes are derived from plants, and that eventually a Flogo "just evaporates in the air."

"It does not pollute the skies," he told LiveScience.

Guerra also says the floating ads are not a danger to airplanes, because flying through one is "like going through a cloud." Nothing from the Flogo sticks to the surface of a plane, even if it goes through the aircraft's jet engine, he said.

"It does not pollute the skies." I disagree!

Perhaps these things don't leave chemical residue, although we shouldn't accept the manufacturer's word on that without independent confirmation. But they obviously pollute our visual space with advertising.

To the makers of Flogos: Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should do it. The sky is not yours to sell, nor some corporation's billboard to buy. Keep your fake clouds out of our sky! Here's the Flogo website if you want to tell them yourself.

Story thanks to James, via Gizmodo.

8 comments:

L-girl said...

I notice the example on their website, the one that stories on this have reproduced, is a floating peace sign. "See, we're all about peace? You're not against peace, are you?"

M@ said...

OTOH, in the right hands this would be an awesome protest tool. I'd love to see Bush getting a photo op on a pile of rubble somewhere, as the word IMPEACH floats lazily behind him...

I'm with you on this, and I hope its use doesn't become widespread, but in the hands of anarchists this would be a very good, or at least amusing, thing.

L-girl said...

but in the hands of anarchists this would be a very good, or at least amusing, thing.

I agree! But something tells me few anarchists would be able to afford it.

Maybe we should make our own... Oh wait, I'm against this. :)

impudent strumpet said...

If this takes off, I bet you anything that at some point some bridezilla will hire clouds that somehow go with their wedding theme for their wedding day.

And then some other nearby bridezilla will get pissed off because those clouds are in THEIR picture and they don't go with THEIR wedding theme!

Then some court will have to establish legal precedent about who has control over which part of the sky.

And there will be a big scandal at some point because some cloud changed shape like clouds do and ended up looking vaguely phallic.

L-girl said...

And then some other nearby bridezilla will get pissed off because those clouds are in THEIR picture and they don't go with THEIR wedding theme!

You know it's coming...!

And there will be a big scandal at some point because some cloud changed shape like clouds do and ended up looking vaguely phallic.

A wardrobe malfunction of the highest caliber.

I love the way ImpStrump thinks.

Jere said...

Wouldn't it be funny if some Jesus church was having a big outdoor gay-bashing anti-abortion fest, and they ordered up a thousand of the crosses, and they all ended up flipping upside-down?

Jen said...

I'm going on a dog walk with an ornithologist on Sunday, will ask about the effect odd behaving clouds on bird migration...

L-girl said...

Such creative minds here at wmtc. Weddings, upside down crosses, and birds. Birds! Of course. That will be an interesting question.