How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
So have you guys checked out the list of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons for this year? You’ve probably heard about Tim Burton’s B. Boy – he’s been getting a lot of press (I bet you can pick him out in the poster). The creepy cutie will be joining balloons such as Julius, the Paul Frank Monkey; Snoopy the Flying Ace; Clumsy Smurf; Kung Fu Panda; Kermit the Frog; and… Sonic the Hedgehog?!
Most of this airy fleet makes sense. Snoopy is a classic, of course, and the others are all promoting recent ventures. But Sonic the Hedgehog? Last I checked, Sonic has spent the last five years or so out of the spotlight. So how did he manage to roll his way into the 2011 lineup?
Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art last year. They’ve been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, appropriately called the “Blue Sky Gallery.” Balloons in this collection have been designed by Keith Haring, Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons, among others.
When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins (that’s what the kids are saying these days, right?). First-time balloons cost at least $190,000 – this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character on the parade route. If you consider that the parade runs about three hours or so, that’s about $500 a minute. Those figures are also from several years ago, so no doubt the cost of balloons has seen some inflation since then (ba-dum-tss).
Anyway, Sega has obviously ponied up the cash to get Sonic featured in the 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The question is, why? Do you guys know something I don’t? Is Sonic poised to make a huge comeback?
By the way, some of you may recall that the last time Sonic made a high-flying appearance above the streets of NYC, he crashed into a lamppost, which fell over and broke a shoulder bone of an off-duty police officer. Let’s hope this year’s appearance drifts along more smoothly.