Skywriting (AKA smoke art) has been around for decades. It’s traditionally used to advertise. Smoke art is created using the smoke trails emitted when hot air is passed over an oil-based solution, creating a thick cloud of smoke that can be manipulated and shaped into letters or other images in the sky.
Tobacco companies have used skywriting to advertise cigarettes since at least the early 1900s. When New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia banned cigarette advertising on billboards, in magazines, and on the radio in 1939, tobacco companies quickly filled the void with skywriting. During World War II, the US military used smoke art to mark locations for air drops, and the practice has remained popular ever since.
Tobacco companies still use skywriting today, although it’s increasingly rare due to bans on tobacco advertising. Skywriting was once so ubiquitous that a scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s film North by Northwest features a rogue agent killing two bad guys by spraying them with oil and setting it ablaze—a reference to a real incident from 1947. Most recently, Volkswagen used skywriters to promote its new diesel engine technology in 2010.
Let’s face it. There’s nothing better than seeing a skywriting airplane cruising across the sky above you leaving a trail of cloud-like smoke behind it. It’s the ultimate form of advertising, and has been around for decades.
Today, skywriters are generally used to write out corporate brand names or slogans and then disappear. They usually travel at about 500 feet high and about 100 miles per hour, and cover about 2 miles per minute. Each letter is about 50 feet tall, so it takes a little over 1 minute to write each letter or word.
As with most forms of advertising, there’s no escaping it nowadays. You can see skywriting in movies, TV commercials, on billboards and even on the sides of buildings in many major cities.
People who do this type of work are called skywriters because they literally write in the sky using smoke as their ink. The pilot works by using an onboard computer system to control the smoke engine on the tail of the plane cause smoke to come out at different times and different rates to create letters or words that form the desired message in the sky. Then at the end of their flight they either break up the writing into smaller parts or fly in formation to spell something out and
Skywriting, or smoke art, is the practice of writing in the sky by means of creating smoke by burning a substance. The resulting smoke trails are used to form letters or words.
The practice is often done as a promotion for events, products, companies or personal interests such as weddings, parties and other celebrations. It can also be used as an advertising technique.
SKYWRITING is a form of aerial advertising or skywriting refers to the practice of writing messages in the sky with aircraft, typically smoke- or vapor-emitting engines. The messages are most often publicit
Think of skywriting as the advertising equivalent of getting a tattoo. It’s a way to make your name known, but it’s expensive and risky.
There are tattoo artists who have been in the business for decades, and there are new ones popping up every day. But how many of them can you name? The same goes for skywriters.
What’s more, when skywriting is done for advertising purposes, it’s not just the plane that costs money—the advertiser also has to pay for the time and effort of writing the ad, which can be considerable. Once you put in all that work, you want to see results. The same kind of pressure that led to skywriting can easily cause an advertiser to give up on a campaign prematurely. In fact, it probably happens all the time.
The main reason advertisers use skywriting is because it creates newsworthy images that get people talking about the advertisement for weeks afterwards. If your business wants people talking about you for weeks afterwards, skywriting might be worth considering. But if you’re looking for something less expensive that will still get people talking about you instantly, consider buying some billboards instead.
There are several methods of creating smoke art. Here are three that I am most familiar with:
Skywriting is the oldest form of aerial advertising in the United States, going back to the 1920s, and it has been used for everything from political campaigns to military recruitment. The first skywriting ever performed was by a World War I pilot on a training flight who wrote his girlfriend’s initials in the sky.
By the late 1920s, several companies had begun offering skywriting services, and it wasn’t long before it became popular with advertisers. In fact, it was so popular that most people didn’t even know you could do anything but advertise with it. Skywriting pilots would often get an enthusiastic response from people who didn’t even understand what they had just seen or who were certain that it was a message from God or aliens.
The advent of TV and other forms of advertising in the 1950s and 1960s reduced skywriting’s popularity, but it never entirely went away. It has actually become more popular in recent years thanks to its use in movies like “The Hunger Games.”