Gulf Coast Balloons - A National Event Marketing Company
Houston/Gulf Coast: 713-898-5176
San Antonio/Austin: 210-845-7622
Nationwide:                 888-396-6653
Providing Attention-Getting Visual Marketing Since 1983

Halloween: It’s Time to Promote NOW!

Savvy business owners know that marketing and promotions have a two to three month lead time. You have to stay ahead of your upcoming sale or you’ll be left with excess inventory and an empty store! 

Right now, it’s coming down to the wire for businesses to rent or purchase their outdoor advertising tools for the HUGE upcoming Halloween season sales. We still have a few Giant Inflatable Pumpkins for your rooftop to entice drive-by shoppers as well as to let customers in your city know where you are located and that you can supply their Halloween needs. 

Give us a call today to reserve your Giant Inflatable Pumpkin! Dial 888-396-6653 or fill out this form for an immediate response.  We can help with tricky city ordinance or bylaw situations if needed, it’s easier than you think!

This Just In: Giant Inflatables Allowed In Houston!

Every city has legislation and ordinances that sometimes do not have businesses’ best interests at heart. In 2010, the city of Houston, Texas passed a new ordinance banning so-called “attention-getting devices” – a major bummer for businesses who are struggling to attract foot traffic and drive-by traffic to their storefront in order to increase sales.

But wait, there’s more [good news]! Despite this ordinance, there are exceptions to the rules – fortunately for Houston businesses! For example, Holiday inflatables are still allowed – for weeks leading up to the holiday, even! So when you want a giant inflatable Santa Claus balloon to attract holiday shoppers to your store, we can still put one up for weeks leading up to Christmas without breaking any city guidelines. This opens up so many opportunities for your storefront to attract passing potential customers. A giant inflatable Heart balloon during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day will remind shoppers that they need to remember to get a gift for their special someone. A giant Uncle Sam or Eagle balloon will alert shoppers to your Memorial Day or 4th of July sale – weeks in advance.

We have so much experience with getting around city ordinances like this. We are licensed to provide holiday balloons within the city of Houston. And- we have a thorough list of ordinances for almost every city in the US, so we know what we can do for your store.

Give us a call today to chat with us about what we know regarding these pesky ordinances and what we can do to get around them. It can be frustrating when you NEED to attract more business to your storefront, but trust us- we know the tricks and secrets to getting it done for you. Call 888-396-6653 with any questions or concerns you have – no question is silly, and we have the answers. 

Same Store Sales

How to increase RETAILER’s #1 Metric? SAME STORE SALES… a not so obvious answer!

You hear it everyday in retail. Same store sales are down!!!

Today, Albertson’s explained in an amended S-4 filing for a debt exchange offering just how tough things have gotten for traditional supermarket chains.

The filing’s most revealing data are same-store sales on a quarterly basis through Q4, 2016, comparing year-over-year sales growth at stores that have been open in the current and prior year. I added the red line to show the trend since Q3 2015:

The S-4 supplied some reasons for the decline:

Our identical store sales decrease in fiscal 2016 was driven by a decrease of 1.9% in customer traffic partially offset by an increase of 1.5% in average ticket size. During fiscal 2016 our identical store sales were negatively impacted by food price deflation in certain categories, including meat, eggs and dairy, together with pressure to maintain competitive pricing in response.

The two key factors boil down to competition, precisely what the Safeway acquisition was supposed to have eliminated:

  • A “1.9% decline in customer traffic.”
  • “Pressure to maintain competitive pricing in response.”


So here is the not so obvious answer: successful retailers drive traffic through ON SITE OUTDOOR PROMOTIONS that bring attention to their IN STORE promotion offers. This allows them to LEVERAGE one of their biggest ASSETS, their LOCATIONmeaning direct targeting their drive by and walk by traffic.

Think about it. Why wouldn’t a retailer do it? It just makes obvious sense. Of course you’re going to engage your other advertising and marketing means but if you’re not leveraging your location, you’re leaving a lot of meat on the bone!!!

So what are we talking about here? A professional portrayal of your promotion offers through the use of outdoor visual means – Giant inflatable balloons, banners, wind tubes, wind dancers, cloud busters in the air 100ft, giant flags, promotional tents, search lights and on and on.

All you have to do is contact a quality outdoor promotion company with full turn-key services and they will develop the ideas, produce all the materials, complete all the installation and guess what – make everything go away at the end of the promotion. You might have to Google Inflatable advertising, inflatable balloons and some of the other products to lead to an On Site Promotion company in your area.

So whether you are promoting tail gating beer specials, crawfish season, massages for Father’s day, Flowers for Valentine’s Day, Costumes for Halloween, special cellullar deal of the month, $15,000 off that new truck, whatever – define it, design it and PROMOTE it to your daily direct target passing right in front of your business!!!

Happy retailing!!!

What Combination of Outdoor Advertising Tools Do I Need for My Event?

You’re having a big event, and it needs to be HUGE! Grand Opening? Seasonal Sale? Product Launch? New Member Special? There are certain tools that will help draw people to your event better than any other advertising effort.

For instance, when you just open your new store, how are you going to let people in the area know that you’re OPEN? A couple of giant NOW OPEN Ad Waver Flags on your roof will definitely draw people in, but especially when paired with bright, colorful pennants to really catch the eye.

Colorful pennants with a giant NOW OPEN hot air-shaped balloon is also a combination that everyone can’t help but notice. 

During the beginning of the year, a giant MUSCLEMAN balloon on the roof of your gym or health store matched with some ground flags surrounding the parking lot will remind people of their New Year’s resolutions every time they drive by. What’s the New Year without some guilt-inspiration!? 🙂

Basically, you have to really catch people’s eye to get them to walk through your door, and the more tools you apply to this effort, the better!

We can help and even offer yearly discounts on multiple product efforts – we will put them up and take them down – all you need to worry about is closing those sales! Give us a call TODAY. 888-396-6663




This discussion has to start with a conversation about marketing in general. In general when we talk about “Combination Marketing”, we are recognizing that successful retailers will be knowledgeable about several advertising and marketing approaches and most will use a “Combination” of the several approaches to leverage their budget and reach their target audience.

One of the areas commonly missed which provides one of the most “Direct Communication” to a retailers specific target audience is “Visible On Site Marketing” (VOSM). Not only is VOSM one of the best marketing strategies to directly reach the intended consumer audience, it is one of the least expensive strategies to deploy.

As marketers, we are all trained or expected to think in terms of ROI (Return on Investment) and as seasoned marketers, we also know this can be somewhat elusive.

Some of the more recent on-line marketing strategies tie “eventual sales” back to specific key words and web strategies and with these approaches calculating ROI using our cost basis has become much more attainable. That said, we have a host of other advertising mediums where the measurements are more challenging to pin down. Some of these traditional mediums include radio, TV, newspaper ads, magazine and billboards. In many cases these comparisons come in the form of CPM (cost per thousand) comparisons.  These of course are impression costs but the calculation does provide some general methodology of comparison.

Even using these impression numbers divided into the campaign costs to get cost per thousand can be dissected further but comparing CPM’s is a commonly acceptable practice for evaluating alternatives and allocating budgets.

So back to the question? Where does “Visible On Site Marketing” (VOSM) – Fit into “Combination Marketing”? Let’s start with the definition of VOSM, which involves recognizing that one of the most important determinants s of success of a retail business is LOCATION.

A VOSM program can include a variety of professionally installed visible marketing products including custom designed banners, custom designed window graphics, giant inflatable balloons, custom flags, pennants, tents, wind dancers, searchlights, sign walkers and a host of other products and ideas. This can all be handled by professional installers in the categories of on-site marketers, inflatable advertisers, custom inflatables, giant balloons and rentals. Look for a national supplier with multiple capabilities that can design a monthly, quarterly or annual plan for you. A high quality VOSM company will offer program design ideas, run interference on city and landlord discussions and make sure the product is put up on time, consistently across multiple locations and comes down all at the same time.

One of the most important decision surrounding locations is the demographics that also includes the drive by and walk by traffic. This IS the retailer’s most DIRECT reach for their targeted audience. There is a place for radio. There is place for newspaper. There is a place for TV. BUT, nothing gets more direct than targeting and reaching your retail locations as when your target audience passes by your front door.

VOSM leverages this fact and does so at a fraction of the cost vs any other medium including direct mail. Take a look at the accompanying chart. Successful retailers who know this continue to outpace their counterparts in same day sales and year over year growth. They do this two ways. First of all they recognize and leverage their most convenient and direct target consumers right passing right in front of their store by using AND they recognize that retail marketing is NOT one and done.

In other words, when your sale is over, you are already planning on your next sale. Consumers are driven by sales, promotions and holidays and are looking for reasons to SPEND. Sales Tax relief day … found a reason to buy. Back to school … oh found a reason to shop. Oh Black Friday … must be time to spend. Every major holiday … definitely have the time available and reason to shop.

So the moral of the story, if you want to increase your sales and attract and provide an experience for your customers. Get VOSM into your combination marketing, contact an On Site Visible Marketing firm to coordinate the entire effort for you AND last but not least. DO IT OFTEN!!!!!!

Happy Marketing and even better happy selling!!

My storefront is hard to see from the road. What can I do?

AGH!!! My storefront is hard to see from the road!!!!!

Worse yet, I’m a retail business and I depend on all the drive by traffic to find my locations. So what are my options to get some customers into my store?

Three Solutions – You won’t like the first solution but you’ll love the last!

Solution # 1 – (You won’t like) – Close your store and move to a new location on the main road. Ok, I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t like that on either but it is an option; especially when your lease is up.

Solution # 2 – You could use a sign spinner or sign walker grabbing attention from the main road and re-directing to your location. If you do go this route be careful just hiring someone off the street. You could end up with a lot more problems. The best way to find quality, well-vetted candidates for this is to call an outdoor promotion advertising company. You might find these companies under the heading of giant inflatables, outdoor promotions, visible marketing, giant balloons, cold air inflatables or something of this nature. These companies deal in all types of attention getting outdoor promotion products and if they don’t manage sign walkers, they might offer you another solution.

Solution # 3 – Carrying on from solution #2, the best suggestion is to call an outdoor promotion company that specializes in getting businesses noticed in the retail trade. In addition to the above ideas and depending on your location and site layout, they might suggest a giant outdoor inflatable balloon that always grabs the attention and can be seen from long distances. They might also suggest a wind dancer or a dancing tube guy. If you are like most retailers, you know the value of running regular sales promotions. Consumers like SALES! If you hook up with an outdoor promotion company providing flags, banners, giant inflatable, wind- dancers, tents, searchlights and a host if other products, you will get a regular stream of different and unique ideas for sales promotions.

Happy Selling!!!

5 Ideas for your Grand Opening

Memorial Day is coming and there will be Memorial Day Sales everywhere. So take advantage of the “SALES PROMOTION” environment. Even if you have been opened for a short while you can still have a Grand Opening event.

IDEA #1 – Giant Inflatable Balloons

One sure way to grab attention is with the use of Giant Inflatables. Giant inflatable balloons come in all sizes and shapes. Try to find something that ties with your business. For example, if you had a nutrition store, you could use a giant muscleman balloon. If you are a day care center you could use a giant clown balloon. You can also use a general type of Hot Air Balloon (HAB) shape. In all cases, you can put a huge custom designed banner on the front of any kind of restaurant advertisement, cellular store or any other type of retail store.

IDEA # 2 – Searchlights

Now is a perfect time to use a searchlight for those late night hours to let you customers know your grand opening is going on at night as well. This grand opening idea sets you apart from all others and brings attention right to your business. Searchlights can also be used to spotlight giant inflatable balloons at night highlighting your business and your advertising message on your custom printed banner.

Idea #3 – Tents

A large tent in front of your business always draws attention and always means something special is going on. You can complement your tent with a large grand opening banner that tells all those driving or walking by exactly what is going on. You can also add sales banners to bring extra attention.

IDEA # 4 – Cloud busters

These helium filled cloud busters traveling 100 feet in the air are great for week-end grand openings. You can put these up on Friday and they’ll last through the week-end. Your prospects will follow them with their eyes from the sky right to your business. When your customers spot your business with the grand opening banner and perhaps a giant cold air inflatable, they for sure won’t miss your business grand opening.

IDEA #5 – Wind Dancers

Oh yes, and then there is the always dependable, constantly waving, always working wind dancer man. These dancing tube guys wave, bob and weave in the wind bringing a playful and fun atmosphere to any grand opening. Everyone knows that a wind dancer means a sale is going on and you can enhance it further by printing a customized message right on the wind dancer.

For a really big Grand opening presence try a combination of a giant inflatable, cloud busters, searchlights, tents and wind dancers. Your opportunities for grand openings are limited so take every advantage you can for you promotion and advertising programs.


Digital vs. Outdoor Advertising

There’s no denying that consumers are spending a lot of time online these days. Today when you’re online there is no escape from the bombardment of pop-up ads, in-timeline ads, and even your friends incessantly posting multi-level marketing bids – so consumers have begun training themselves to ignore this contact barrage of annoying online ads. In fact, there are now 198 million active adblock users — and counting — around the world, according to anti-adblocking solutions provider PageFair. Ad blocking technology causes quite a ding in publishers’ revenues. This is why out-of-home advertising is still so important and very much alive as a successful means to create awareness of a specific business or campaign.

In this digital-heavy era, we are still spending plenty of time outside of our homes. That said, not just any outdoor advertising will do. Here are some guidelines to ensure that your line-of-sight advertising is drawing the most attention to your business and beating out your competitors – both online and IRL.

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

In today’s rushed world there is no room for advertising that doesn’t catch the eye. Consumers need motion, color, and SIZE to entice their attention. Bright colors and striking images work well here and will ensure your promotion cannot be ignored.

Encourage Interactions

Take advantage of what is trendy and may “go viral” – right now in advertising, that is the Wind Dancer Tube Man. People love to stop and take pictures with the dancing tube men, imitate their movements, and then post to their social media outlets. While they are right next to your storefront taking pictures, make a sale! 

Location, Location, Location

It doesn’t matter how clever, interactive, or eye-catching your promotion is if it’s not in the right location. Consider natural foot-fall and how many people actually travel past or near your particular location on a daily basis. Because of this, high places are great as they almost demand attention from passers-by, and advertising materials with motion and a huge size will attract a great amount of attention. Place banners and pennants up high, and put a giant inflatable balloon on your roof where EVERYONE will see it.

Searchlights – Do They Have a Place in Advertising?

    Maybe you’ve seen them:  A bright beam of light tracking through the night sky.  Is it a searchlight?  A spotlight? The Bat Signal?  I have childhood memories of sitting in the back seat of our car on the way home from dinner, and seeing a beam of light in the distance.  I remember the curiosity I felt, wondering where they were coming from and why.

That feeling hasn’t changed when I witness these lights in the sky today.  These beams of light definitely attract attention….and from miles away.  So it is understandable that businesses would utilize searchlights to peak the curiosity of potential customers in the area.

  If you want to attract customers to your business or increase attendance to a special event, searchlights are a great way to do just that.  There are a number of different types of searchlights available in the market today.   From the single beam AdLight®, the 4 beam QuAdLight®, or the giant Dominators®, there is a searchlight system out there that is perfect for your outdoor visual marketing needs. 


Flying High for Memorial Day and 4th of July

MAYDAY, MAYDAY! Can you believe it’s May already?! As we are entering the beginning of May, it’s time to start thinking ahead about your business’s promotions for Memorial Day and the 4th of July. 

Memorial and Independence Days are historically HUGE shopping weekends, and as of today we are cutting it close to custom design or reserve the advertising materials needed to produce historic sales.

Outdoor advertising materials such as Giant Inflatables, Flags and Pennants, Wind Dancers, and Search Lights are the proven best way to attract attention to your seasonal sale from passersby. Keep your store on their minds and in their lines of sight!  

Check out the following examples of 4th of July-appropriate sales tools and give us a call TODAY at 888-396-6653 to plan your seasonal promotion – don’t miss out!