The "world's most expensive billboard" might bring about thoughts of neon lights lofted high above prime city real estate, but it probably wouldn't make you think of jetpacks. However, an interactive billboard with a soaring jetpack is exactly how a Middle Eastern skydiving outfit and American energy drink company found their way to what they call the world's priciest billboard.
Earlier this month, Skydive Dubai and Go Fast!, a global energy drink company, unveiled what they believe to be the world's most expensive billboard. As part of the ceremony, they hired a jetpack pilot to fly around the ad, creating an "interactive" advertising experience like none we've ever seen. The pilot took off on his jetpack with pyrotechnics flaring below his feet and flew around for about half a minute.
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While the billboard made use of one of the more intriguing technologies out there, the claim that it's the world's most expensive is quite a stretch. The companies estimate the cost of operating a jetpack at US$500 per second. If we consider the claim that the pilot flew around for about 25 seconds, we get a cost of $12,500. We're no experts in the cost of billboard advertising, but even with the price of erecting a sign in an expensive place like Dubai, that still doesn't sound like a world record-level figure.
In order to get to a more impressive figure, Skydive Dubai calculated the cost of running the billboard with the jetpack for a month (which it doesn't appear like they have any intention of doing). So if you multiply the total number of seconds in a month by that $500 figure, you'll find your way to $1.3 billion and a "world's most expensive" claim. Of course, even if there were any plans to run a jetpack for a month straight, it probably wouldn't be running every second of every day (if a jetpack flies in the middle of the night, and no one witnesses it, is it really advertising?), so even that $1.3 billion figure is exaggerated.
Still, compared to the big picture + slogan formula of the average billboard, an interactive jetpack billboard is definitely something different. The scene doesn't offer the natural beauty of the Rio coast, but the downtown Dubai location with the Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building, stretching to the sky just behind the billboard is pretty dynamic in its own right.
Go Fast! may have some catching up to do with competitor Red Bull in terms of crazy action sports stunts and events, but this isn't the company's first jetpack rodeo. The Go Fast! Jet Pack has been used for previous feats of grandeur, including setting a Guinness-certified world record for "farthest distance flown with a rocket belt" in 2008.
To get straight to the action, you'll want to jump to around the two-second mark, past the introductory interviews and backdrop shots.
Source: Skydive Dubai