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OPERATOR OF BUD BLIMP IS DEFLATING FINANCIALLY
Published December 12, 1994
"One of the biggest questions in airship advertising these days is what does the future hold for the Bud One blimp?," according to Adam Goodman in St. Louis. Bud One is one of nine blimps criss-crossing the U.S.: Goodyear has three, Met Life has two, and Blockbuster, Budweiser, Fuji Film and the U.S. importer of Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps each have one. Airship Int'l Ltd., the Orlando company that owns the Bud One blimp and leases it to Anheuser-Busch, "is struggling financially." Last year, Met Life ended its contract with Airship Int'l. Airship Int'l Ltd., a publicly held company, lost $9.2M in the first nine months of this year, is short on cash and has deferred paying dividends on its preferred stock. But so far, A-B is sticking with "ailing" Airship Int'l and according to Tony Ponturo, VP/Corporate Media and Sports Marketing, the A-B blimp program is "well managed." A-B has a lot riding on Bud One. "It can ill afford problems with the Super Bowl around the corner on Jan. 29 -- A-B's largest promotional event of the year." Airship Int'l cut Bud One's monthly leasing fee in half from February to July as incentive for A-B to re-sign a multi-year contract that runs through '96. It is believed to be worth around $4M (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/12).