Do Giant Inflatable Animals Increase Car Sales?

Dear Internet:

I’ve got a question for you.

Whenever you see a car dealership adorned with a giant blue gorilla wearing boxer shorts do you feel compelled to stop inside, test drive a vehicle, and then leave the lot with a brand new car?

Blue Gorilla Inflatable in Boxer Shorts
Photo via Creative Inflatables

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Me neither.

Another trend I’ve noticed is the patriotic giant inflatable animal. I guess the hope is that you’ll be fooled inspired into contributing to the GDP by making a large impulse purchase.

Eagle inflatable
Photo via Creative Inflatables

So, why is it that then that car dealerships bother with the inflatables? Are they bringing in folks off the street? Is it part of auto dealer subculture that I simply don’t know about?

Be honest now, what do you think of giant inflatable animals? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Do you think they’re a valid marketing tool? Sound off in the comments below.

This post was Freshly Pressed on May 06, 2011!


149 thoughts on “Do Giant Inflatable Animals Increase Car Sales?

  1. lynette

    My best guess would be that when you see those stupid inflatables your mind makes a connection. “Big dumb gorilla, Dodge dealership.” That way when you’re looking at buying a car later on down the line, your brain recalls that there is a Dodge dealership 20 minutes down the interstate because you saw a big, dumb gorilla there once before.

  2. ohhh I think you know... but I'd rather stay anonymous... google is always listening.

    Yeah man… I think there is a psychological effect that causes even the most focused and non-manipulated minds to pause and think… “woah, large colorful object”… marketing folks would call this the “interrupt” once the “interrupt” happens the brain wakes up and begin processing information observed surrounding the interrupt.

    This is why “sex sells”… its not the sexy whatever, or the response that matters… repulsion or stimulation isn’t the goal… the goal is to cause ‘interrupt’… and let the brain absorb all other information around the object as the brain normalizes it regular process…

    Eventually we develop sensory identifiers for these things and become desensitized to the interrupt object… and it becomes less effective… that’s why one month its a giant blue gorilla, the next month its a giant green alien in an Elvis costume…

    Car dealers aren’t trying to convince you to buy a car, they’re hoping you’ve been thinking about buying a car… and the interrupt causes the vain curiosity that killed the cat, and the monthly budge, to the degree that you pull in for a test drive…

    Then they send in the blood sucking low-life smooth talkers that know how to manipulate you by recognizing what fires your logical synapses by gathering a baseline of your emotional responses through small talk and interrupt process…

    the real way to avoid doing something stupid at a car dealership…is to not turn in and look around… once you have its too late to realize that they’re trying to take the most amount of your cash, both present and future earnings, and by any means necessary.

    And thus they lie and cheat your soul to hell… errr… i mean sell you a car on a lease option, knowing full well that the dealer incentives and “off the top price slash” and added bonus package… and the extra mug, pens, and free Haitian child that they throw in… ends up costing them a .05 % loss of interest earned… on that “no money down” 56 month lease with 0% introductory APR that will balloon in 18months to 11.6%-19.5% over prime depending on your credit, bad credit, no credit, jobless– no problem fool, we’ll just shackle you up to the pipes in the back if we have to, out of the goodness of our hearts type loan… just to get you the heated leather seat package and sports rack on that SUV that gets 15-22MPG, while providing brainless turds the ammunition to call you a ‘carbon foot problem’, mormon assualt vehicle drivin’ jerk that should get a vasectomy after you 1.5 child birth and your new haitian baby family addon, that loses 30% of its value after you drive it off the lot…

    which is why I drive cars until they die, and pay cash only…

    Sorry man… but you asked…

  3. AustinDM

    I agree with Lynette. The company just wants you to notice it, they figure their ex-con salesmen will close the deal, the giant gorilla is just to get your attention.

  4. Ammon Post author

    I usually don’t allow anonymous comments, but wow. You’ve obviously analyzed this topic at great depth.

  5. Mikalee Byerman

    Get out of my head, will ya: I’ve ALWAYS wondered about this!

    But not only about the giant inflatables, but really, animals in general. In the ’70s and ’80s, there was a TV commercial campaign for a West Coast car dealership “Cal Worthington,” and he always had animals. All kinds of animals — dogs, cats, chimps, birds, reptiles, etc. What’s the relationship between cars and animals? I don’t get it…

    And those air blown inflatable people with the spiky “hair”? I don’t get those, either…

  6. PCC Advantage

    Who wouldn’t want to buy a car from a lot that has a giant inflatable blue gorilla?? And the yellow underpants just tops it all off.

    Yeah, sure…I’d trust those guys with all of my transportation needs. I mean, they cared enough to put a gorilla in its underwear, so…they probably know what they’re doing.

    Congrats on being FP! 🙂

  7. Brittany Rose

    I am sure it is some tactic to draw attention, and possibly even a tool to create a footprint in your brain for when you do want to buy a car. That being said, all I REALLY know, is that I am terrified of monkeys, so every time the “Blue Gorilla” gets put up, I dread even driving by. lol

  8. sevns

    It’s all attention based interruption marketing. Any way you can get someone’s attention is valid as long as its cost effective and not illegal. So I say that though they may not induce buying, the giant inflatables certainly encourage attention.
    Plus my favorite are the wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-men!

  9. sevns

    And sorry for the double post, but I’d disagree with the “sex sells” comment above. In Buy-Ology, Martin Lindstrom dispels that myth with hard data. When asked survey and control groups the sexy images did capture attention, but only for the models. When asked about brand recognition or product retention, sexy ads scored lower. Yes you may get more looks, but that means nothing if you’re product is forgotten/overlooked.

  10. wadingacross

    Similar to others, I’d say it’s similar to how and where things are placed in grocery stores. Product placement, whether the product itself, use of advertisement and type or gimmick ploys. It’s all about sticking the product in your mind and either impulsively buy it, or, buy it later.

    Conversely, some organizations have tried to use giant inflatable animals in an effort to associate a business with the animal for negative effects. Case in point: A local paving union here in the St. Louis area does not like the business practices of a particular paving company because they don’t play along nicey-nice with the union. So the union, in typical thuggish and moronic tactics, often pickets this company’s job sites and uses a giant inflatable rat.

    And… just as a giant gorilla and other marketing ploys aren’t likely to get me to want to buy your product, a giant rat and picketing doesn’t help your cause in my eyes. If possible, I’d rather do business with non-union companies every time, especially if the union or unionized companies are acting quite juvenile in their interaction with non-union companies.

  11. Lloyd

    For me, the genuine fear of being confronted by a giant animal will always force me into impulse buys! My fear is only increased by by their flailing arms…

  12. Desmond LaVelle

    A gas station in St. Joseph, Missouri is home to a giant inflatable gorilla holding a hot dog. He wears a tshirt that reads: Hey Kids! I’m still trying figure out what they’re trying to say.

  13. Evie Garone

    Wow, after reading that in depth comment my comment is going to sound so mundane, but I have to agree with you, I always thought those animals, et al marketing tools were just ridiculous! One thing I can say, is the reason they DO NOT work on me is I do not even notice the name associated with the animal. . .I just ignore the animal as just so much dross!

  14. Thomas

    I make it a habit of only buying cars from dealers with extremely large inflatable animals out front. It’s a sign of a quality dealership. Also, when I shop for a foreign car I try to find a dealer with the most humongous American flag flapping in the breeze so I can assuage my guilt about not buying American.

  15. debseeman

    Hate ’em because my granddaughter hates ’em. First one she saw while riding with me she said, “Gwamma, that monstow schcouws me!” (she doesn’t do “r” and blended consonants so well). So my mind goes – monster – scared granddaughter – BAD dealer – no new car. Gotta love a kid’s perspective! HA!

  16. Jim Clark

    Did anyone ask a car dealer about this? I have asked several. They will all tell you that they do it because it works. They notice increased sales during those times that they have the pink gorilla. Kids want to go touch it, so their dad brings them onto the lot. “Look over here!” is all that big guy is saying, but when dad does look over, he often doesn’t mind bringing his boy onto the lot because all week he’s been noticing that they’ve got the new convertible on the lot.

    To be fair, I’ve also never sold my gold becaues I saw a spinning sign, bought a smoothie because a dude was dancing in a banana costume, eaten a chicken sandwich because of a Chick Fila cow, or voted for a politician because he waved at me on the street corner.

    It’s a tough economy out there. Poor guys. I wish everyone would just use chicks in bikinis, but it just doesn’t look like that’s going to happen for me.

  17. Adrianne Crouse

    My 4 year old likes to point them out to me along with other exciting signs & roadside attractions. Maybe car companies just work together to keep “NEW CAR NEW CAR” fresh in our minds. A dominating child might even have some influence about where to look first. Personally, I could do without them, but I appreciate the post. Praise Jesus and be blessed.

  18. Emily929

    Let’s just say that if it weren’t for the giant blue inflatable gorilla wearing boxer shorts, I would not notice the car dealership at ALL. They seem to be following the same principle as that of tantrum-prone children: negative attention is better than no attention at all.

  19. Vladimir

    The novelty of the inflatable gets me to look over and notice the dealership. But I don’t associate anything else with it either good or bad. I doubt that any inflatable makes people visit the dealership that instant, but it does snap people out of their daily routine and at least notice the place.

  20. Maggie

    Wacky waving arm-flailing inflatable tubemen!

    It sure doesn’t make me want to buy a car, but it does make me laugh and remind me of that Family Guy episode.

  21. Dan

    We don’t have any of that sort of exciting thing over here in the UK. Just a bunch of cars with prices in the windows. We need more wacky-waving-inflatable-flailing-arm-tube men and other inflatable fauna!

  22. Neal Skorpen

    There’s really nothing that could entice me into a car lot. The only thing worse than owning a car is buying a car. But, I love those fan-driven blowy guys! Even though they are one more strategy of manipulation, they make me smile.

  23. chunter

    The Toyota dealerships in Georgia have this computer-generated thing called the “Markdown Monster.” There are inflatables and costumes of it too…

  24. Abigail

    You want to talk stupid things outside of businesses. I have a Liberty Tax just down the street from my house. During tax season, they had a bearded (Yes, a big, full beard) statue of liberty outside the store, waving something. I mean, seriously, how unattractive is that? I think it comes down to they are just trying to attract someone’s attention with stupid things, so you remember them. Honestly, though, I don’t think of my car dealership had such an ugly monster, I’d ever go there. Now the tax place, I would, but that’s merely proximity to my house and nothing to do with the bearded statue of liberty.

  25. makingup3000

    They just kind of put you in a blank stupor when you see them. Just like those skinny tall pencil head ones that flap back and forth. I honestly don’t think I have ever stopped at a place with one of those.

  26. johnmcgeeblog

    Those funny blow-up props don’t attract more people. They attract different people, like the child of the buyer, or fun-loving types who otherwise would have kept driving. Dealerships keep buying or renting them because it’s something unusual, something they haven’t tried before, or an annual promotion. (Legal disclaimer: I sold cars one summer and hated it).

  27. globasone

    I have actually been in the market for a vehicle and saw that. I wondered at that too. I actually avoided all of the places that had a person in some sort of a costume. That is just too much to bear. (It wasn’t actually a bear.)

  28. Hunter

    They say sales people are the easiest to sell to. Imagine being a dealership sales manager. You’re planning a sale, and you have a budget. An industry has evolved to play on the psychological need of the sales manager to appear as if they have spent some money on promoting the event. Whether it is successful or not doesn’t matter because there will never be a cost benefit analysis conducted.

  29. acorn74

    I don’t care so much for the giant inflatable animals (or even the wind-sock people that wave from atop blowers). But if you dress someone up in a chicken, a gorilla, a dinosaur, or some other ridiculous costume and make them stand on the curb and wave at the cars passing by…. I may not buy a car, but you’ve made my day.

  30. elysianhunter

    I’ve been in automotive (yes, worked for dealers but in the fixed ops part: i.e. parts and service) for over 20 years. Common wisdom is that the best time to buy a car is not when they’re putting out the tents or the inflatables ad nauseam, but when they’re really desperate to sell. The end of a quarter (March, June, September and December) and most especially the end of the year- that week between Christmas and New Year’s is always a great time to buy because they’re pushing for not just end of quarter sales, but end of the year too.

    Here in Central Ohio I’ve found the month of February to be the best time to buy from a desperation standpoint. The showrooms are desperately slow, the weather sucks, and the salesmen will literally kiss your patoot to get a sale in February, (’cause who wants to take delivery of a new car in a freaking snow storm) even though it’s not the end of the quarter.

    Always go to a car dealer forearmed. Know exactly which model you want- and if you don’t know anything about cars, ask the people back in the fixed op part of the dealership. The service advisors and parts counterpeople know all the technical specifications, common failures, and all the ins and outs of the cars- in far more detail and will generally give you information with a lot more candor and truth than the sales staff!

    Know what you are willing to spend and exactly what you came in to get before you ever step foot on the lot. Read the reviews. Toyota (I have used Toyota’s site) and some other manufacturers too, have programs on their websites where you can “build a virtual car,” which may prove to be a valuable exercise before you actually go to the dealer.

    Of course, some of us just might not be able to resist the blue gorilla with the yellow boxers….:)

  31. jessiethought

    There are two car dealerships, but their thing is not inflatables it is big, giant balloons that fly 40 feet above the ground.

    Then, there is an insurance company in the next town that is called “Liberty Taxes” or something like that… and they have an inflatable of the Statue of Liberty, and they hire someone to stand out on the curb near an intersection and dance and wave (in a Liberty Statue costume). All I know is that it must be cold in that costume outside in the Winter. (They do it in Winter!)

  32. broadsideblog

    Hey, in NYC it’s a giant inflatable rat that gets our attention….whenever we see it looming over a sidewalk, it’s protesting scab labor and placed there by angry union folks. I sort of look forward to the Big Rat.

    Sad, but true.

  33. Karen

    If anything I think these inflatables distract drivers. But they do get the kid’s attention and many parents will give in to stop and visit it. Then a good salesman takes over and bam – those parents leave in a new car!

  34. My Camera, My Friend

    They do get me to notice businesses, but on a whole, I think the giant inflatables are tacky and a waste of space. As for car purchases, I’d rather be guided by the facts than the decor.

  35. Jim Clark

    Hahahaha! I just realized that the big blue gorilla is what drew me to your article instead of the other 15 on WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed.” I guess that sufficiently solves it for me.

  36. The Writer

    I love the inflatable car dealership animals. They draw the eye from a boring freeway standstill and provide a welcome tiny distraction from traffic. Keep in mind, I’m from L.A. We need whatever mirth we can get on the freeways.

    Are these inflatables actually effective marketing techniques? Well, “effective” might not be the right word, but if you drive past a car dealership daily and notice it because of its inflatable animal, it is possible that you will think of that specific car dealership when the day comes that you are looking to purchase a vehicle. Anyway, it can’t hurt.

  37. imaginecreation

    I get why they put these hideous things up . . . but I tend to be put off by them, rather than drawn in to buy their products. I am more likely to land at a dealership that is clean and streamlined . . . not gaudy and obnoxious. I don’t care for slick salesman pressure and stuff like this screams “WE’RE PUSHY, RUDE AND SLLLIIICK”. AND, usually, I notice this “interruption” type marketing on used car lots, not new so much. Am I wrong on that one?

  38. FatCatWatch

    People – just hang on to your old car for a few more years and we will bring the auto industry to it’s Knees – – they will do anything to get our attention and bring us under their evil control – I particularly like the big blue gorilla toooooooooooo….. nasty cluck (sound of falling into an abyss etc).

  39. Rev. K.H. Marple

    My husband and I have been in the car business; he still is, I’m not anymore. We have never understood why dealers would spend that kind of money to do something that embarassing. Dealers spend over $1000 per month on balloons alone. Customers make fun of them, salespeople hate them. Once, we had a huge inflatable sumo wrestler (sp) on the roof of the used car building. sigh.

  40. fireandair

    It’s just there so you can see the dealership from the freeway, I think.

  41. jessherself

    Whenever my mom and I see a giant inflatable animal, we always say, “GIANT INFLATABLE *WHATEVER ANIMAL IT IS* ALERT!!!”

    My mom really wants a giant inflatable gorilla for her front yard.

  42. mimaranda

    This is so cute – I first noticed the car-dealership inflatables appear in Australia about 10 years ago. They are pretty boring compared to your US ones though, always the same thing, a really skinny man made of tubes with long arms and legs. Nothing like the blue gorilla!

  43. martialarts411

    Lol @ Jim Clark’s comment, shaking my head at Rather Stay Anonymous- it sounds like you fell prey to a bad car sales person- bitter much? If you go to a car dealer armed with facts, research, and confidence, a good dealer/salesperson will appreciate your professionalism. It’s not actually a war, it’s a transaction. And if you get a bad feeling, listen to it. Go somewhere else.
    Disclaimer: I sold cars for 6 months, and actually liked it. But I worked for a small dealer and relationships were very important, as much as numbers.
    We had to hang balloons every Saturday… because they caught people’s eyes. If we didn’t do it, traffic went down. Second worst part of the job, right behind trying to convince a “bitter” test driver that you had a soul and weren’t in fact the spawn of Satan.

  44. deanhansen

    I think there are some people who buy cars on impulse. I would imagine that they actually do increase sales but only when they rent out a shopping center parking lot and have a mega sale! I don’t personally think you get a better deal just because they say they are having a sale though. I think if they can sell it on Presidents Day for one price they can do it on May 6th for the same price. If they can’t I wouldn’t buy from them, Giant Inflatable or not! Interesting post though… Thanks!

  45. Mike Licht

    Dealers use these props to repel sane consumers and attract loons crazy enough to buy their awful products. This worked better before recent advances in psychopharmacology.

  46. Chasmania

    When I was visiting Japan at age 7, I came across a big, inflated yellow monster. It was one of those tube ones that is open at the top, one that whips around crazily. As I walked up to it, the vile thing reached it’s arms down and tried to grab me.

    I’ve been scared of them ever since.

  47. stylistnc

    Lets just say the big blue gorilla caught my attention of your blog. So I’m guessing it catches everyones attention when they’re driving anywhere near it.

  48. Julee Celeste

    Yes! I feel compelled to stop and buy when I see giant inflatable animals! Because there are studies that support this compulsion — they don’t know why, but they sure know it works! It’s subliminal. Giant inflatable animals = compulsive stopping + huge sales. Everyone knows that! It’s only car dealerships who are smart enough to exploit this basic human impulse!

    All my cars have been bought after I pulled over recklessly upon seeing giant inflatable animal outside a dealership. I begged them to take my current car as a trade-in and walked out of that lot with a newer, more expensive car! Didn’t you?! Of course you did — it’s simply unthinkable to do otherwise! Oh my God, even though it’s 1:50 a.m. I’m feeling compelled to get into my car and start driving in order to find a giant, inflatable animal, pull over, and wait until the dealership opens! Thanks for implanting this subliminal and irresistible urge into my brain! See ya!

  49. 1mmarketing

    I think this just gives them a “peace of mind” that they are trying to attract customers. I do not think you can attract customers by this sort of inflatables. After all, you are not selling ice cream or burgers!

  50. Ammon Post author

    Wow, fantastic discussion everyone! Thank you for making my blog slightly more insightful than ever! I’d like to respond to a few of your comments.

    @Mikalee, growing up in LA I have many memories of good ol’ Cal Worthington and his dog spot.

    @stylistnc and @Jim Clark — great point. Interesting to see how the inflatable worked its magic on you via the Internet.

    @PCC Thanks 🙂 Like I’ve said, I always wanted to be on Freshly Pressed.

    @Emily929 A dealer where I live in Houston just put up the exact same inflatable blue gorilla with yellow boxer shorts as appeared in this post. He showed up a week or two after this was published.

    @chunter, that’s just wrong. I feel like those children should be warned and protected.

  51. Ipodman

    LOL. Yes, it does make me wanna buy a car. One that’s better than my current one at least… Makes me wanna drive like an animal too! 🙂

  52. dia

    For some reason, hokey works for car dealerships, whether it be the irritating tv ads or goofy promotions. I remember learning that as I studied advertising many centuries ago. I must admit, I remember the corniest slogans that car dealerships had when I was a kid…I still can recite them and I do recall their commercials even today. You don’t mess with what works. The big inflatable is just a way to remember where the place is located–don’t need an address when you are telling your friends where you just bought your latest car–you point them to the big gorilla on whatever road–it was really more applicable when there were so many more dealerships around competing for business. Now… not so much.

  53. C

    I’m with the commenters above who expressed their preference for the wacky arm-waving inflatable tube men. A place that invests their marketing dollars in those is a place that’s gonna get my business.

  54. Amelia

    I agree with 1mmarketing. There doesn’t seem to be any conceivable link between a gigantic blue gorrilla and a sparkly new Toyota but would it grab my attention?…yeah! Simple as a direct consequence of how bizarre the set-up really is. It’s quite obviously a marketing gimmick and sadly one that a majority of us actually fall for. It’s a normal human reaction to pay more attention to something thats out-of-the-world than something run-of-the-mill. Lets be honest- given a choice between two posts- one with a monkey driving a car and another with a monkey climbing a tree, which one are we more likely to click on?

  55. spiritinmatter

    My God… the anonymous comment above it hilarious! Sort of sounds like he knows the marketing world “behind the stage” exceptionally well… too well in fact. The fact that our marketing world knows how predictable we are, how unconscious we usually are is pretty sad, really. It’s like we go about our business, thinking we are making choices, but most of what we think has been processed and prepped and we have no idea that none of it is coming from the authenic “me.” Makes us sort of untrained, huh? Unless we decide to wake up??

  56. fee77

    I think it is just a way to get a child’s attention, so they will be like “mommy daddy let’s go see this giant blue thing.” Kind of like the golden arch. 🙂

  57. Amy Zucker Morgenstern

    The blue gorilla made your blog irresistible–obviously to the people who decide on Freshly Pressed too (congrats!). I doubt it has the same effect on potential car buyers. Still, I’m grateful to car dealers who do this kind of thing, since when else would I get to see 25-foot inflatable animals?

  58. Kenny Penny

    I love them, only for the fact that they bring absurdity and surrealism instantly into my day.

    And make me laugh…

    And cringe, amazingly, at the same time.

  59. Az. Small Business Network

    Well you managed to make my 2 teen aged boys lol, but you did not sell them on buying a car so I guess the answer is no.

    Thank you for the chuckle.


  60. disturbedprincess

    I think they are really cool and they make the place look fun and child friendly but for an adult uhh no it does not make me want to buy a car

  61. gary Simmons

    I have spent almost 40 years in the car business. You prove that they work.You are writing about them. The others are commenting. It started of with balloons. Balloons are always moving thus they catch your attention. Do balloons or stupid blow ups sell cars. “NO” What the do is catch your attention.

    Have you ever seen a car ad on TV and said. “Wake up Harry ABC car lot is having a sale.” I doubt it but you just gave yourself a mental peg.

    I am now finishing up my career on a small car lot. We don’t even have balloons. What we do have is the free use of Greg’s list. I am just as blown away by how people react to this as I am how they react to stupid commercials and big giant dolls.

    Trust me those dumb blow ups don’t come cheap. If they didn’t work they would stop using them.

    Maybe teh consumer is just that stupid. I hate to say that because I buy thing myself


  62. Chris van Hasselt

    How else can you explain people buying the Hummer, a big, gas-guzzling, impractical (well, without full armor and machine guns!) vehicle for the urban world we live in, yet a lot of people bought it, probably because of a giant inflatable gorilla.

  63. acleansurface

    There is a children’s museum around here that keeps a giant inflatable rubber ducky on the roof. This is actually helpful because it relates to the product, and is visible from the freeway. I am not so sure about gorillas and cars…

  64. Laurie Welch

    Thank you for articulating what has always seemed a mystery to me. I could never figure out how or who made the connection between, ‘Hey, how do we bring in more people to the car lot?” and “I have an idea, let’s blow up a giant King Kong…that’ll get ’em in!!”

    It’s never worked for me, but I appreciate the visual distraction on crowded LA freeways:)

  65. Summer

    i think its a trademark now.. whenever you see an inflatable you think! oh, a car dealership! i need to go there!
    hate them though!

  66. Clandestine Candle

    I think its more for kids than adults. Hey, mommy + daddy, can we go see the big monster over there? *several tantrums later, alright – let’s go. Once the family has made the voyage down yonder the sales persons come barreling out of their urban camo-suits and attack their prey. (since they seem to appear out of nowhere)

  67. Sondra Doubek

    Well driving to the grocery store this morning I saw one of those flimsy windy dolls that shake with the wind. You know, the twirly whirly ones. In my county, Panama, you NEVER see anything like that outside car dealerships and I have to say, I was NOT more adamant to go into the place. haha, so no, I don’t think they help either.

  68. mscunited0950

    I definitely think that it is because of 2 reasons, and they were mentioned in comments above:

    1. So you put the two things together (ex: OH! You mean the dealer with the giant gorilla?)
    2. Just to get people to look towards their dealer

    I think the first one explains it self. When you see a big gorilla in front of a car dealership, you sort of remember it. The second one also sort of eplains itself. If you see a big blue gorilla with boxers on it, your gonna look toards it and then see the dealer

  69. The Unpromised One

    I think giant inflatable animals are stupid as hell, unless they’re part of some big parade. I don’t even know what purpose they serve other than to unnecessarily take up space.

  70. LBcruiseshipblogger

    It gets people’s attention. This blog and its zillion comments is proof of that. So I’ll just share a story. There’s one of those drive through coffee places with bikini baristas across the street from my work. They put up one of those tube-like arm waving inflatable people sometimes. A guy named Ray decided it looked like a weiner. So then the lunchtime conversations always managed to drift to whether or not Ray’s weiner was up.

  71. spamfred

    I think those pics are hilarious! They don’t do that in the UK, or at least not anywhere I have seen but I’d like to see the effect it would have if they did. Do the top market dealerships do it too???

    1. Ammon Post author

      If you liked the pictures, here’s one that I didn’t include in the original post.

      Inflatable Pig in Harley Vest

      I love the pig in the Harley vest!

  72. Missey Twisted

    The giant inflatables scare me. The waving/dancing person-in-the-wind one was cool to start with, then my car stopped close to one at a red light. Then it was scary, too.

  73. unknowntheartist

    Did everyone forget, these inflatable balloon men helped Sam Witwicky (Transformers no.1) get the old Camaro aka Bumblebee, to save us all? I think they’re incredibly creepy at night time but during the day, just a vibrant eyesore 🙂

  74. Greg

    I have the same questions. When I see those things I think of some screaming, shouting, idiot in a commercial on local TV. There was an effort made here in Houston to ban those things for two ridiculous reasons: That they were a distraction to drivers and that they were “distasteful”.

    That bill went straight down the toilet for obvious reasons. Houston drivers are going to smash into each other every day no matter what and the only places you see these things are in the most God-awful ugliest, blighted areas of the city anyway. I love seeing one that has popped a leak, is losing air and bending halfway over looking like it’s about to die.

  75. heesbees

    No. They don’t compel me to go in and buy a new car. But the ones with an opening up the top somewhere that causes them to dance about are a really good distraction for when there’s a major traffic jam!! 😀 I tend to sit and guess which way the inflatable will next move… 🙂 hehehe…..


    Wacky waving flailing inflatable arm tube man!!!!!-family guy – They were created so the FOX writers could give 20 more minutes of pointless/old content, Give Jay Leno a reaso
    on his motorcycle.

    Those blowers are $350 and up range.

    Pay cash for the car, drive it till it’s dead, I agree with that but my Chevy Truck has 450,000 miles, current rate of rust 🙂 I will get over a Million miles… Will we have gas in the near future (Under $4). Insurance @ $3 a day is insane when I never had a claim/Over 40 (Allstate).

    Liberity Tax has ppl pointing arrows in statue costumes.

    I see new home sales or open house signs – like the tax place they hire live(vs dead) people. Lib Tax tested and I am sure the public can read how much they help per #of cars/population/area.

    Amy – Your right… Another dead blog redirects to the Blue Gorila and the question “Do Giant Inf Animals Help Sales”. 103 people reply, over 1000 page views? I will make 2 banners and place them on my site generate a million uniques and post the results. (Adult Webmaster since 1991) 1. Furry Blue and 2. Red Silk, both gold/glitter text that say ENTER. the background will be black and a gold pin stripe border.
    I can tell you a few facts in my past web design that could apply to this and I own Adult Social Clubs in Las Vegas.

    Green and Blue Lights inside a club make the skin look old. The average sales of drinks increse as the lights go down (If a person does not feel “equal too or better” they will downgrade locations. Movie: Jackie Brown-Lady gets out of jail, wants a dark bar vs. a bright sports bar.)

    I created a entry page/doorway/over 18/21 page in 1991. I had 3 backgrounds and sent same amount of traffic to each.

    Was Pure White
    1. Bright Orange with White S pattern.
    2. Black with Red/Gold Marble Cracks.
    3. Took picture of a Black & White Cow, pulled just the main body like the Gateway2000 logo. Made the Black 60-70% lighter and size was 200×200 and displayed tiled.

    The page Non-Adult went up 17% when Orange, 4% when Black, 32% when my Light/White Cow pattern was used. Open/transparent, shows more trust in website, a feeling they will not be harmed(Virus?). This was early 90’s when the media told us that CC sales would never be secure over the net, and when talking to my friend Pierre they said nobody will trust a stupid online auction.

    Same test when used with Adult material I can not locate the exact numbers however the 42% more click-thrus when the Black background was used, Thought was ppl are doing something dirty and wanted to hide.

    A friend owns 3 Little Ceasars Pizza places. I think this number is correct but not verified… Cost is like $1.00 to get a person in the door, IF that person does not like the product or service the cost to get them back is $7.00

    I was getting 80,000,000 uniques a day across my domains, Lots of tests and I would think that the ballons, gorilla, Liberity tax ppl is to build a brand name for future sales.

    Dealerships put them out as a public service to parents… Parents use it as a scare tool. Example: Eat your carrots or the evil monster that lives under your bed will get you.

    Blue Gorilla us a Fetish.

    With respect – The Family Guy – It was good, Overstocked, Closeouts… I think a PERSON is smarter today, Yet PEOPLE are like lemmings and fall for the same gimmicks as their parents.

    Buy here Pay here lots, good $ in the 90’s

    Who issued this number and what person was it given too? 61727054… popular guy…

    The company that makes the Blue Gorila says it helps, and Damm it, if you can’t trust a company that makes ballon looking animals that lure the kids in….errr who can you trust,

  77. Josh Layson

    Of course, anything that catches our attention is a valid marketing tool. I guess the industries now focus on ‘what’s big, literally’. That’s what marketing is all about after all, right?

  78. someonewithaface

    They’re giant and inflatable. I suppose that’s funny. Funny makes me want to buy things, if the thing isn’t a car, but something I actually want.
    So there you go. People who want to buy a car will buy a car if they’re looking at a giant, inflatable, patriotic animal while being asked “You wanna buy a car?”.
    That’s what I think.

  79. john

    Ever notice how the car dealerships also usually have 10,000 American flags, usually giant ones, flying around their lots. Even if they’re selling foreign cars. I suppose if you give someone a giant inflatable and a giatn American flag, they’ll buy anything…

  80. le Singe

    some one from nigeria email me asking me to help them launder eerr help them get their money out of some africa bank doesn’t signal “GREAT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY ” to me, but it does to apparently more than a few ppl.

  81. momintraining13

    There was one of those big gorillas at a local Persian rug shop close to my old apartment. One day a big wind storm blew it partially open and it’s mouth hit the edge of the building and it looked like it was trying to eat the building. Never went in and bought a rug but it cracked up every time I saw it. They ended up keeping it that way!

  82. zephez

    I don’t know about giant animals, but the car dealerships I see around where I live usually have one of those giant-inflatable-waving-arms-balloon-men. Not sure what episode of “Family Guy” mocks those things, but when I see them I always laugh because it makes me think of “Family Guy”. Doesn’t really make me feel like buying a car though.

  83. wildninja

    Awhile back my pastor said that if giant inflatable animals really work, then he wants an inflatable gorilla for the top of our church.

  84. Mormon Soprano

    A dealership next door to my daughter’s High School used to put up a different inflatable for every holiday. On months without a holiday, they had a blue gorilla just like your photo. For the month of October, they chose an ugly green witch. It was really hideous. A few students somehow managed to “kidnap” it during the night and hauled it up to the top of the HS roof by morning. I thought it was a pretty creative prank. The authorities were not amused, but the culprits were never caught. I never had any desire to visit the cheesy dealership, and I must not have been the only one because they went bankrupt and closed shop a couple years later. [maybe they overextended their budget on the inflatables!!] he he
    That’s about the sum of my experience with car dealership inflatables.
    Congratulations on being FP – creative post! – MoSop

  85. kitchenmudge

    A car dealer had a blue gorilla in polka dot shorts for many years overlooking a freeway near the county line on the way the airports where I live. It stood there for many years and became sort of a totem that we had to salute whenever entering or leaving the county on a trip. I was sad to see it go.

    If they stay long enough they can become monuments, and draw attention to the business just for that reason.

  86. Pollyanna

    Marketers can be desperate people! At least it’s mildly imaginative to believe that folks are influenced by huge bags of fabric filled with hot air in the shape of animals.

  87. apolhamu1

    I think the idea is when a dealership is spending money on marketing, it’s probably signaling a sale or discount of some sort. This should, in theory, make you wonder how much the car you thought you couldn’t afford costs now.

  88. Trevor Rogers

    I walk by a car dealership everyday here in Vancouver with my 2 year old to get to where we need to go. They always have 3 balloons attached to a sign. We always stop and look at the balloons bobbing in the wind. I can’t help but notice the cars for sale, and if he doesn’t already…he will soon.
    Moral of the story? A couple of low-key balloons got our attention. I shudder to think what an inflatable gorilla would add to the mix…

  89. matthewhyde

    I think Kitchenmudge makes a good point. I’m British, and our car dealerships don’t tend to have giant inflatable gorillas; to me they’re an American thing, existing alongside all those strange roadside attractions. It’s all about making a mark on the landscape and on the local consciousness: “Where’s the supermarket?” “Down the road, turn left at the giant eagle holding a flag”.

  90. Himadri Dimri

    I know its a great marketing thing but tell you the truth it irritates the hell lot of me. Giant inflatables and all..imagine the giant mickey mouse or a robot that wiggles..eeeu that scares and makes me super angry. they cant even see properly.they keep on stumbling over you…

  91. workingtechmom

    I love them and think they work. It might not make you buy a car just because you saw it, but it will make you at least think of them when you are planning to buy a car. I love the balloons and the flags too. I’m not a car salesman or any other kind of salesman. These things get people talking and help with memory retention. Just like your photo drew us into your post!

    Great post. Congrats on being FP.

  92. The Whole Story on Healthy Living

    I’ve always wondered that myself, although I have never in my life seen a giant blow up ANIMAL in front of a car dealership. They’re kind of creepy. I have seen those strange tall, skinny, blow up things that have the wavy arms which upon a bing search I found out are called “sky dancers” or “air dancers”. I don’t know if inflatables have any measurable effect on sales. They feel to me like a left over from the 60’s and 70’s era of tacky marketing. Ditto with the stupid triangular flag ribbons that always seem to adorn car dealerships. I’m with that person who likes to keep their car until it runs into the ground. There’s not many businesses that I trust less than car dealerships.

  93. Executive CV Writers

    Yes, you seem to have a thing for giant inflatable blue animals in North America. That’s never caught on with here in Europe, with the present trend dealers go for: a combination of rejected Royal Wedding balloons and a mini-blimp!

    The marketing basic here is grabbing the attention of passing customers, so I guess that as you don’t see many large blue things next to the roadside, it must work? Else why would people keep hiring them? The mini-blimps in Europe I don’t get – I drive by, have to look up around 250ft+ to see the darned thing, take my eye off of the road and … CRASH: I need a new car???

  94. Schild

    I´ve bought 3 cars since my car dealer shows up with a giant blue monkey. Luckily I´m strapped of all cash, because there no room left for parking.

  95. ournote2self

    Although they do grab my attention when driving past…my first thought is not to stop and buy a car. I usually think about how I can get one of those for my son’s upcoming birthday or why no one’s stolen one of them yet???

  96. thefailedphilosopher

    There is a philosophical motivation and reason behind everything.

    Philosophically, the color of the gorilla is the color of the dealership owner’s demeanor: blue. He is a sad person. Why is he sad? Well, philosophy tells us that he is using a big gorilla to make up for a little something; something that is the source of his sorrow.

    Logic, which Rene Descartes so graciously invented, tells us that because of the boxer shorts, this dealership owner has an inadequate “little dealership owner,” which his wife is secretly bitter about. The dealership owner is secretly aware of her secret contempt, though, so he secretly set up a giant, blue, boxer clad gorilla, because that was the only way he could prove he was a man.

  97. Dianne Llanos

    Wow..your sort is attractive and very interesting to read especially those gorilla in the picture. I laugh when I saw it, so cute. I’m sure you get more sales because of your unique idea. Keep it up. Have a nice day.

  98. Joy Russell

    though It’s sounds silly but maybe to others Dianne Llanos would find it attractive ? It’s more funnier to think because It’s very childish….

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