News - Holden
Blimp-free zone: Big Red has been banned from major sporting events in Queensland.
Queensland bans Holden blimp as cricketers recoil over 'parasite marketing'
1 November 2006
HOLDEN claims it will abide by any new flight restrictions for its multi-million-dollar airship following a decision by the Queensland government to pass new legislation that bans blimps and skywriting over major sporting events in the state from this week.
As GoAuto reported last week, Cricket Australia has written to the federal and state governments, urging them to prevent Big Red from continuing its "parasite marketing" campaign which saw it hover over the Toyota-sponsored AFL grand final in September.
Big Red was warmly welcomed at motorsport events including Bathurst and the Gold Coast Indy race, but saw AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou raise concerns about the blimp with Victorian sport and recreation minister Justin Madden.
While GoAuto has learned the Victorian government, which has entered election campaign mode in earnest, is unlikely to pass laws that restrict Big Red's movements, Holden has received a complaint from the Victorian Racing Club, which has asked for a 1.5km exclusion zone for the craft following concerns about the airship spooking horses and endangering jockeys at this week's Spring Racing Carnival, sponsored by Lexus.
But the Queensland government is the first state to officially ban the blimp. The new laws will make it an offence for a non-sponsor of a major event to fly an aerial blimp, skywrite and or hang a sign from a building within sight of major events at Suncorp Stadium, the Gabba, Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville and the partially built Robina stadium.
The ban will prevent the "Holden-burg" from flying over both Suncorp Stadium's rugby league test between Australia and Great Britain on November 18 and the Gabba's Ashes test match over November 23-27.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland welcomed the Queensland government's move, describing Big Red's 12-month Australian tour as "offensively inappropriate parasite marketing", while state sports minister Andrew Fraser said: "Ambush marketers should simply not be allowed to have a free ride at the expense of financial arrangements securing major events."
The new Queensland legislation means the Ford Ranger Cup limited-overs cricket matches in Queensland will also be blimp-free zones, but Ford Australia denies it asked Cricket Australia to lobby for Big Red's exile.
President Tom Gorman was light-hearted in his response. "Oh, the guys with blimp?" he said. "I think this it’s all good theatre, frankly. My understanding is Holden has spent a lot of money on that so it doesn’t do them any good if it’s parked on the ground. They need to get it up in the air and they might fly it over some venues.
"We’ll deal with that as it comes, but that’s more fluff than reality and I wouldn’t lose sleep over that. We have plenty of other things to worry about. We don’t compete in the blimp segment. We’ll let them have it to themselves," he said.
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