Private Air Force for Mr. PiBB

The first Mr. PiBB promotional campaign launched by the Coca Cola Company that coincided with the brand's 1972 introduction with named, "Private Air Force for Mr. PiBB." Continuing through 1975, it made its way from city to city with the goal of increasing brand name recognition and ultimately, sales. The promotion included a Coca Cola employee contest/giveaway, an intensive advertising campaign with television, radio and newspaper spots and outdoor billboards, plus the overhead support of a touring hot-air balloon with the conspicuous Mr. PiBB logo on the side for all below to see.

Rally the Troops

Before Coke was ready to introduce Mr. PiBB to the public, they had to prepare their "forces," company sales representatives, to sell it. To foster excitement for the new brand among their own team members, Coke oversaw the production of gift items with the "Private Air Force for Mr. PiBB" logo to be given away as prizes to Coca Cola sales associates for setting up new accounts in soft drink vendors and meeting monthly brand sales goals. Items produced for the internal half of the "Private Air Force" promotion included a windbreaker jacket, a pair of leather gloves, a leather order pad case, a ballpoint pen, a key ring and fob, a band-aid 5 pack dispenser, a seat cushion, sunglasses and a pin. For details about each of these interesting Mr. PiBB collectibles and the clever way they were packaged, follow this link.

Full of Hot Air

Mr. PiBB was also promoted by means of a hot-air balloon. Coke enlisted the help of champion balloonist Matt Wiederkehr to command the giant balloon over cities where Mr. PiBB was to make its debut. At the time, the 12-year veteran of ballooning had captured 22 world records for distance and endurance in many different categories of balloons. The Mr. PiBB balloon, which held 77,500 cubic feet of hot air and stood 70' tall, made its flights in collaboration with local radio station promotions of the towns below.

Memorabilia related to the public side of this promotion can be reviewed by following this link.

The Start of Something

The "Private Air Force for Mr. PiBB" promotion represents the genesis of the beverage itself. Within several years of introduction, Mr. PiBB had gained a substantial amount of popularity with beverage consumers, partly due to its great taste and partly due to the successful marketing accomplishments of the "Private Air Force." Very unique and exciting, the "Private Air Force for Mr. PiBB" promotion will go down in beverage advertising history as one of the most successful brand introductory campaigns ever.