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Home News Inventor Hopes 6-Foot-Tall Inflatable Cockroach Catches On as a Quirky Marketing Tool

Inventor Hopes 6-Foot-Tall Inflatable Cockroach Catches On as a Quirky Marketing Tool

Business Strategy

Atlanta entrepreneur (and Irish tenor banjo player) Lee Nicholson is trying to tap into the industry's uses of creative marketing with a “Pop Art” inflatable cockroach that stands 6 feet tall, measures 40 inches across, and can be used as a swimming pool or beach float.

Brad Harbison | August 5, 2010

The inflatable cockroach stands 6 feet tall, measures 40 inches across,  and can be used as a swimming pool or beach float.

ATLANTA - Whether it’s attention-grabbing billboards, splashy fliers, funny radio and/or TV commercials, clever use of social media, etc., PCOs are ever-increasingly pushing the envelope when it comes to creative marketing.

Atlanta entrepreneur (and Irish tenor banjo player) Lee Nicholson is trying to tap into this industry trend with a “Pop Art” inflatable cockroach that stands 6 feet tall, measures 40 inches across,  and can be used as a swimming pool or beach float.

“Having worked for years as a sales rep for companies and having to work many, many trade shows I figured a 6- foot-tall inflatable cockroach with the company logo imprinted on it would be a dead ringer for (suppliers) as well as a great gift for employees and favorite customers of the pest control companies that deal with the public,” said Nicholson.

The idea came to Nicholson while he was attending an Old Time music festival taking place alongside a river. As part of the festival, attendees were using a multitude of items and ideas to make flotation devices. “It seemed a silly thing to do but I knew how large the pest industry is and it sort of went on its way from there,” he said. While Nicholson said he has long had the idea to offer such an item to the pest control industry, he couldn’t figure out the right business model until the advent of the Internet. His website, www.giantcockroach.com, serves not only as a marketing vehicle but as portal for placing orders.

Almost apologetically, Nicholson explained that he has to have the cockroach floats imported from China because no U.S. factory produces an inflatable pool or beach float. His business plan is to sell the units in bulk. “The custom logo of a company can only be applied when the cockroach is being made. It has to be flat to do that. It takes a substantial order to make this happen — a thousand or so units,” he says. “The cockroach has to travel 7,000 miles to get here and is on the water for 30 days (following the 30 days it takes to manufacturer it). There is a lot of work that goes into the design. They are not easy to make.”

But Nicholson says the Giant Cockroach also could be appealing to smaller companies not looking to buy them in such large quantities. Although small-quantity orders would not include an imprinted name/logo/phone number, an option available to them is having Nicholson place a sticker on the cockroach float box that says “Compliments of XYZ Company.”

So what are the future plans for Nicholson? Perhaps it’s the answer you would expect from a guy with such a whacky invention:  “My future plans right now are to survive and be able to play a tune I just learned called ‘Speed The Plow’ up to speed on Irish Tenor Banjo,” he said.

 

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