The original blimp was an immediate hit with fans when it first appeared in December 2009. Michelle Senner, Truly Nolen Director of Marketing and Arizona alum, asked the company’s in-house Research and Development team to come up with something new for this season. Her nephew Truly Scott Nolen, who is part of the team, was the one who came up with the idea to make it into a bee.
“When your logo includes mouse ears and a tail, you have a little more leeway than most,” said Senner. “Truly Scott knew we were looking for some buzz, and what better to try and achieve that with to kick off 2017 than with a blimp that looks like a bee!”
Galen Hungate, Senior Account Executive for IMG Arizona Sports Marketing, said it is always exciting to see the faces of Arizona fans watch the blimp and hope they get lucky with the tickets that are dropped from high above.
“For the previous seven years, the pilot crew flew remote control jets as a hobby and stunt planes competitively,” said Hungate. “Thanks to them, we were able to make improvements to the blimp and fly successfully in a tricky environment.”
The McKale Center’s many twists and turns have made for an entertaining trial run during the first month of the season prior to the official launch of the new blimp.
“Dodging the many activities on the court during halftime and landing at the right time and place has always been a challenge,” said Hungate. “With the new bee blimp, our crew has noticed the blimp is a little more streamlined and it moves around McKale faster.”
Senner encourages fans that see the blimp to share photos of it on social media with #TRULYLoved, a hashtag the company uses for many of its campaigns.