Opinions expressed past
contributors are their ain.
It’s halftime at a Dallas Mavericks basketball game. Champ, one of the team’due south mascots, races onto the basketball court with his customized air cannon. He teases the rowdy fans with the launcher, waiting to hear which prepare of fans deserves to take home a prize. Champ launches a T-shirt to a human being in the terminal row of the arena. The homo, waving his arms excitedly, high-fives friends as he proudly displays his prize.
For Air Cannons Inc. president Jake Wilson, that’s what it’s all about. “You’ve got this guy up in the nose-drain section, but he gets this T-shirt and he’s a ll excited,” says Wilson. That’due south why [Air Cannons] are successful and make an excellent marketing tool.”
Air Cannons, based in Aurora, Colorado, has been hyping up crowds at sporting events, concerts and other public places since 1996. The idea came from Terry David, Wilson’due south brother-in-law. David initially tested T-shirt launchers with a partner from the Colorado Rockies. When that partnership fizzled, David founded Air Cannons.
In 2003, Wilson learned about David’s venture and noticed that the visitor wasn’t living up to its potential. As a consultant in the construction field, Wilson stepped up and by the end of 2004, quit his ain full-time job to run the company every bit president.
Wilson’s total-fourth dimension attention and business acumen take boosted the company’s sales and made them a force to be reckoned with. “Before I came aboard, the company did equally much sales in the entire year equally we at present practice in a month,” he says. “The big jump came in 2004, when we increased our sales by more than 180 percent and our profits by more than 200 percent.”
Although Wilson won’t divulge sales figures, he says the company grows and exceeds their expectations each year. Comprised of nearly four employees, the company owes some of its recent success to adding ammunition on their product listing. “Companies would buy an Air Cannon from us every v years or so, but they’ll continually buy T-shirts, stress balls, baseball caps, rally towels and whatever else we can launch out of the Air Cannon,” Wilson says.
Air Cannon’s diverse clientele includes professional and amateur sporting and racing teams, radio stations from across the globe, professional person musicians and entertainers, high schools and colleges and marketing and promotions companies. Pop sports teams that purchased Air Cannons include the Dallas Cowboys, the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Avalanche and the Phoenix Suns.
Surprisingly, Wilson says sports teams aren’t his largest grouping of clients. In fact, marketing, promotions and advert companies incorporate nigh 95 pct of the company’southward business organisation. One of Air Cannon’s nigh unique clients was a funeral dwelling, which used the Air Cannon at a high school football game. “Businesses realize it’s a good fashion to market themselves,” he says.
Air Cannons produces 5 models of launchers, ranging in size. The Twister 325, which is the visitor’s near pop model, can be rented, or sells for $2,195. Launching a altitude of 10 to 325 feet, the Twister 325 can reach a oversupply of 5,000 to 12,000. In add-on, Air Cannons offers customized cannons. “If somebody has an thought, we’ll build it,” he says. His favorite launchers include the black panther and the tank, which a mascot can really climb inside to stir upward excitement.
Wilson says his T-shirt launchers aren’t the but ones on the marketplace. Websites similar tshirtgun.com are competitors, but Wilson makes the distinction. “We practice not use nor will we always use a PVC or whatever blazon of barrel that has plastic in it. All of our models are made out of aircraft aluminum,” he says.
Equally Wilson faces pressure from competitors, he makes certain the company stays a step alee, particularly in the realm of engineering. In the late ’90s, the Air Cannon was accompanied with a backpack to agree the CO2 tank, and was continued to the launcher with a hose. Today, the company is developing double and triple-barreled launchers. “We’re working on the evolution of a semi-automated, and nosotros’ve already washed a few prototypes where you can pre-load six shirts and launch them at the aforementioned time,” he says.
For the fourth dimension beingness, Wilson is having fun while still thinking almost the future. “If nosotros were to evolve, we could have some of the things we’ve learned from the shooting of these Air Cannons and apply it to something entirely different and that would provide another opportunity for us.” The remainder of united states of america will have to keep grabbing for T-shirts and expect and see.