Commentary: Dangerous work but someone has to do it!

The following is strictly the personal opinions of Hugh Oldham and does not necessarily reflect the official policy of any organization or association.



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(Anderson, SC 10/12/02 2310)


Just returned from a research trip to a Monster Truck Rally.


What an experience – positive and negative!  To say the least, the demographics and activities of Monster Truck Rallies greatly differ from that of an airshow. (This research is dangerous work but someone has to do it!)


According the above website the median income of the spectators is $35K, yet the “race” we attended this afternoon here in Anderson had an estimated (by Jane, a reliable estimator) attendance of 3,500 @ $14.00 per admission.  They are running 5 feature races this weekend.  Extrapolate those numbers into a ¼ million dollar gross for the weekend?


The actual event lasted about one hour.  When I compare the difference in entertainment value of this Monster Truck event to that of an airshow – well even allowing for my bias, there is no comparison – an airshow is a better value in both event length and entertainment presented.


The second dramatic difference was the number and presents of both local and national sponsors. 

This page highlights the national sponsor on-board (down right side) and solicits additional sponsors.  Interesting reading for a marketing type!


Two points here: with only small differences the sponsorship value statements one could substitute the word “airshow” and our demographics are generally better in the consumer product lines.


Please take a few minutes and look around this website:  The name “Family Events.”  The positive information presented about this entertainment industry.  The sustaining sponsor recognition.  The marketing effort to both spectators and potential sponsors.


Oldham’s brainstorming:


ICAS Website:


Get rid of the “Message Boards” ASAP.  Any potential spectator/sponsor visiting these pages would come away with a very negative impression of our industry.  We’re letting 14 year olds sabotage our image.


Start ICAS sustaining sponsor recognition on the website.  Again, a potential sponsor should see that ICAS is corporate sponsor orientated (warm fuzzies never hurt).  As it is right now, a potential corporate sponsor would never derive the fact that ICAS/airshows have sustaining sponsorship programs.


Reorient the website from internal focus to external customer/sponsorship. Use this valuable tool to sell ICAS and airshows in general, not so much as a marketing tool to our internal customers.  That can be done through direct and email.




Continue to re-focus ICAS marketing from our internal customers (members) to the external customers.  We need that marketing effort to the outside world. Although members represent the current major revenue stream, revenue growth potential is from external sources.


Continue to focus on the event side of the business.  The performers continue to bitch but, in general, they don’t have the business sense to manage anything.  (My recent memo on “diversity” got several standard replies from the performer community that non-aviation events at airshows are taking away dollars from the fliers.  These guys, from the same mind-set who complained about jet trucks, are so myopic I wonder how they ever pass a physical!)  




What I saw today was a highly orchestrated marketing machine that sold everything from “Frisbees” during the show to tee-shirts at the post event autographic tent session.


The national sponsors were provided access to their potential customers and business was transacted.


A very unsophisticated demographic came and spent dollars making the show producer a profit and left happy after a one hour show.


What’s wrong with this picture Big Bird?  Nothing! 


I just sat there realizing the reality of how unsophisticated we are as an industry and was embarrassed by the realization that as an ICAS BoD member, I’m part of the problem.




Follow-Up Article in Local Paper