Skywriting advertising stunt for ABC program vanishes into thin air

Skywriting has fascinated us ever since the Wicked Witch of the West took to the skies with her smoke-sputtering broom to send a message to Dorothy. For most of the last century, promoters and self-promoters have used cloud-puffing planes to broadcast everything from cheesy ads to marriage proposals.

For Walt Disney (DIS)'s ABC, skywriting must have looked like a natural fit to promote its alien-invasion series V, a remake of the 1980s miniseries. The network's plan was to use skywriting to puff giant red V's over landmarks in 15 U.S. cities before the show's debut on Nov. 3. Imagine -- all those mysterious airplanes, etching cryptic messages in the airspace over the Statue of Liberty -- what could go wrong?
Well, aside from the momentary panic flaring up among New Yorkers who experienced the September 11 attacks, there's the wee issue of the tons of pollution spewing from the planes, according to The Washington Post. Each plane would emit about 400 gallons of fuel, each with roughly 800 grams of lead, and tons of pollutants.

Still, ABC said the stunt was aimed at being "carbon neutral." However the network had aimed to achieve that, though, the idea of sputtering greenhouse cases over major U.S. cities is a tad embarrassing for a company that said this year it plans to halve carbon emissions from fuels by 2012. The stunt would have targeted cities from Boston to Las Vegas that are already dealing with enough carbon-emissions before all those extra unwanted additives were put in the air.

ABC said it had made the decision to use its advertising resources for "other marketing tactics." (A representive declined to clarify.) Maybe the next marketing plan for V -- about seemingly benign aliens plotting to take over the planet -- will include a more environmentally friendly option.

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