Free Startup Idea Fridays: Cloudvertisements

This is my latest post in my Free Startup Ideas series.

I've been coming up with business ideas since my earliest childhood memories. Most of them have been absolutely terrible. Some of them have been decent. And now I'm going to give away some of my best ones for free.

Am I really give these ideas away with zero expectation of return? Absolutely.

  1. Ideas are worthless. It's all about execution. If you want to take one of these ideas and run with it, do it. I'll even be happy to give you a brain dump with all of my notes on the idea as I’ve been thinking about most of them for a while.
  2. I take coffee meetings all the time with people looking for startup ideas. Perhaps one of these ideas will help them spark a new idea of their own.
  3. I want to get these ideas out of my head to clear some of my brain's RAM. That way I can come up with new and better ideas.
  4. I like giving things away and planting seeds.

Without further ado...

Pitch: Advertising just isn't what it used to be. With some much demand for people's attention, marketers need to come up with new ways to build excitement around their product. And that's why we look to the skies, or more precisely, the clouds. Cloudvertisements use ultra high strength projectors to broadcast you marketing message into the skies over major cities.

Backstory: Back when I was in college, startups weren't really a thing. Well, I suppose they were, but they definitely weren't a real career option. So I decided that I was going to become an inventor. And by become an inventor, I meant dream up all sorts of crazy ideas -- something that has obviously stuck with me :)

I was on a Jet Blue flight home and was lazily watching TV and thinking about ideas. Back to the Future II was on and I was watching flying cars on the "highways." I thought to myself that flying cars weren't that much of a stretch as I was flying 500 mph in a metal tube watching TV. I started to think about the opportunities that present themselves if we had flying cars. And for some strange reason, my first thought was that there would be flying billboards to distract the drivers. Random.

And that's when it clicked. The skies are such an untapped medium for advertising.


I'm quite confident that the technology exists. A huge-ass projector. And some clouds. The rest of it comes down to business development and regulatory hurdles.

Let's assume the projector technology exists or can be built. The next stop is to do some research and make sure you are going to piss off the FAA. I can't really see any other regulating authorities having a problem with this. Maybe you could start here with the FAA Form for and Outdoor Laser Show.

The next step is to ensure you having something epically magnificent to blast into the sky. In my mind, the perfect candidate is a beer or alcohol brand. You convince them to create a marketing campaign around this Cloudvertisement. Perhaps a partnership with Dos Equis and the Most Interesting Man in the World. Once the Cloudvertisement turns on, Doe Equis starts telling people via their social media channel to show up at a particular bar for a pop-up party.

That would definitely be news worthy and the ROI on whatever money you charge would be better than any other opportunity out there. After that, you're in business.

Some Obvious Downsides

  1. This whole operation depends on a cloudy sky. Obviously unpredictable at best.
  2. After the initial Cloudvertisement, it will lose a little bit of its wow factor, but that shouldn't stop a creative person like yourself.
  3. You would need to patent or somehow protect yourself from competition. Ideally, you would have one sponsorship deal per city. I think it would start to lose its bravado if you have multiple Cloudvertisements running on the same night. Maybe not though. But that doesn't change the fact that you don't want competition eating your cake.

Bottom line, I think this idea is definitely possible. I think it's potentially very lucrative. And most importantly, I think it would be really cool to put up a real life Bat Signal and have people from all over the city show up at an epic party.