- Dylan Joubert
ATYPICAL Buys Millions of Square Feet of Air Rights Above US Cities to Run Advertising
The acquisition is part of the company’s strategy to own commercial real estate marketing in the United States.
By Dylan Joubert || April 1, 2022
ATYPICAL has acquired more than 8 million SF of property in the skies above major American cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, as part of its strategy to own commercial real estate marketing in the US. The air above the skylines, from eighteen hundred to three thousand feet (just feet above the tallest buildings) will now be owned by the company to be rented out for advertising and marketing purposes.
“Imagine looking up on your walk to work and the sky above you is filled with images from your favourite real estate brands! It presents untapped opportunities for companies to market themselves in a space that has never been used for anything other than the odd sky-writing airplane or pricey drone displays,” says CEO of ATYPICAL, Mark Kalkwarf.
You might be wondering how purchasing the actual air above a city is even legal? Kalkwarf goes on to explain that they’ve been working on the project for two years. In that time their legal team found several loopholes in the FAA’s ‘Navigable and Ownable Airspace Regulations’ from the nineteen twenties, when airspace was being sold for the potential use of zeppelins (a type of rigid airship) in major US cities; Chicago and New York having gone as far as actually having docking infrastructure built on skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building.
The legal team, headed up by Brian Boskin of Boskin and Sons, had this to say:
“We’ve double and triple checked every possible angle, and the law is on our side, it’s not our fault they missed something in the regulations back in the nineteen twenties when the possibility of advertising in the space above a city wasn’t even fathomable."
What’s even more impressive than the loophole is the dev-tech the company has created in order to generate the actual ads in the sky. “We’ve patented what we’re calling the ‘imPPACT’ system or ‘Pixel Perfect Air Coloring Technology’ system. It’s basically a capsule deployment device, like an air cannon, which shoots your ad into the sky, where the pixels then stay attached to hydrogen and carbon atoms in the sky for up to 6 hours, before detaching and being absorbed into the atmosphere,” Kalkwarf explains.
As a consumer, you are then able to look up and see the ad. BUT, you’re also able to activate it by using your smart phone camera, which picks up the tiny pixels, all fitted with QR codes, to continue the experience on the brand’s website.
We spoke to environmentalist Barbara Krejcki, who had to review the project as part of ATYPICAL’s regulations when trying to acquire the eight million square feet, and she was very impressed, saying “They’ve used a synthetic biome stabilizer which actually removes carbon from the air and makes it cleaner and more green efficient.”
Douglas Holmwood, VP of Marketing at Hilaria Real Estate and third round investor says, “When we were first pitched the idea my scepticism outweighed the potential brilliance of the project and I thought I was being taken for a ride. Only until we actually saw the imPPACT system being used (in the desert outside of Utah) did we actually understand the massive effect this would have on our bottom line.”
ATYPICAL has already undergone three rounds of investments, with two Silicone Valley juggernauts making up the Lion’s share of the capital raised. This makes sense as they’ll benefit massively from the advertising revenue generated, which stands to be in the billions of dollars as major real estate brands are already queueing up to be the first to display in the air above spots like Times Square in New York.
An un-named investor quoted, “This could be the biggest thing to happen to marketing and advertising since the TV was invented.” However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Sources say that New Yorkers are up in arms about the project, with one particularly disgruntled gentleman saying, “What next? Subliminal messaging to plant adverts in our dreams? Where does this madness end”. When asked to comment on this, a spokesperson for ATYPICAL simply stated that everything was legal and above board, and the project is going ahead.
It'll be interesting to see which giant gets the first bite of this cherry. To learn more about advertising opportunities and how your brand can benefit from the imPPACT system, click the button below.