California were left without power for half an hour aft […]
California were left without power for half an hour after a mylar balloon hit an electric circuit breaker. It’s not a particularly unusual occurrence in the golden state: in May, a written statement from electricity supplier Southern California Edison warned Metalized film that metallic party balloons are “a problem that shows no end.” Mylar balloons the shiny, helium-filled foil kind you see all over Instagram caused power outages in Southern California in 2018, nearly double the 656 recorded four years earlier. The Balloon Council, with its motto Affirming America’s ongoing love affair with balloons,” now has a public awareness campaign warning customers to weight their inflatables.Who’s releasing these balloons into the atmosphere?
Let’s be honest, it could be anyone you know. Over the last five years, number- and letter-shaped foil balloons have become incredibly popular. If you search 30thbirthday on Instagram right now, five out of the nine “Top posts” feature hot pink, rose gold, silver, and gold balloons shaped like the numbers . At this point, whose name hasn’t been spelled out in balloon letters? Trump’s has. Britney’s has. North West’s certainly has. As of October 1st — the same date of the Vista power outage there is even a romance novel with its title spelled out in balloon lettersBriana Johnson, a trend and influencer marketing manager for the 102-year-old balloon business Pioneer Balloon Company, says Thicke and Cyrus used its balloons in both these instances. “In 2013, our letter balloons were brought to the public eye when Robin Thicke used them,” Johnson says, noting that other artists and celebrities followed suit.
Soon after that, online boutiques and party influencers started leveraging social media to show all of the fun ways to customize and incorporate them into different parties and events. Their popularity has continued to grow ever since.In a painstaking piece for Elle, journalist Nicole James chronicled the rise of metallic letter balloons. In July 2014, Victoria Beckham ordered the balloons for her daughter Harper’s third birthday, while in November, the Flaming Lips spelled out at the end of the festival. In 2015, the balloons were pictured alongside everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Kris Jenner to Mindy Kaling, while in 2017, Beyoncé firmly cemented the trend with “Twinning” balloons.
A year later, one man went viral after he began using the balloonsto spell out inspirational quotes.Johnson says that as number and letter foil balloons became more popular, different shapes such as dollar symbols and hashtags began to be manufactured. She says Pioneer Balloon (which has two lines, Qualatex for latex, microfoil, and bubble balloons and Northstar Balloons for foil letters and numbers) has directly teamed up with influencers to promote its products. Our influencer collaborations have been especially successful with new product launches,” she says.Momentarily leaving aside the issue of power outages, how did these balloons become so popular? Are they big business for balloon companies, and will the bubble burst any time soon? Just how much longer can shiny letters guarantee triple-digit Instagram “Likes”?It all started with Robin Thicke’s Big D. On March 20, 2013, the singer released the music video for his controversial song “Blurred Lines.” Forty seconds before the end of the video, the words were spelled out in large silver balloons behind the dancing model Elle Evans. Then, in her 2014 Bangerz tour, Miley Cyrus posed with hot pink letter balloons spelling out the album’s name.