Another advertiser irresponsibly uses fire balloon in ad

Fire balloon
A fire balloon or sky lantern as seen in a testosterone commercial

Another advertiser on television for some unfathomable reason is using imagery of a fire balloon or sky lantern in a commercial. This time it is a company selling AndroGel, which is testosterone. In November it was Mercedes.

These incendiary devices use burning material such as rubbing alcohol or a candle to heat the air in a bag made of tissue paper or very thin plastic. The heat makes the device lighter than air causing it to rise into the sky, staying aloft for 10 minutes to 2 hours. They can be very pretty to watch especially when they are released dozens or hundreds at a time such as at a wedding or some other celebration. The  problem is they are uncontrollable and sometimes start wildfires or structure fires.

As we told you on February 27, 2013, a bill has been introduced in the Oregon legislature, HB 3199, that would prohibit the use of sky lanterns (or fire balloons), as well as exploding targets, and tracer ammunition on land within the boundaries of a forest protection district. The bill can be tracked at As this is written it is in the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee. (UPDATE: the bill was signed by the Governor and will take effect January 1, 2014.)

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

8 thoughts on “Another advertiser irresponsibly uses fire balloon in ad”

  1. Yo…previous to finding this Vigilante’ blog to affirm I’m not the only great thinker, I got this response 4/29 to my email expressing concern about the Chinese Lanterns to Andro Gel :
    Dear Bob,
    Thank you for contacting AbbVie.
    We always appreciate hearing directly from our consumers, whether they write in praise or in offering their comments and/or suggestions about our products or services. It is our good fortune to receive such valuable feedback.
    Your comments are greatly appreciated and will be forwarded to the appropriate team.
    Customer Service
    AbbVie Pharmaceutical Products
    —————————— ——————————–
    Much akin to Google’s first commercial for the premier of their Nexus Tablet last August: despite the touching bonding of Dad/son, watch at the very end when Dad blows it

  2. Yea I think its stupid negligent advertising… Release Fire Into the Great Wide Yonder, WTF advertisers? Put the Guy and Gal on a sailboat or something..Dumb ass Madison Ave!

  3. Bill,
    It’s an add. They are pretty cool. Just like car adds of fishtailing around corners, and explosions galore. I think we have bigger problems than impotent men, or their partners, releasing fire balloons. Just saying.

      1. These sky lanterns are illegal in some areas and it is unthinkable to me that this irresponsible ad should be shown on the evening news during which the talk is about the western forest fires/wild fires and the death of the Hot Shots!! You KNOW that dumb people are going to think “that looks like fun!” and try it! I have written to the company and to all the networks, and I see LESS of this commercial – thank you for writing, too!

        1. Maybe filming the commercial, they were responsible for a wildfire or two. Anyone know how to contact the agency who made this irresponsible ad?

    1. And TV ads for Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man didn’t make teenagers want to smoke and eventually get lung cancer either! Wanna bet we see a major increase in wildfires started by these devices in the coming months?


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