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Special Shapes
Special shape hot air balloons are custom built balloons that are designed to grab attention on a scale greater than a standard hot air balloon. They do this by shaping the envelope (the fabric part of the balloon) to represent a specific product or brand. Over many years of operating hot air balloons, Airship & Balloon Company have unrivalled expertise in the sales and marketing of products, using hot air balloons and we have commissioned such diverse hot air balloons as a rabbit for Cadbury's Caramel, a shopping trolley for Tesco, a dog for Churchill Insurance, a monster for recruitment specialist Monster.com and our famous Minion hot air balloons for the Despicable Me movies and Universal Pictures.
On average a special shape hot air balloon will cost around 2 -3 times that of a standard balloon to produce, but will return this increased construction cost through an increase in solus TV coverage and Social Media.

Special shapes fit into three categories -
Virgin Atlantic Airways Jumbo balloon
Appendage Shapes
The simplest form of special shape hot air balloon, an appendage shape simply attaches a number of external inflatable sections to the surface, of a standard hot air balloon. The appendages do not help with the lift of the balloon but are inflated by using ducted ‘warm’ air from the main body of the balloon. You might expect to pay from £40,000 for this type of Shape hot air balloon.
White Horse Whisky balloon over Cardiff

Rotational Shapes
These are shapes which appear to have no resemblance to a standard hot air balloon, but in the same way as a standard balloon, have a line of symmetry around their vertical axis (imagine rotating the balloon in the same way the earth rotates). They often have an inner Round balloon, not visible form the outside, which gives the bulk of the active lift of the balloon.
As these Shapes are more complicated, the cost is likely to be around £50,000

Churchill Insurance balloon in London
Abstract Shapes
Abstract shapes are balloons with no rotational symmetry, which also do not resemble a standard hot air balloon in any way. As in Rotational Shapes, they sometimes have a hidden Round balloon or even two, inside to give active lift.
These are definitely the most popular Shapes with the Public and TV/Media and require the most experienced Pilots to fly them. Prices are from around £60,000 - but we did commission one Shape hot air balloon which cost over £100,000 -
Oh Yes!