April 17, 2014 |

Throwback Thursday: Pizza delivery by air in April 1993

By Mandy Wolf Detwiler

april 1993 coverOur April 1993 issue was devoted to delivery, which may or may compromise a large part of your own business. In that issue, rocket scientist (really!), skydiver, video producer and professional stunt man Joe Jennings decided he wanted to add pizza delivery to his repertoire of advertising avenues.

Jennings, the son of an Imo’s Pizza franchisee, wanted to help his dad drive home the fact that Imo’s could –– and would –– deliver just about anywhere. But other franchises caught wind of the idea and wanted to use it themselves, including a Greco’s Pizza franchisee and a Japanese company. Shot on a minute budget and using a camera mounted to a helmet, Jennings made sure logos could be seen on the pizza boxes. It took 15 jumps to perfect.

What he didn’t expect was that the boxes would cause so much trouble when held horizontally. They’d either break apart, or cause the skydiver to spin out of control. The answer came in a specially designed box reinforced with plywood, plastic and glue. While the boxes were first filled with lead, the production team worried about the boxes’ free fall to the ground, as both hands were needed to pull their chutes. Instead, a heavy mineral dust was used that would dissipate in the air, and the box would float to the ground.

This was ground-breaking 20 years ago. Now we’re able to use CGI and “smoke and mirrors” to make these types of commercials. Still, there’s something to be said for sheer tenacity and ingenuity!