Videos: Balloon-dangling stunt leads to 911 freak outs, PR bonanza
Yesterday, multiple Longmont residents dialed 911 after seeing a man hanging from a hot-air balloon. Shades of Balloon Boy!
Photos, videos below.
Turns out there was no reason to panic. The dude in question -- Boulder's Dan Vinson -- was taking part in a promotional video for a future Kickstarter campaign touting a fitness product called monkii bars. And far from being apologetic about causing such a response, the hypsters seem to be flat-out thrilled at all the attention their stunt garnered.
Vinson is president of The Wild Gym, whose website features the following mission statement:
Our story is a tale of wildness, passion and purpose -- the three tenets of our company and something the three of us founders pursue every day. Each of us has a different story -- from the wilderness of Northern California to the remote highlands of Ethiopia to the fast-paced world of tech -- but together we are guided on this adventure by our undying love of the outdoors as we strive to innovate in exercise.The Wild Gym's signature product at this early stage of development is monkii bars -- a "lightweight and ultra portable fitness tool that ignites adventure and enables you to Workout Anywhere," according to the online pitch.
Here's a photo of monkii bars, which consist of two handles and a series of flexible bands:
The site also features an ultra-slick video that shows a number of fitness enthusiasts using monkii bars in between other athletic feats of prowess.
In an effort to one-up this clip, Vinson attached some monkii bars to the bottom of a hot-air balloon and did pull-ups as the craft drifted over Longmont -- although these calisthenics weren't immediately obvious to people on the ground, a number of whom dialed 911 according to the Longmont Times-Call.
Said one caller: "There is a hot-air balloon on the north end of town and there is a guy hanging from it. I don't know if he is supposed to be or if he is in trouble."
A quick investigation reportedly revealed that Vinson was harnessed in and not at risk of falling to his death, prompting one dispatcher to wish that he'd affixed a sign to himself reading, "I'm OK."
As for Vinson, he told the Times-Call that he noticed people calling out to him from the ground, but he assumed they were cheering him on.
The folks visiting The Wild Gym Facebook page certainly were. A link to a HuffPo article about the mistaken emergency prompted comments such as "Nice work Dan! Great publicity for a great product!" and "I love it." Later, page administrators exulted about the attention via posts like "fox news van on the way to find out more about monkii bars...stay tuned."
Take note, entrepreneurs: A PR bonanza is just an apparent disaster away. Here's a Longmont Times-Call video featuring footage of Vinson and comments from The Wild Gym CEO David Hunt.
More from our Videos archive circa December 2010: "Balloon Boy dad Richard Heene's Bear Scratch ad shows he's crazier than we thought (VIDEO)."