One of my favorite parts of celebrating Thanksgiving is watching the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Nothing compares to seeing your favorite characters blown up into giant balloons. This year as my family watched one of my cousins made the comment “why is Sonic the Hedgehog a balloon in the parade and Mario isn’t?” Most of my family agreed that having a Sonic balloon and not a Mario balloon was odd. After all, Mario is far more popular than Sonic. However, with my new media centric mind, I knew exactly the answer to my cousin’s question. The Sonic balloon is in the parade because there is probably a new Sonic game that Sega is looking to advertise. So after informing my family of the probable cause I picked up my laptop and did some research. Of course the new Sonic Generations game was released at the beginning of November. This game celebrates the 20th anniversary of the character.
I realized that media has taught me to look beyond the exterior and think about the strategic reasoning of everything I see. The balloon makes perfect sense. A new Sonic game is rolling out, and over 50 million people tune in to watch the balloons float by. At the entry cost of $190,000, the price is small compared to the impressions made. So while others might believe that the balloons in the parade represent popular figures in our culture, the truth is that those balloons have a deeper purpose than delighting the public, they are there to bring awareness.