Hot Air Balloons for Playboy Magazine and Kool Cigarettes Once Flew over Battle Creek
Battle Creek's Field of Flight hot air balloon show is one of southcentral Michigan's premier summer events. To see how much the event and our society have changed over the years, just consider the balloons that once made up the show.
A photo from the 1981 event, then called the World Hot Air Balloon Festival, was shared to the Battle Creek Regional History Museum Facebook page. The photo shows 23 balloons set to take flight. Two bear logos you likely wouldn't find widely advertised these days, one for Kool Cigarettes and the other for Playboy.
Because the images were shared on a Facebook group, we're unable to embed the image for you to see here, check it out at this link.
The Playboy balloon appeared to have gotten around in its day. Archival footage from KOAT-TV in Alburquerque shows what appears to be the same balloon in flight at that city's annual Balloon Fiesta, the nation's largest hot air balloon event.
More than just a balloon, Playboy once took its gentleman's entertainment beyond the printed pages of the magazine as there were Playboy Clubs around the county including one in Lansing.
As for the history of the Kool balloon, Digital Public Library of America notes that around 1980 the corporate owner of the Kool brand
Brown & Williamson sponsored the Kool Pro Balloon Tour, a national series of hot air balloon races, to promote their Kool brand of cigarettes.
So when you get ready to attend the next Field of Flight in Battle Creek, you'll see plenty of corporate and brand logos on balloons, but likely not adult magazines and cigarettes. As Virginia Slims once proclaimed, you've come a long way, baby.
Like the retired Playboy and Kool balloons, there are many other brands we just don't see anymore: