Viewers of the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day may spot a familiar name floating by.
For the first time, Public Storage Inc., the country’s largest publicly traded self-storage REIT, is entering a float in the Rose Parade. The parade will travel down Colorado Boulevard and other streets in Pasadena, CA, a stone’s throw from Public Storage’s headquarters in Glendale.
The theme of the Public Storage float is “Adventures in Space.” The 45,000-pound float will feature three “fun-loving ‘space’ aliens,” Public Storage said on its blog.
Employees Lend a Hand
In a news release, Public Storage said that for the first time in the Rose Parade’s 125-year history, a participant’s employees scattered across the U.S. are decorating a section of a float. The REIT shipped a piece of the float to 33 regional offices. Public Storage employs about 5,000 people at more than 2,200 locations in 38 states. Employees decorated each foam piece with yellow straw flowers, representing a letter in an alien alphabet, and then sent it back to California.
“When assembled on the mother ship’s control board, the letters spell out a secret message that has led three whimsical aliens to arrive in Pasadena on New Year’s Day!” Public Storage said.
The message will be revealed as the float’s animation appears. The “still-secret animation” has gained the float one of just two extended TV shots in the two-hour, 5½-mile parade.
“I want people to look at it on New Year’s Day and be [so] overwhelmed that you can’t help but look at it and smile,” the float’s designer, Charles Meier of Paradiso Parade Floats, told the Public Storage blog.
Those smiles will come at a steep price. The folks at the Rose Parade say the cost of designing and building a float can reach $250,000 or more. On top of that, Public Storage paid a $15,000 parade entry fee.
But on the flip side, Public Storage will reap considerable exposure during the nationally televised parade. Roughly 40 million TV viewers in the U.S. are expected to watch the 2014 Rose Parade.
A Year in the Making
Work on the float began last January “with a creative idea, a drawing and a lot of conversations,” Public Storage said.
From Dec. 26 through 30, about 300 volunteers a day will gather to apply natural plant materials–such as flowers, rice, lentils and seaweed–to the 10,000-square-foot surface of what Public Storage calls “our moving masterpiece.”
Among the components of the float will be 200 pounds of red lentils, 13,000 lime-green button chrysanthemums, 52,000 carnations and 10,000 roses.
“Each rose must be placed in an individual water vial. Several hundred green apples, half oranges and purple cabbages will provide whimsical accents, with help from over 200 gallons of glue used to hold it all together,” according to the Public Storage blog.
Some of the most delicate live flowers and plants won’t be added until just before the parade kicks off.
“You work for a whole year on these floats, but so much of it comes down to a few days,” Meier said.