Is Greenville, SC, Actually Getting Jetpacks Or Is This Just Cruel Viral Marketing?

The site for the mysterious Greenville Jetpack Rentals even goes so far as to list rates and fees.

The site for the mysterious Greenville Jetpack Rentals even goes so far as to list rates and fees.

Earlier this week, billboards started popping up around Greenville, SC, advertising a new mode of transportation — or at least a form of transport that has been promised to us since the 1950s.

“Commuting is easy with Greenville Jetpack Rentals,” reads one billboard containing the URL GreenvilleJetPacks.com.

The site itself declares “The future is now,” and briefly describes how this company — with 12 likely fictional employees and apparently more than 100 jetpacks to rent out — was allegedly started by someone named Terrance Woodburrow — whose vague Facebook profile popped up around the same time as the billboards.

It says that, as a child, Terrance visited Alaska. “He saw three eagles fly over his campsite, and an unquenchable thirst for flight was sparked. Forty-five years later Terrance’s dream is becoming a reality with the launch of Greenville Jetpack Rentals in Greenville, SC.”

The company even lists rates for renting jetpacks, ranging from $10/day to $365 for an annual membership. Families can sign up for a $600 annual fee. No matter what level a renter chooses, he or she receives a “free 2-hour training class and jetpack operator’s license.”

Oh, but this being air travel, there are ancillary fees for helmet, knee pad and glove rentals, and a $10 fee will be assessed if the fuel cell is less that 30% upon return.

But it looks like this is all a case of viral marketing.

As WYFF-TV and other local news reports have learned, there is no Greenville Jetpacks LLC registered with the state, and no real evidence of an actual Mr. Woodburrow.

Following comments by some locals who claimed that marketing agency Erwin Penland, which happens to have an office in Greenville, is behind the campaign and that it’s possibly for Verizon Wireless’ Jetpack MiFi service and devices, we contacted the various parties.

A rep for Erwin Penland tells Consumerist that his company is indeed involved in the campaign. He could not identify the actual client — or when the name of that client might be revealed — but he did categorically deny that this has anything to do with Verizon.

No one at VZW’s public relations dept. has replied to our request for comment yet, but other sources at the company tell Consumerist they think it’s unlikely that this campaign is related to any of its wireless products.

Verizon Wireless has now confirmed to Consumerist that it has nothing to do with these billboards.

So if anyone out there wants to spill the beans on what this is all about, you can reach us at tips@consumerist.com