I’ve reached my Dr. Strangelove moment about drones. Or, “how I learned to stop worrying and love the drone.”
Like every invention in flight, they’ll be used for good and for bad.
Let’s focus on the good. More specifically, let’s focus on drones in marketing and advertising, in which drones will be very good. Consider:
Stylized aerial footage: Drones can film very close to the ground and very close to their subject in ways that no helicopter could. The narrative use for this is endless. Imagine trying to help a sustainable farmer tell her story, and she wants to provide real evidence of “free range.” A drone can deliver that.
Or, say, you have an architectural client that needs outstanding detail footage of one of its buildings. A drone can film the exterior of the high-rise, up close, with minimal human risk and minimal cost.
Creative campaigning tactics: A happy luxury-vehicle customer parks his new ride in the driveway, just home from the dealership. A drone zips up, says hello, excuses itself for interrupting (real-time interactive drones are the next step) and neatly drops on the lawn a coffee thermos branded with the logo and contact info of the best independent mechanic in town.
Might another client’s potential customers think UFOs are fun? Imagine print and outdoor advertising that ask, “Have you seen the UFOs?” and “Are we being visited?” Then the drones make it real, for a short time, before these “UFOs” come in for a landing at the client’s promotional event.
Drone theater: If a team of quadcopters can be coordinated to play the original James Bond theme, then in coming years they could be programmed to act out live performances, much like a flash mob, to promote just about anything.
Drone-to-drone communications: Imagine how groups of drones will interact 20 years from now when possibly millions of Americans have their own mini-drone that runs errands for them or goes on personal data-collecting missions. That little drone will encounter other drones, and it will communicate with them. Some of that communication, no doubt, will be sponsored and promotional.
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I’m just thinking out loud, and these notions here need a lot of refinement. Additionally, the FAA and local police forces are going to have a lot to say about where, how, and when a person can operate a drone (the chamber of commerce will also have an opinion).
But the time to figure out the first wave of drone advertising strategies is here.
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