How Drones can be used for Marketing

November 19, 2014

Drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are creating quite the buzz at the moment. Ever since Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon was playing with the idea of delivering packages with drones, brands have viewed drones not just as unmanned military aircraft, but also as potential commercial marketing opportunities. Drones, however, are facing regulations in the United States for commercial use and it is likely that additional governments will follow suit due to safety and privacy concerns. Even though drones will not be integrated into our everyday lives soon, businesses are already pushing the envelope on using drones for marketing. Here are some examples:

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity: This year at The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity ,Twitter launched its account on Vine. This drone flew around the festival capturing 'dronies' (a play on selfies) of advertising executives.

Dolphin Safari: Dave Anderson is arguably one of the best success stories with drone marketing to date. His YouTube video, shot by a drone, captured incredible footage of marine animals off the Pacific Coast in California earning him nearly 10 million views - a marketing move that blew all his previous attempts out of the water.

Travel and Hospitality: Drones are a great fit for both the travel and hospitality industries as they can create that wow factor for destinations around the world. Take a look at this video of a resort in St. Lucia and this fantastic footage of The Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille.

Film industry: Drones are being used in various ways in the film industry especially for sports related filming like skiing - take a look at this Giant Slalom video filmed with a drone. Music videos are also using drones - take a look at this amazing video from Ok Go. Take a look at this homemade video taken with a drone in the Serengeti. The possibilities are endless for the film industry.

Real estate: Real estate agents are using drones to take footage of their properties for sale to give potential buyers the full experience of the home from their computer. Have a watch of this report from the New York Times on drones in homes.

This is just a selection of ways that marketers are getting creative with drones, and if the regulations are lifted, there is no doubt that the inventive ideas that marketers will create with drone technology will be out of this world. In California last year, engineers in California introduced their 'Burrito Bomber' that included the use of a UAV with GPS capabilities dropping burritos by parachute to customers What will they come up with next?

As with any innovative technology, there will be a considerable period of experimentation, trial and error. At this point, even though there are regulations against commercial use of drones in the USA, those marketers who have 'experimented' have not been met with a penalty. There is a definite consensus that drones are going to play a significant role in the future of business. It will be interesting to see how companies and brands use drones as this technology evolves and how consumers react to their increased use.

How do you feel about the use of drones for business and marketing? Can you envisage a drone being used in your data-driven marketing strategy?

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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