Drone’s Eye View

Seeing Events through a Whole New Lense

Drones.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’ve revolutionised how we see the world and their potential applications have fascinated marketers since emerging in earnest in the mid-to-late noughties.

But for every Lady Gaga drone-infused Super Bowl Half-Time show, there has been a negative tale of intrusiveness verging on a major public hazard.

Perhaps the most notorious was the appearance, in October 2014, of a drone carrying an Albanian nationalist banner over the ground hosting a Euro 2016 qualifier between Serbia and Albania that resulted in a pitch invasion, a three-point penalty for Serbia and both teams being fined €100,000.

For a period, it seemed that event organisers were deliberately steering clear of the technology for fear of triggering an adverse reaction from the relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, the likes of Amazon were busying themselves with PR stories concerning the potential of drones as an innovative delivery mechanism while an entirely new sport – drone racing – emerged and immediately started to attract interest from major sponsors.

Now, thanks to the introduction of drone swarms, the technology is becoming a major focus in the world of experiential marketing.

Intel’s use of 500 synced-up drones to ignite Lady Gaga’s performance at Super Bowl LI in Houston was a dry run for the company’s repeat performance at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang that featured 1,200 illuminated drones flying in formation to create the Olympic Rings in the night sky, breaking a Guinness World Record in the process.

This type of drone show is also known as swarm drones which is the next big trend within drone technology, the drones are controlled remotely from a computer system and create amazing drone shows which are an entirely new form of entertainment that few people have seen before.

The ease with which drone swarms can be choreographed means that a key trend we will see over the coming months will be brands employing them across a multitude of live events, creating amazing visual displays.

Of course, the huge potential of drone technology can be brought to bear on experiential marketing events including delivery – as referenced in Budweiser’s current World Cup TV spot – as well as the simple filming solution they provide to capture remarkable airborne imagery which is incredibly cost-effective.

Ultimately, one of the key challenges that faced drones in their infancy – the fact that their applications appeared limitless – may well turn out to be an attribute and one which places them firmly at the centre of marketing innovation – particularly in the experiential arena – for years.

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