While both Facebook and Google are exploring the use of drones for their own growth, smaller businesses are already investigating the use of airborne technology for advertising.
This idea is not entirely new. In June 2013, Domino’s tested drone pizza delivery in the UK via the “DomiCopter.” A little over a year later, creative agency Hungry Boys created a new advertising technique for Asian restaurant chain Wokker in Russia: “dronevertising”. The campaign proved successful, as local deliveries in the campaign areas were up 40% as of August 11, 2014 according to psfk.com. Hungry Boys’ insight? “Sometimes workers are so busy with their tasks, that they forget about the lunch break. Posters flying behind the window are a great way to remind them of it.”
Perhaps this new form of advertising became most popularized before the Wokker campaign, however, when college student Raj Singh founded Dronecast. The 19-year-old CEO launched Dronecast’s first official flight in April 2014. NBC Philadelphia and other news sources claim that flying drones for hire currently falls in a legal gray area, and the Federal Aviation Administration is now developing guidelines for using drones for business purposes in the U.S. Singh says that if the FAA releases a set of rules, he is happy to comply. According to Fortune, Singh states, “We’re not looking to go up against the FAA. We’re just trying to change the face of advertising.”
What does this mean for the future of advertising?
A great deal of potential lies in this technological advancement once the FAA establishes more distinct rules for advertisers.
Popupcity.net makes a notable point, though: “If these moving billboards become more commonplace there is high chance that they will be as ignored as online pop-up ads, which usually generate more annoyance than interest.”
If and when that day comes, companies will have to become increasingly innovative in their advertising techniques in a world of ever-growing competition.
Many argue that “traditional advertising” is dying, but dronevertising could certainly direct our attentions out of the Web and back into the physical world for a bit…perhaps seeing drones above us will make us glance up from our smartphones more frequently.
Airware’s founder and CEO Jonathan Downey describes some of the advantages: “Imagine the benefit of an aerial view for a search and rescue team looking for a lost skier after an avalanche…. the advantage aerial data can give a farmer looking to manage his acreage and increase his crop yields. And remote villages could have reliable access to any medication and vaccines within hours….” Drones’ immense potential goes far beyond advertising and business growth.