Monday, July 15, 2024

How Drones Are Providing More Impact To Marketing

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  • Intel Corp. used 500 drones to create a light show in the night sky in Germany, creating a world record

Back in 2015, when Pepsi came up with the first global brand campaign, Genius, for Pepsi Max, the social media went abuzz. PepsiCo used drones in each of its campaign in the series to create an experience for its target audience.

In fact, in one such campaign, Drone Friend-Finder, Pepsi used three GPS-enabled drones in a crowd of nearly 50,000 people at New Look Wireless Festival for people to find their lost friends in the crowd. And according to the statistics provided by Live Nation, a live concert company, the campaign received 2.5 million YouTube views and more than 25,000 Facebook likes in the first week itself.

Another campaign from the series that created quite a buzz was Drone Football. The campaign began with a group of young boys coming together to play a pickup game of football when a drone flies over and drops the ball. It goes on to project a virtual football field (30,000 reactive LED lights were used for the projection) with a goal post on the either side, and a drone as a referee handing out yellow cards when a player fouled.

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But PepsiCo is not the first brand to use drones in its marketing campaigns. In fact, several brands across the West have used this technology to promote their brands, and have been successful in creating a brand recall, while some have seen a positive impact on their sales as well.

PepsiCo logo shown at Pepsi Zero Sugar SuperBowl Halftime Show using drone technology (Image courtesy: Intel Corp.)
PepsiCo logo shown at Pepsi Zero Sugar SuperBowl Halftime Show using drone technology (Image courtesy: Intel Corp.)

The current scenario

Drone advertising, or dronevertising, is a fairly new concept in the marketing fraternity across the globe. And while brands in India have been using drones to fly their banners, use of this technology in advertising is slowly evolving in the West. Drones are now used for creating amazing visual content as it ups the novelty factor instantly.

Technology giant Intel, which is betting big on drone technology, created a stunning show of drones, demonstrating to the world how this technology can up the game of promotions by notches.

“We are looking forward to using this new fleet of Intel Shooting Star drones publicly soon,” says Anil Nanduri, vice president – New Technology Group and general manager – Unmanned Aviation Systems, Perceptual Computing Group, Intel Corp., in his blog post. The tech major used 500 drones to create a light show in the night sky in Germany, creating a world record. So what exactly can drone technology achieve for marketers?

Shooting the sales up

A marketing campaign is created to either strike a brand recall in the minds of the consumers or to ensure that it kicks up the sales. So when Moscow based restaurant Wokkers used drones to carry its banner that promoted its offers during lunch hours in nearby office areas, it expected to strike the right cord with hungry office goers. But what it did not expect was to see a spike of a whopping 40 per cent in its sales in the same month.

Striking the right chord

National Football League (NFL) Superbowl, one of the biggest football events, was one of the top trending topics on social media early this year. Apart from the game, Lady Gaga’s halftime performance was much talked about.

NFL had approached Intel to take it to the next level. Intel used 300 drones to create a backdrop of colourful formations in the sky, including twinkling stars that changed into red-and-blue moving stars, eventually creating the American flag before bringing Lady Gaga to the centre stage. Pepsi sponsored the halftime performance and also had its share of branding when the drones came together to create the brand’s iconic logo.

During the event, reports suggested that there were 2.2 million real-time tweets about Pepsi Halftime Show, giving the iconic beverage brand the chance to engage with its target consumers, as well as a total of 5.1 million tweets about the performance. NFL’s twitter account drove 47,000 retweets and 29,000 likes. The event also got more than 49 million video views, and more than five million views on Facebook, in addition to reactions, comments and shares.

Ultimately, the show garnered nearly 118 million viewers, making it the most-viewed content on NFL’s digital platform, thus giving both NFL and Pepsi the opportunity to strike the right chords with their consumers.

Intel using drone technology to create the American flag (Image courtesy: Intel Corp.)
Intel using drone technology to create the American flag (Image courtesy: Intel Corp.)

The challenges

It is interesting to note that marketing experts across the globe are hailing drone technology as the next big thing. However, the Indian industry will have to overcome a few challenges before the technology is adopted by brands at a mass level.In the West, mostly Fortune 500 companies have been investing in exploring new channels of advertising. They understand the need to change with the times, and dronevertising definitely fits the bill. They understand that they are creating an extraordinary experience for their consumers, and such initiatives will be on the higher side of the costs. However, that is not the case with Indian marketers.

Brand expert Harish Bijoor feels that drone advertising will gain popularity in India only if the cost of the technology slashes significantly. He points out that, brands are successfully connecting with their consumers through traditional media such as broadcast, print and now digital and, hence, have not explored this technology in advertising.

Nevertheless, with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) planning to come up with a clear set of guidelines, drone technology companies are expected to come up with more sophisticated versions of drones, thus making the existing ones a little cheaper in cost.

Purba Das, senior business journalist, EFY


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