Drones seem the be the next ‘big thing’ in agency land with terms such as drone-vertising, dronies (a drone selfie) and drontage gradually entering the lexicon of a marketer. You can’t argue with the fact that drones will change the way some businesses operate going forward. Take farmers for example who are using drones to do aerial surveys of their crops or Amazon’s future plans to use drones to deliver customer packages .
So not one to be left behind and always loving a new toy to play with, the OTM office just took delivery of a shiny new Parrot AR Drone 2.0 . Now this model is fairly affordable coming in at around £250-300 depending on your bargain hunting skills. It is a fairly modest model kitted out with a forward facing HD camera (albeit a fixed camera), but does have a fairly impressive range and can stabilise itself in winds of up to 15mph. It did take us a while to master the art of steering the drone, but several collisions and one mild concussion later, we were pros.
Drones are an exciting prospect and certainly have a large range of uses. But how can an agency make use of drone technology and how useful will they be to clients. What can we expect in the next few years?
Drone-vertising is the new 2014 buzz word for all marketers and there are several examples of agencies jumping on this bandwagon. The basic premise is a fleet of drones terrorising a certain area with banners or signs advertising a compay or product.
A recent example of this took place in Moscow when creative agency Hungry Boys sent out drones during lunchtime to advertise the noodle restaurant chain Wokker. The drones caused quite a stir in the district they were deployed and quickly became an internet talking point. The stunt also proved successful with lunchtime business reportedly up 40% at the restaurant.
Expect to see more of this in the future. Large banners flying past your office window could be the start, personalised advertising with custom drones sent out based on your Facebook likes could be the future. Who knows how far this one could go?
As ever, we all love a catchy new word. Enter the ‘dronie’; the selfie with a drone. Now I think a bit of poetic license has been used on this, because I find it hard to imagine being able to take a good quality photo whilst trying to maintain control of the aircraft (perhaps we just need a bit of practice). But a photo from the heavens is possible especially with the sensors now available that make drones automatically follow you from above.
Where I think dronies are great is in getting those shots that were previously a pain to set-up, needing a crane set up or a very long ladder to make possible. Drones allow creativity that previously wasn’t possible. Think aerial shots from awkward positions, cliff edges, bird POVs, treetops, tube/subway platforms. The list of possibilities is quite wonderful and is something that will get photographers/directors very excited.
A drontage montage is set to revolutionise certain areas of film. Think long continuous shots taking in a multiple locations in one shot. Internal and external scenes can be built into a single shot by flying in and out of windows for example or a single shot could cover a large amount of distance without the need for expensive rigging. There is also ample opportunity to cut these together to produce impressive video at a fraction of the price similar footage would have cost a couple of years ago. Video is said to be the most engaging format of 2014 so this is great for agencies/clients alike. Now everyone can play with the big boys.
The legality of this needs to be verified,but drones could be used to relay live events at sporting events/concerts/exhibitions. They would offer a new perspective and a freedom not afforded by a static camera. Think of exhibitions or fairs where users can catch a live glimpse of what is on offer via a drone or a party with the drone acting as your fly on the wall catching the antics of the revelers on film. It may be a while before the exact legalities on this become clear, so a cautious approach is perhaps the best approach until a ruling is made on this.
The list of publicity stunts drones could facilitate is endless and with a little bit of imagination, will provide a good deal of fun for agencies and their clients in the future. A good example of this is the launch of the Star Trek film Into Darkness last year. One launch stunt saw 30 Asctec Hummingbird quadcopters kitted out with LEDs take to the air near London's Tower Bridge forming the outline of the Star Trek logo.
The question we must ask however is how long such a stunt will have the ‘wow’ factor. With some creative thinking though (11 a-side drone football, synchronised drone dancing, drone treasure hunts), there are definitely headlines to be won.
So perhaps now is the time to start thinking about drone strategy as a nifty addition to your agency's tool kit. Now that it seems that drones will not just be a fleeting trend as was predicted when they first emerged on the scene, it would seem foolhardy to ignore them.
If worst comes to worst, at least you’ll have a fun new gadget for the office.