Lady Gaga beat me to the punch on this one.

I’ve had a bit of a fascination with drones for some time now, from how this technology can disrupt the supply chain to its potential impact on the marketing world.

Now as the post event celebrations or commiserations of the 51st Super Bowl get underway, the combination of key words in my head somehow revolve around Lady Gaga’s half time show, drones and the Super Bowl. Add to that Pepsi and Intel.

For the record, I’m not putting out a view on whether the performance was good or bad. All I’m saying is, well… how cool were the drones?!

The possibilities have barely been explored and what makes it even more fun, is that there’s even a few regulatory obstacles to overcome.

Did the drones steal the show?

The Half Time show and the Super Bowl commercials can sometimes score a larger share of viewers than the actual game itself. That’s just the live viewing ratings.

At a cost of circa US$5M for a 30 second television slot, companies are scraping the barrel for innovative stunts, live ads and political messages. Surely we’re approaching the abyss of the all too formulaic. Not everyone’s able to grab the audience’s interest and score additional PR value for every penny. You’d have to be so controversial, that Fox rejects your ad, leading your website crashing because everyone now wants to watch it.

It’s a lot to bank on.

Or you can just back Lady Gaga’s thirteen minute extravaganza, showcasing your humble piece of technological innovation.

After it’s all said and done, when the dust settles, I think the drones will have the final word.

The obstacle factor

What’s a good story without an obstacle to overcome? Increased legislation and challenges of drone usage are great fuel for a marketing story.

Although it seemed to be a live performance, it appears that the stadium rooftop, drone segment of Lady Gaga’s Half Time show were filmed days earlier. Restrictions placed by the Federal Aviation Administration, meant that drones were not allowed to fly over the NRG Stadium during the event itself.

Makes sense, since there’s hundreds of them and who knows if a rogue one could have entered the fray. Anyone who can recall the horror of the autonomous drone insects from the final episode in series 3 of Black Mirror (“Hated in the Nation”), might well be thankful for these restrictions!

However the very topic of restrictions against the drone performers made for great headlines in of itself.

The novelty factor

Whether you incorporate drones as actors in the show or you’re dropping waffles from a parachute using a remotely operated drone, you’re floating on the fact that there’s still a lot of novelty in this technology. By and large, few people understand it and thus its achievements remains within the realm of the alien.

Let’s face it, even the best of us can’t help but turn our heads at something that’s a little quirky or different.

At this early stage, a drone-related stunt, backed up by a collaborative effort in publicity and social media, should be an easy attention-grabber.

The good versus the ugly factor

The reason for the clamp down and regulatory oversight on drones, stems from various angles of fear:

On the flip side, there’s a growing field of follow-me drones that can capture sporting footage from the most impressive viewpoints.

The marketing challenge is to preempt the negatives and try to instigate the positive stories and value that drones can bring to an event or movement.

Start droning on 

Intel doubled up their bet, by investing in both a Super Bowl television ad, featuring Tom Brady, as well as backing up with their Half Time drone extravaganza. Apparently Lady Gaga didn’t even get paid for her efforts (although some would consider an audience in excess of 114 million pretty good value).

However, you don’t need the funds that Intel have, to make an impact.

Drones are fast reaching a commodity price-point. Not everyone knows yet, how best to leverage its marketing potential. It’s not too late to get on the drone bandwagon.

Are you up for the challenge?

Stay tuned for more upcoming posts and articles on drone technology.

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