Dave Anderson, president of Captain Dave’s Whale Watching & Dolphin Safari, already had the video and social media chops to attract hundreds of thousands of YouTube views for his boat tours in Dana Point, Calif. Then he upped the ante, this year buying two video-equipped drones that he guided into the sky to capture jaw-dropping footage of marine mammals off the Pacific Coast.
Anderson’s first drone video amassed a whopping 8 million YouTube views, blowing earlier efforts out of the water and underscoring how easy and effective it is for social marketers to create content using airborne robots. And on June 27, Anderson plans to take drone marketing one step further when he introduces monitors on his boats that will give passengers a bird’s-eye view of whales and dolphins—meaning that passenger reactions can soon be seen on YouTube, too.
“These videos are definitely bringing people to our business,” said Anderson.
As he pointed out, “Generally speaking, there’s going to be a lot more use of drone technology out there.”
Look no further than last week at Cannes where Twitter launched its @Dronie account on Vine and posted airborne “Dronie” selfies of ad execs (and Star Trek star Patrick Stewart). Those videos created even more buzz than all those overflowing glasses of rosé being downed along the Croisette.
Ken Kraemer, chief creative officer of Deep Focus, could only smile as he witnessed Twitter’s Cannes coup. His agency has been huddling with a major packaged-goods brand (which he declined to name) about hovering a drone above a supermarket parking lot. If the plan comes to be, the client’s new snack product will be dropped from a drone into shopping carts as shoppers walk from the store to their cars, with tweeted photos and videos to follow.
“Having your brand associated with something so innovative and unexpected is a new kind of creative,” Kraemer said.
It is also, at least for the time being, against Federal Aviation Administration regulations, which prohibit drones for commercial use. The FAA’s attempts to penalize drone users so far have been few and far between. That has cleared the way for marketers—notably those in the luxury real estate category—to push the envelope. (The FAA did not return calls seeking comment.)
New York real estate agents have already begun using drones to market pricey beachfront properties. And it likely won’t be long before they move on to mid-priced suburban homes, predicted Matthew Leone, digital marketing lead at Halstead Property.
“Nine times out of 10, the videos are more attractive than what a [videographer] can do on the ground,” Leone pointed out. “Drones are a no-brainer.”
Heads up, folks.