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Finally, Aerial Advertising Drones Enter the World?

Finally, Aerial Advertising Drones Enter the World?

There’s a debate raging over whether using drones for advertising is an overall good thing or not, and so we thought we’d have two of our experts duke it out. Weigh in with your opinions on this controversy. Alek’s View: Does Aerial Drone Advertising Mean the End of TV Ads? No, not likely. But aerial

There’s a debate raging over whether using drones for advertising is an overall good thing or not, and so we thought we’d have two of our experts duke it out. Weigh in with your opinions on this controversy.

Alek’s View: Does Aerial Drone Advertising Mean the End of TV Ads?

No, not likely. But aerial drone advertising, done properly, may very well become the number one way of advertising in the future. It gives advertisers a way to deliver a very specific message to a very targeted audience in a cost-effective and engaging manner. Here are a bunch of amazing benefits offered by UAV advertising:

  • Attention-Grabbing: Let’s face it, drones are eye-catching and will draw your attention whether they’re directly in your line of sight or even if you just catch the movement in your peripheral vision. Thousands were provoked by the drone carrying a flag during a football match between Serbia and Albania.
  • Cost-Efficient: Air is a free space, unlike a web page on the internet or a commercial spot on the TV. Investing in a device you own that will carry ads for you whenever and wherever you want (within reason) is as good as buying a TV production house. Drones are a cheaper and more versatile way to make sure everyone hears about your company.
  • Multi-Media Drone Ads: A drone, well-programmed or properly configured and flown by a competent pilot, can deliver eye catching, relevant, timely content and may be better than a conventional Jumbotron. They provide venues with a better value for their outdoor advertising dollar while offering consumers engaging video content at their local events.

Naveed’s Response: Attention-Seeking Doesn’t Mean More Customers

Yes, drones do draw the attention of the public in a way that is not possible with other platforms. However, adding noisy drones that blast songs or video ads in the neighborhood is not the way to go as it violates the peace and quiet of communities where people choose to live. Placing such intrusive machines near homes will only lead to a wider dislike of drones and potentially lead to new restrictions for the entire drone community. I don’t believe anyone will appreciate the idea of a drone intruding into their personal space in order to advertise a product that may not even be of interest to them.

What’s more, there is no guarantee that such tactics will actually work. Even though air space is currently free, that may no longer be the case if drone advertising really takes off. We may end up with so many advertising drones that the space begins to become cluttered and overwhelming, like a street with too many neon lights and billboards. Further, imagine the risks of having an increasing number of drones competing for a good vantage point in the air. Such tactics will ultimately undermine any initial positive impact of drone advertising and it will cease to be as effective.

Qantas Airlines using aerial advertising

Naveed’s View: The Few May Embarrass the Many

A major problem with aerial drone advertising is that it only takes one person with a negative intent, or poorly thought out strategy, to cast an entire group of hobbyists into a negative light. Think of an overzealous marketer performing advertising stunts in unwanted locations. And yet, setting limits on drone use is no easy task. Even DJI has had to implement a No Fly Zones feature after one individual used his drone to side-step security, eventually crashing his Phantom into the White House. What’s more, not all drones – especially DIY ones – have GPS systems and therefore they cannot be fitted with no-fly technology.

So using drones for advertising may become a nuisance – and even a hazard – if companies start employing them to take their messages to your doorstep. We already know how people respond to telemarketers; just imagine the backlash if their drones can reach your house as well!

Alek’s Response: All Ads are Intrusive – This is Just a New Format

No one likes the interruption of advertising. We change the channel when the commercials start and we hang up the phone at the exact moment we hear a telemarketer on the other end. Yet, advertising is what sells a product. For advertisers, whether or not people hate it doesn’t matter; the only important factor is getting the message to consumers in order to gain market share.

As long as it is done legally, advertising drones are the perfect new solution for gaining additional buyers. Even if a sky ad delivered by a drone is annoying, that means it’s attracting attention and successfully doing the job advertisers want.

Naveed’s Conclusion: Only if it Benefits Humanity

I am a very big advocate for the use of drones to carry out unique tasks which benefit humanity, but aerial advertising surely does not fit into this category. The ability of advertisers to get on the nerves of the public will only be enhanced if they are provided with drones for their escapades. And I don’t believe that annoying people makes them buy a product.

Alek’s Conclusion: The Marketing Revolution IS Coming

Aerial drones have the ability to capture quality, relevant ad messaging at very little cost.  The success of drones in advertising will be directly linked to the creative skills of ad agencies and promoters.  The more engaging the content the drone provider can deliver, the greater value drones will have in outdoor advertising.

What are your thoughts? How should we adjust our understanding of drone use for advertising so that it’s a positive use of this great technology? Or should we abandon the idea altogether?

Images via: Loz Pycock and i.ytmig.com


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  • Marie Watson
    April 6, 2016, 4:37 am

    You make a good point about how aerial advertising can draw the attention of the public. I would think it could be an innovative way to grab peoples attention and draw them to your business. It also seems like a great choice for different businesses since it is a cost effective form of advertising.

  • Ben William
    June 13, 2016, 12:26 am

    Hello Maryruth,
    Excellent writing . I am totally agree with your opinion. i just share some of my experience.
    In 2008 to 2014, we can call this the age of advertising revelation. Some of creative inventor introduce drone and other aerial medium for adverting . To be honest, aerial adverting is popular trend in Australia. Good news ,government is working to sort out laws for aerial advertising in public places.
    According to me , aerial adverting is the quickest way to catch people attention and easy way to promote brand in locality.