Stories shape opinion and drive action, and there is no better way to tell your story than through video.
In an age of DVR and on-demand viewing habits, advertisers must tell compelling stories that capture the imaginations of their audiences or risk being ignored. There’s no better way to turn heads and draw attention to your ads than to employ the use of drones — also known as quadcopters or unmanned aerial vehicles — to capture breathtaking aerial footage.
While campaigns have sometimes been slow adopters of new technology, drones are poised to bring a breath of fresh air to their advertising. Here are a few of the benefits that come with utilizing drones for aerial cinematography.
1. You Stand Out
Candidates are always looking for ways to separate their spots from the barrage of ads, political or otherwise, pumped onto local TV every October. Utilizing aerial cinematography in your TV spots will provide a colorful tapestry that draws viewers into the story you're telling.
2. Show off Local Credentials
Campaigns have a tendency to overuse stock video. I’ve never really understood this obsession, but I assume it’s driven by budgets. That being said, drone technology eliminates this need for large amounts of stock video. Any media consultant who's crafting ads should already be experienced with using drones to capture aerial footage.
Ariel footage also allows for a new and unique way to highlight the district. What’s worse than a candidate claiming to be in touch with the needs of a particular district, while at the same time showing stock footage that was obviously taken outside the district? It happens all the time. Campaigns need to ditch the stock footage and use drones to showcase their individual locales.
3. You’ve Embraced Change
Drone technology will shape the future of TV advertising. Media consultants slow to adapt will suffer when their competitors take the plunge into higher quality drone footage. It’s not limited to high-profile races either. The low-cost associated with this technology allows even the smallest races to achieve a big-budget feel with their TV ads.
As this technology becomes even more widespread, campaigns and consultants who fail to embrace it will be stuck with ads that are noticeably weaker than the competition, and fail to capture the imagination and creativity of viewers.
4. Get a Bird’s-Eye View
Long before Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully guided the first plane into the air, humans have wanted to fly. Ancient Greek mythology had Icarus and Daedalus, who made wings from bird feathers, strings and wax. Centuries later, we still long to spring effortlessly into the air and see the world from a whole different angle.
With the picturesque scene provided by a drone, target audiences will become completely immersed in the story thanks to the bird’s-eye view being conveyed.
5. You’ll be Unforgettable
Ariel footage causes TV spots to stick in viewers’ minds much longer than generic stock footage because it allows them to identify with the familiar. At my firm, we’ve experienced this firsthand. People remember our ads simply because drone footage helped them stand out from the rest of the spots in the race. Most audiences would be hard pressed to remember any generic b-roll from a campaign ad, but a sweeping, aerial shot of the local water tower really stands out.
6. Small Risk Yields Big Reward
Most candidates are risk adverse, we know that. But that should be an incentive to use drones in your advertising. Sound counterintuitive? Think about it this way: because there’s not universal buy-in at the moment, using drone footage can set a candidate apart.
While the regulatory environment is in a state of flux, it’s important to remember that the FAA doesn’t have any authority over video captured using drones and any legal liability is placed on the operator.
Still, it’s smart to take precautions. In order to avoid interfering with larger aircraft, we always fly at altitudes less than 400 feet above ground level and maintain line of sight with the drone.
Colin Hoffman is the co-founder of Sandlot Strategic Inc., a full-service advertising agency that has helped numerous brands and candidates tell their stories in new and innovative ways.