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The Age of Cinematic Advertising Drones

The advent of drones, and their continuing technological advancement, have opened up new horizons for filmmakers. Filmic bird’s-eye scenes, and unique views of enclosed spaces that were not possible before, provided a new visual dynamism of exploratory opportunities for compelling viewing.

For creative practitioners and scenario conceptualisers, ideas that previously would have been rejected as outlandish and unaffordable, became enticingly possible. And it wasn’t long before drones started appearing in commercials, and were seen in thrilling chase scenes, circling skyscrapers and peeping through windows. Brand activations of dramatic sky manoeuvres soon followed watched by an enthralled public.

1. Intel Corporation, Teams In Flight

Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA.

Advertising Agency: Vitro, California, USA

A world-record-breaking performance of more than 1,200 drones, flown simultaneously for Intel’s 2018 opening of the Winter Olympics Ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was directed by International award-winning, New York filmmaker, writer, and producer, Nina Meredith.

Publicly acclaimed globally, the spectacular achievement, was honoured by many Advertising Industry accolades:

Gold Lion in Design, Gold Lion in Communications, Gold Lion in Brand Experience & Activation, D&AD Graphite Pencil in Media/Use of Events, Wood Pencil in Branded Content & Entertainment, One Show Gold in Design, Innovation, Experiential, and One Show Silver in Branded Entertainment and Innovation.

2. Budweiser, Lighting Up FIFA

Advertising Agency: Anomaly, New York, USA

Filmmaker Jake Scott directed an epic commercial as part of Budweiser’s integrated advertising campaign for FIFA’s 2018 World Cup in Russia. The spectacular scenario featured hundreds of red drones leaving the Budweiser headquarters, in St Louis, USA, each carrying a commemorative red bottle of Budweiser.

After flying across the world, through Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, London and Lagos, the drones delivered them to their indented destination, the football fans in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

An amusing episode in the commercial appears, when one of the drones had to go back after forgetting to pick up a Budweiser for female fan, and apologises for the delayed delivery with a frivolous wink.

The accompanying soundtrack of “Stop The Rock”, is by the English electric rock band, Apollo 440.

3. Lexus, Swarm

Advertising Agency: CHI & Partners, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Sam Brown, and superbly produced by Rogue Films, the ‘Swarm’ commercial for Lexus, the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese automaker Toyota, surprisingly does not showcase a Lexus except for a brief view of a front-grill car badge at the end of the film.

Instead, the scenario features a swarm of drones, especially designed for the production by KMel Robotics in Philadelphia, USA, who named them ‘quad-rotors’.

Filmed at night in Vancouver, Canada, the ‘quad-rotors’ are seen at various city locations, including inside the Museum of Anthropology, exploring the world around them with excited interest.

The commercial is an engaging visual expression of the Lexus ‘Amazing in Motion’ projects, that focus on combining advanced technology and design, with imagination and creativity, for the ultimate luxury of unencumbered and joyful mobility.

The exuberant soundtrack by award-winning British composer, Jonathan Goldstein, perfectly underscores the fun antics of the ‘quad-rotors’.

4. Peugeot 508 SW, The Snake

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

Directed by filmmaker Collin Tilley, the commercial for the global launch of Peugeot’s plug-in hybrid estate vehicle, the 508 SW, was filmed at night at an abandoned airport in Athens, Greece.

The scenario is based on a competitive comparison between the smooth agility of a Bull Snake’s movements, one of the world’s fastest reptiles, and the performance handling of Peugeot’s 508 SW.

To bring the analogous challenge to dramatic life ‘The World’s Snakiest Road’ had to be created with random twists and turns, and constantly moving with snake-like unpredictability.

Hundreds of flying drones were used to create the first road ever to perfectly recreate a Bull Snake’s movements in real-time.

San Yélamos, a professional stunt driver, picked up the gauntlet to demonstrate the Peugeot 508 SW i-Pit Cockpit’s exceptional handling control, by successfully navigating the formidably inventive course, without hitting any of the drones.

The electronic music soundtrack, ‘Snake & Drone’, is by French Audio Engineer Sylvain Rety, and British Composer Chris Hollis.

5. Audi A6, The Drones

Advertising Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, USA

Starring menacing drones, Dante Ariola skilfully directed this fun parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror movie ‘The Birds’ about a series of sudden, unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of Bodega Bay, California.

There’s an amusing tongue-in-cheek scene of the Audi driver telling Google Search to direct him to Bodega Bay.

The featured music soundtrack was created by Elias Arts Music Agency in Santa Monica, California, USA.

6. Petronas Syntium Engine Oil, Abduction

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Kuala Lumpur, Malasia

Directed by filmmaker Rajay Singh, and filmed in Stuttgart, Germany, the sci-fi ‘Abduction’ scenario features alien drones, from a hovering mothership, and a Mercedes-Benz AMG, in a dramatic sequence of ‘Liquid and Metal In Action’.

The impressive visual effects of the action-packed, chase-and-hide event, make for entertaining viewing.

7. Direct Line Insurance Company, Fleetlights

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, London, UK

In 2016 Direct Line partnered with drone experts to develop an enterprising public service prototype called ‘Fleetlights’, and made the technology open-sourced for future developers.

As the commercial, directed by filmmaker Ross Cairns, so scenically demonstrates, a fleet of flying-torch-drones, would be able to be ordered via GPS and mobile technology, directly from a user’s smartphone, when and where light at night is required, to safely illuminate a pre-determined path ahead.

As Mark Evans, marketing director at Direct Line Group, highlighted on ‘The Stable’ website; “Increasingly, technology will shift the centre of gravity for insurance from restitution towards prevention”.

“We want to lead the trend into this space and so we are always looking at innovative ways to proactively improve everyday life through emerging technologies”.