Uber’s Using Drones to Advertise Its Services in Mexico

Oct 19, 2016

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In a unique advertising stunt, Uber took to the skies — not with aircraft flying banners along a beach, but with drones hovering over stalled cars on a Mexico City roadway advertising Uber’s popular carpool service, UberPool.

In case you’re not familiar with the service, UberPool lets passengers share a car with one or more additional Uber riders, essentially allowing them to split the cost and reduce the overall number of vehicles on the road.

In this particular advertising campaign, Uber’s signs contained messages about why those stuck in traffic should be carpooling instead. One read, “The city would be for you, not 5.5 million cars,” while another sign carried by a drone said, “Driving by yourself? This is why you can never see the volcanoes.”

Is there any chance we’ll be seeing this advertising strategy from Uber (or other ride-sharing services) in the US anytime soon? Probably not, since an Uber spokesperson told The Verge there are no plans to run advertising like this in any of its other markets. Plus, in order to legally advertise like this in the US, Uber would have to obtain a federal waiver and deal with some other red tape in order to do so. According to the FAA, as long as the ad is “securely attached and does not adversely affect the flight characteristics or controllability of the aircraft” and it’s flown over humans “inside a stationary vehicle that can provide reasonable protection from a falling small unmanned aircraft,” it could be possible.

Although it was likely a one-time-only advertising stunt — and certainly jarring for anyone caught in traffic on that Mexican roadway who was experiencing drones for the first time — we have to wonder if this could become the new advertising norm. It was definitely an effective way of getting new eyes on the product, especially since there wasn’t really a way to pass it by or skim past, as you would with traditional roadside advertising methods like billboards.

What do you think of Uber’s latest marketing move? What would you do if you saw one of these ad drones while sitting in traffic?

H/T: The Verge

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