Got a Drone in Your Marketing Plan?


Sometimes, you just have to pause, stand back and admire a perfect marketing plan. And thats exactly what Lakemaid Brewery pulled off the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, but Im not sure how many people got the joke.

By now, you will have read that Lakemaid, a craft brewer in Wisconsin, followed Amazons lead by rolling out a plan to deliver beer to ice fisherman on frozen lakes via autonomous drone. They produced this nice little video and once that got out there, the FAA woke up and grounded the operation, not that it had serious legs anyway. That particular drone has a payload of about 5 pounds or about three bottles of beer, less the packaging. Lakemaids Jack Supple told The Verge as much.It delivered the box with something in it. But we had to keep taking bottles out to get it off the ground, Supple said.

Naturally, the brewery would have realized that (a) the drone is more like a robot bartender than a beer truck and (b) the FAA, upon hearing of the video within two minutes of a Google crawler sniffing it, would reliably shut down the operation. But this is the stuff of promotional gold and a cant-lose proposition for Lakemaid. And how great is that?

For one thing, it keeps drones in the public eye which, whether you like them sharing your airspace or not, is a good thing because theyre here and more are coming. Second, the FAA looks a little silly cracking down on things like this and if that keeps pressure on the agency to get the rules governing UAS sorted out, so much the better. I predict youll see more clever marketing stunts like this until it gets to be full-scale whack-a-drone. While theyre at it, the authorities will have to deal with people shooting at these things. Thats coming, too. (Just read the YouTube comments if you doubt it.)

Meanwhile, I have only one thing to say to Lakemaid: 27.1236N 82.4389W.

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