It happened last year. Maybe you saw it mentioned in the marketing trades. Maybe you didn't.
But in NYC, the nexus of the P.R. stunt universe, an artist-hacker-technovandal by the handle of KATSU tagged a billboard using a drone.
His target was a giant Calvin Klein billboard Kendall Jenner. So it might have been viewed as a public service.
In the end, IMHO, it was less about artistic expression than reputation-buffing.
But imagine a drone like that isn't tagging, Imagine it's putting legit marketing prompts in places we've never imagined.
Picture a William Gibson metamedia dystopia brought to life. A man whose books, by the way, are simply pragmatic futurism, not fringe-dwelling scifi.
The great commercializing engine of capitalism that both fuels and consumes innovation will find ways to insinuate CTAs and BOGO offers into as many crannies as society allows.
The marketing mechs are on their way
We're fumbling through the infancy of drones and robots. As cybernetics and the Internet of Things evolve, so will the marketing mechs. Blade Runner showed us a hint of that world 30 years ago.
Japan is already pushing advertising robots. Distressingly cute ones. No wonder: Gibson himself once pointed out that modern Japan was/is already cyberpunk.
I can easily visualize being followed around a mall by one of these. It might work: I'd probably be inspired to go in to Sears to buy a hammer.
How do we keep this digital Babylon in check? Aerial drones are already being regulated. We'll have to create rules for ambulatory advertisements like the little fellow at right. As well as for the blood-borne nanobots projecting banner ads on our skin from the inside out.
Don't laugh. It's been talked about. By people who were not drunk at the time.
Could be I'm just a fuddy-duddy. I take heart in the fact that saturating any environment with advertising messages doesn't guarantee results. Just ask anyone who buys online banner ads.
Maybe the solution isn't more legislation. Maybe it's less.
Maybe we give marketers the right to do like KATSU. Make drone- or bot-based marketing a blood sport.
They can tag and hack and snipe away at each other. Fight it out for robotic advertising supremacy.
But in all seriousness: the best solution?
Hand me that hammer.