When I first read about how TGI Fridays was going to use drones in their restaurants as part of a marketing stunt in Adweek, the first thought that popped into my head wasn’t “That’s a great idea!” It was “That’s going to end badly.” Sure enough, less than a month later, TGI Fridays made the news when one of the drones used in the marketing stunt hit a photographer.
The idea was to use the drones as “Mobile Mistletoe,” transporting mistletoe to hover over the heads of couples, encouraging them to kiss on camera. Couples who kissed beneath the GoPro-and-mistletoe-laden drone would receive gift certificates. Apparently the marketing folks for TGI Fridays thought it would be a great success. They must not have watched any of the numerous videos in which drones have injured subjects in the name of a cool photo or video clip.
In this case, it was a photographer who paid the price in blood. Photographing the drone on assignment for Courier Life's Brooklyn Daily, photographer Georgine Benvenuto was struck after the drone operator reportedly lost control of the machine while attempting to land it on a reporter’s head.
Although it looks great in the campaign’s launch video, things don’t always turn out so cheerful in real life. Lesson learned: be careful with drones. While they can be an enormous amount of fun, they can also hurt people. It would be best to avoid using them in confined spaces. Appropriate uses of drones include capturing epic aerial footage of scenic Iceland landscapes. Inappropriate uses of drones include landing them on peoples’ heads.
Watch what was supposed to happen below: