TGI Fridays Drone Injures Photographer

TGI Fridays Drone Injures Photographer

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:

via [Adweek, Brooklyn Daily]

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John Sheehan's picture

When I heard about the drones being used in TGI Fridays, I immediately thought, "This will not end well." They're flying it in a confined space, which just ramps up the possibility for losing control. I'm surprised it took a month for it to happen.

Jason Ranalli's picture

I'm trying to keep an open mind about these drones but the truth is that there are too many brain-dead people flying them. This was the dumbest idea I have seen yet.

Spy Black's picture

That's entertainment! I read somewhere the FAA is considering requiring a pilots license to fly these things. I'm all for it.

I run an aerial photography business, I have been flying drones for 2 years now and never injured anyone or damaged any property. I am fully aware of the FAA regulations on drones and adhere to the rules. You can review the FAA regulations on my website at When starting a discussion about being licensed to fly drones its important to understand the technical differences between drones and UAV's. The most important being drones are line of site and UAVs are autonomous.

There are inherent risks when flying anything even a kit but trying to land a drone on someones head is the dumbest thing imaginable. The stupidity is further compounded by the fact they were flying indoors, any loss of GPS signal could spell disaster.

I am pleased to read that most of you out there in the photography community are trying to embrace drone photography, It just has to be done intelligently.

Ralph Berrett's picture

They must have Wile E. Coyote in charge of marketing. Do we also need to mention that Mistletoe is somewhat weak poison. So flying it above food is not a great move. And for their next trick Drones armed with bottle rockets for July 4th.