Earlier this year, Uber deployed drones in Mexico City to hover near vehicles stuck in traffic while displaying advertisements for UberPOOL, the company’s carpool service.
The ads said a few different things about the advantages of sharing rides that two and a half years of commuting time could be saved, that “the city would be for you, not for 5.5 million cars.”
The marketing stunt managed to fly under the radar for a few months, but it blew up after Bloomberg published a photo of the drones last week. Outlets called them creepy, badgering, mocking and more. This all makes sense, because they’re disturbing as hell, like something the totalitarian Combine aliens would use to demoralize humankind in Half-Life 2.
To clarify, though, Uber has no grand plans to unleash an army of marketing drones on global civilization. A representative for the company told Mashable a handful of drones were sent out in Mexico City on a single day as a creative marketing exercise, and the company doesn’t plan to do it again.
There’s something kind of refreshing about the tenacity here.
Still, even as the drones remind us of the worst parts of Blade Runner, where a technologically advanced society is rotted by omnipresent marketing and industry run amok, there’s something kind of refreshing about the tenacity here.
We live in an era of ultra subliminal marketing, when algorithms on services like Facebook and Google are deployed to learn as much about us as possible for the sake of delivering content (including ads) with ruthless efficiency. Each of us is marketed to on a daily basis; perhaps without even thinking about it.
For crying out loud: We are at a point in time when we have to consider the very real ethical implications of autonomous carsthat could collect information about (and footage of) their surroundings for the sake of filling corporate coffers.
So, yeah, the drones were a little scary. But they were totally in your face (well, Mexico City’s face), which is certainly more than could be said of the creepy online marketing that pervades our daily lives. Comforting, right? Right!
Read more: http://mashable.com/