You couldn’t turn on the television or radio Monday without seeing or hearing a discussion of drones delivering packages to your home.
Monday was “Cyber Monday,” the day set aside as the highest volume sales day of the year. Every year more and more companies up the ante on cyber deals and internet-only sales so they can claim their share of the Cyber Monday sales pie.
Amidst all of this competition, one company was promoted all over cable news, local news, and network news and they didn’t spend one penny on the priceless, prime time positive publicity they enjoyed. That company was Amazon, the largest online retailer who stood to gain the most on Cyber Monday.
It was a stroke of marketing genius and Amazon should be applauded. After all, why pay money for advertising when you can get a free ad — the day before Cyber Monday no less — like this:
As impressive a media strategy as it was for Amazon, it was equally appalling that the media went along with it. Amazon played the news media like a violin. It tells you all you need to know about the world of cable news. All Amazon had to do was supply networks and cable outlets with B-roll of a drone, properly emblazoned with the Amazon logo, puttering around with a package in its claws. TV newsers were more than happy to play the footage endlessly.
Accompanying the footage of the Amazon drone was a narrative along the lines of, “Amazon plans to deliver packages to their customers via drone in a few years. Amazon claims the drones could deliver your products within 30 minutes of ordering on line.” Again, brilliant for Amazon. Along with this really cool image, they have a trusted anchor relaying information that instills in the viewer the impression of Amazon as a forward-thinking, high tech, efficient online company. And all of this positive imagery and narrative was drummed into the viewers’ brains on the biggest online shopping day of the year.
Media, you got played.