It's no Starship Enterprise, but Paramount found a fittingly futuristic marketing tactic for the next Star Trek movie.
Unmanned drones are at the forefront of modern technology, and we keep finding new ways to put them to use. From military surveillance to taco delivery, these little guys are nothing if not versatile. As it turns out, they also work well for marketing. Paramount Pictures sent 30 LED-equipped quadrotor drones into the skies of London, where they formed a massive rotating Starfleet insignia to promote Paramount's upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness.
The drone formation took place next to London's Tower Bridge, giving it plenty of visibility to vantage points around the city. The logo stretched 308 feet between the top and bottommost drone. The quadrotors themselves were property of Ars Electronica Futurelab & Ascending Technologies, who have actually done this kind of thing before in Linz, Austria.
The advertising event overlapped with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)'s Earth Hour, in which many landmarks like Big Ben and the Tower Bridge dim their lights to promote conservation. The drones (which were charged with green energy from the Austrian renewable energy grid) were launched just before Earth Hour began, and blinked into darkness (very clever, Paramount) alongside the city's iconic buildings. "We are very pleased to go 'into darkness' with the rest of the world in support of Earth Hour," says John Fletcher, director of marketing for Paramount. "It seems fitting to be associated with such a global cause."
It's interesting to see one of the biggest sci-fi franchises in history being promoted with our modern technology as we close the gap between science fiction and science fact. Obviously there's a long, long way to go before we'll be hopping between planets in the final frontier, but it's important to remember that we can't create a Starfleet of our own if we burn up the planet before we have the chance to develop that technology.
Star Trek Into Darkness will hit theaters on May 17.