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Man, Machine, and Making an Impact in the Sky

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Meet Sergio Wolf, the effervescent and vibrant new content coordinator at National Experiential. Despite being a fresh face in the company, Sergio has already shown promising potential with his innovative approach to experiential advertising & marketing. His entry into the industry heralds a fresh perspective, blending his unique passions to redefine social content for the modern era. For Sergio, every experiential campaign is a story waiting to unfold, and he leverages his deep understanding of narrative, structure, and social development to help him create compelling, immersive stories that resonate with readers.

Today Sergio spoke with Eric Davis, Chief Operating Officer At National Experiential, about the hottest trend in experiential drone shows.


Sergio: Eric, in just six months, you and the team at National Experiential have pulled off three major drone shows, each involving 600 drones, for blockbuster movie releases. Additionally, you've conducted a few smaller yet significant shows for clients in the music and gaming industries. Can you share some insights into how you managed these remarkable achievements?


Eric: Absolutely; it has been a very busy and exciting six months for us at National Experiential. The successful execution of these drone shows largely comes down to meticulous planning, a strong understanding of our partner's vision, and the ability to leverage our experience and expertise. First and foremost, it's about understanding our partner's needs. Whether for a blockbuster movie release or a music event, we work closely with our partners to understand their vision and the story they want to tell.


From there, we begin planning and designing the show down to the last detail. Every movement of the drones, every formation, and every lighting effect is choreographed and programmed carefully. Our design partners spend countless hours refining and virtually testing the sequences to ensure a compelling drone display.


Of course, this is only possible with a talented and dedicated team of drone experts and a content design and capture team. Everyone works harmoniously, from the drone flight crew to the amazing pilots to the creative designers, handling their responsibilities while keeping the overall vision in mind. It's a complex process, but the result - a mesmerizing drone display that leaves audiences in awe - makes it all worthwhile.


As for handling multiple shows in a short span, we owe that to a combination of efficient project management, advanced technology, and a passion for what we do. We're always ready to take on new challenges and push the boundaries of what's possible with drone technology. This energy keeps us motivated, even when the schedule is tight.

Sergio: How have you seen the impact of drone shows evolve in Experiential Space?


Eric: Drone shows have completely transformed the landscape of experiential marketing. They allow us to provide an immersive, interactive, and unforgettable experience, which is key to creating strong and long-lasting impressions. They go beyond traditional advertising, creating an emotional bond with audiences, which is crucial in today's market. The lifespan and reach of a drone show go way beyond one or two flights; it is a social media phenomenon that, in many cases, eclipses 1 million views, creating local, national, and global impressions that last infinitely.


Sergio: How do you ensure each show is unique and conveys the brand message effectively?


Eric: Each show is indeed a unique challenge. We work closely with our partners to understand the essence of their brand and the message they want to convey. This helps design a show that aligns perfectly with their vision. It's not just about creating visually impressive scenes but also telling a resonant story.


Sergio: What unique aspects of drone shows set them apart from other forms of experiential activations?


Eric: National Experiential is known for our Laser Projections, 3D/Anamorphic Projections Tech-Driven Projections, and our Experiential Activations that encompass physical buildouts, staffing, and just about anything else a client can imagine. We are a one-stop shop for all things Experiential. Adding Drone Shows to our arsenal made total sense. They are captivating and multisensory, which makes them a perfect fit for all that we do as a company. I have been flying drones for over seven years. When I saw the concept of Drone Swarms taking over the skies in other countries, I knew we had to educate ourselves and find a way to build expertise to share with our partners. They allow us to bring stories, brands, and ideas to life in a 3D space, combining technology, art, and storytelling in a way that's truly unique. Plus, their scalability allows us to engage large audiences simultaneously, creating a communal experience that's quite powerful.


Sergio: Could you speak to the current landscape of drone shows in the US? How do you see it evolving over the next few years?


Eric: We are just scratching the surface with drone technology. At best, you are witnessing this medium in its infancy. With advances in technology and regulation becoming more drone friendly, I see an immense growth trajectory. We will see more complex and large-scale shows that last for 25-30 minutes by the summer of 2023, and those shows will eventually run close to an hour by the end of the year. I see even more interactivity, innovation, creativity, and industries recognizing drone shows' value.

Sergio: Why do you find drone shows so engaging, especially when combined with other experiential activations?


Eric: Well, first and foremost, I fly drones, and it's been a hobby for quite a while. Secondly, I love drone shows because they represent one of the greatest fusions of technology and creativity I have ever participated in. This is a limitless 3D & 2D canvas where the expression of ideas and grand-scale storytelling takes place. When combined with other experiential activations, they enhance the overall impact for a brand, creating a seamless and cohesive experience that truly captivates the audience while driving next-level brand fame and social sharing.


Sergio: So, with these activations happening more and more all over the world, what makes drone shows still relevant and impactful?


Eric: That's easy; I have learned over my 19 years as an experiential vendor and over 22 years in radio that people crave authentic, real-world experiences more than anything else. Drone shows offer a powerful sensory experience combining the best digital technology with the magic of a live physical event. They are adaptable, and innovative, and offer a degree of spectacle and interactivity that few other mediums can match. Since we started doing shows, the cost of one has decreased significantly. More companies are going to find the value that these activations provide.

This is part one of a two-part series.

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