Drones invade the selfie as Tourism NZ tempts Aussies to the ski slopes

Drones invade the selfie as Tourism NZ tempts Aussies to the ski slopes

Adding to the avalanche of selfies, 'dronies' might soon be saturating the social media feeds of snow-goers, with a camera-equipped drone hitting the South Island ski slopes in Tourism New Zealand’s latest stunt.

Operated by an independent drone pilot, it will be taking eight-second video footage of skiers and snowboarders, with the drone doing the rounds at Cardrona, Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt, Mt Cook, as well as Queenstown and Lake Tekapo until July 30. Whybin\TBWA Sydney produced the below promo. 

Tourism New Zealand's chief executive officer Kevin Bowler says there will be an area set up away from the high traffic areas, where people can get themselves in position to get a dronie. The drone will approach them for a close-up view, and then back away 50-80 metres to get a wide shot on the ski field. Bowler says it will take four minutes for the TNZ team to edit the footage, then they’ll beam it to the person’s mobile using AirDrop (an app for transferring files). The plan is that the dronie would then be shared on social media using the hashtag #NZDronie, which would put them in the draw for daily prizes like ski passes and off-mountain experiences.

Bowler says the idea of the dronie came about as an extension of the selfie trend. “Everyone’s doing them, even the PM’s doing selfies these days. But the idea was really about how to sell New Zealand landscapes across the social space.”

“We are excited to be the first country to launch the new #NZDronie on its ski slopes and hope it will add another dimension to the way people share their holiday memories," says Tourism New Zealand general manager Australia Tony Saunders. "Word of mouth is an incredibly powerful tool in sharing experiences and the campaign aims to maximise visitors’ use of social channels to share the New Zealand winter experience even further.”

The #NZDronie promo video is being publicised in Australia, which is a huge target market for New Zealand's ski industry. Approximately 15 percent of Australian visitors ski while on holiday in New Zealand.

Bowler says Tourism New Zealand has bought a couple of drones (“they weren’t very expensive”). He describes them as about the size of an Auckland recycling bin, with a fan at each corner. He said they may be used in the near future to promote other experiences like New Zealand’s cycle ways.

“They’re just another way of generating content, really. But we’d use them more in the home-made social space than in advertising.”

Some believe the compulsion to take selfies is a serious mental condition. But Bowler said "this is a completely new take on it; it gives the concept more life. I’m going down there tomorrow and I’ll get one done for sure.” 

Perhaps TNZ's follow-up campaign will involve sending some selfie toast to each participant. 

The proliferation of drone ownership combined with rampant narcissicism has led to a massive increase in dronies. And they were prominent in this year's Cannes Lions, with Twitter flying a drone and airing the footage via a Twitter account.

This article first appeared on StopPress.