If you saw people flying around New York City in the last few weeks, don't fret. You're not losing your marbles. You actually may have in fact seen people flying around NYC -- only they're really remote controlled planes made to look like people.
As part of a marketing campaign to promote the movie Chronicle, the planes created the illusion of people flying. How did New Yorkers respond? As the following video shows, they whipped out their phones to take photographic evidence:
Tech Crunch has more on why this marketing tactic was chosen:
Michael Krivicka from Thinkmodo explains: “Since the three main characters of the movie have the ability to fly, we came up with the idea of staging a few “flying people” sightings around NYC. We achieved that illusion by having 3 custom-made aircraft (which were shaped like human beings) fly above designated areas in NYC and NJ.”
Tech Crunch's Jay Donovan then goes on to voice his own thoughts, shared by many, about this tactic:
I personally think it’s a ballsy, creative and unique advertising tactic, yet I struggle with wondering how a person would tie the two things together — the movie and the freaky sightings.
In my mind, I guess the optimal scenario would be that a person who had already seen the movie trailer, would later see flying people and then make the connection. Or a person might connect the dots after a sighting, when seeing an additional advertisement for the film. If you never see the trailer at all, you might just end up calling the police or your local Area 51 support group for advice.
Whatever the effect, I am still a proponent of these kinds of marketing exercises and I don’t think this is money spent in vain.
On Twitter, the general sentiment is that the technology is cool and the film is well-done, even if it is part of a marketing ploy that was originally unclear:
Given that the video has more than a half million views within a day of its posting, I'd say it accomplished its goal.