amazon-dronesIn an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, announced that Amazon is working on drones that could deliver packages to your doorstep within 30 minutes. The buzz was immediate. All the major network news organizations covered the story. Some questioned 60 Minutes on the timing of the story running the day before Cyber Monday. Articles blew up questioning it’s plausibility, while others spouted about the potential for this happening soon. Yes I know I’m writing about it too, but I don’t really care whether it could or could not happen. I’m more interested in what ultimately fueled everyone’s imagination: the story.

If you didn’t see the segment on 60 Minutes, or your favorite national news program, local talk show or at the nearest desk around the water cooler at work; take a peek:

The likelihood of drones delivering your packages from Amazon ever coming to fruition is, at best, highly unlikely. Sorry to be a buzzkill. Just last month the FAA issued it’s own status report  for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (aka Drones) where it stated that “The safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System is a significant challenge,” and that it may not be until 2026, at the earliest, before drones could potentially be in use.

But who cares? The point was people’s imaginations were fueled by the idea that this “could” happen. A whole generation raised on the Jetson’s were suddenly hearing the whooshing noise as hundreds of drones flew by them in every direction. Amazon used the power of storytelling with these drones as the vehicle, pun totally intended, to convey some very basic tenets of what Amazon is all about:

  • You can get almost anything on Amazon
  • Over 86% of Amazon’s items are under five pounds
  • They deliver your stuff, fast.

Yes the story was completely fabricated; but it worked. When people talk about going “viral” this is what they dream about. Granted Amazon has pull, and somehow getting 60 Minutes to carry the story as “news” was a coup on their part. But from a marketing perspective, isn’t this the kind of storytelling all brands are aspiring to do to get themselves to stand out?