Pigeon technology to directly target consumers
UK agency Creative Orchestra have found a novel way to incorporate London’s surplus pigeon population with technology that connects with consumers personally – tagging the pigeons with GPS systems.
The idea is to launch a new media vehicle for clients wanting to target consumers directly outdoors, using GPS technology to sync-up with users mobile phones.
Using electromagnetism, the birds are able to navigate the location of their targets, using technology called BYRD, originally developed for use in the American military. BYRD disrupts the pigeons’ natural geometrics and allows the GPS technology to steer it towards any mobile device.
By using RFID chips, the target location can be identified by a dispatched pigeon with a special digital message carrier attached to its feet.
While the use of pigeons to carry commercial messages is a new concept, they have been used by the military for decades, both as message carriers and supply deliverers.
“We looked really closely at the successful applications and saw that we could tap into them commercially. You can imagine the surprise when people get a personal message from a friendly pigeon,” explains Chris Arnold, creative partner of Creative Orchestra.
Creative Orchestra already has two clients interested in trialling pigeon media and plans to launch 1,000 birds from Trafalgar Square to show the effectiveness of their targeted delivery messages.
Havil Folkhaurt, Creative Orchestra’s media planner, sees it as a more targeted form of outdoor advertising that can deliver a message straight to the consumer for one tenth of that of posters.
“At first people will think it’s just a novelty but soon they’ll see the more serious value it offers. During the summer when most people are outdoors rather than inside with computers its an ideal way to make an impact,” says Folkhaurt.
BYRD was originally developed by the American military for delivery of small explosive charges over enemy lines and as a means of sending important supplies to stranded troops.