Incredible video shows drones creating scannable QR code in the sky

Move over, television ads and billboards — the future of marketing will be shaped by drones (quite literally).

On April 17, about 1,500 drones took over Shanghai skies to commemorate the first anniversary of a Japanese video game’s launch in China. The brilliant aerial dance of the drones brought the characters of the role-playing game Princess Connect! Re:Dive to life and narrated how the game worked.

The choreography ended with the drones forming a giant scannable QR code in the sky, prompting viewers to download and install the game on their smartphones.

Twitterati was quick to point that the marketing stunt gave off Blade Runner 2049 vibes.

Blade Runner 2049 is a neo-noir sci-fi film set in a dystopian Los Angeles saturated with marketing campaigns. In the movie, glitzy, in-your-face holographic advertisements and drone-projected ads light up the entire city, constantly prompting passersby to consume more.

The Shanghai event was organized by BiliBili, a leading entertainment platform in China with a large Gen-Z user base. Interestingly, QR codes have always featured prominently in Princess Connect! Re:Dive’s marketing campaigns. When the game debuted, BiliBili put up a giant QR code on its own office building site!

Making a QR code work with inverted colors

A QR code, or a Quick Response Code, typically features a matrix of black cells arranged in a square grid on a white background. Experts suggest making the barcode at least 70% darker than the background to ensure reliable scanning.

Marketers strictly advise against using an inverted QR Code

The drones, as you saw above, inverted those colors. So, how did the QR code actually work?

It turns out, QR codes are so prevalent in China that WeChat, the most popular multi-functional social media app in the country, has perfected the technology to scan QR codes even with inverted colors.

Guerrilla marketing with drone light shows

Drone light shows are the perfect intersection of art, science, technology, and, of course, marketing. The credit for popularizing them, in part, goes to Intel, which has performed drone light shows for some of the biggest brands on the world’s largest stages, including the Super Bowl halftime show and the Winter Olympics.

In China, though, their popularity remains unsurpassed. Just this month, car company Genesis marked its entry into China by sending up 3,281 drones in a record-breaking show.

You can also check out the rest of our coverage on drone light shows here:

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