We launched the first flying selfie stick with no review products. Here’s how.

The drone used cutting-edge technology, and the inventor needed to make sure that it didn’t just sell well initially, but continued after the hype faded.

The drone used cutting-edge technology, and the inventor needed to make sure that it didn’t just sell well initially, but continued after the hype faded.

The ROAMe was always going to be a polarising product. As the first “flying selfie stick”, the drone used cutting-edge robotics technology for some possibly rather frivolous reasons. ROAMe’s inventor, Simon Kantor, was working with IoT Group to make sure that it didn’t just sell well initially, but continued to do so after the hype had faded.

ROAMe’s launch needed strong pre-orders and mass global exposure for the drone – without physical products on hand for demos or reviews. That meant we needed a very different approach to the usual press outreach and media/influencer events. Our relationships with tech journalists and bloggers suggested that ROAMe would capture the interest of not just selfie-obsessed millennials, but also technology and photography enthusiasts, especially if we could introduce a video element.

A digital launch for digital natives

For the core of the campaign, we created a television commercial that showed off ROAMe’s applications including a series of slow-motion shots and selfies taken in extreme situations. Wherever we talked about ROAMe, we showed that video; from Facebook and Instagram to influencer pitches, press releases, and emails to investors.

A single video might not captivate global audiences, but a stream of supporting content would certainly help. Alongside blogs and EDMs, we created memes that played on the controversial nature of selfie-taking to raise individual awareness, while simultaneously focusing on Kantor’s story of home-grown innovation for more conventional business and tech editorials.

Within a week of taking flight, the launch had generated 100 pieces of coverage and nearly a billion online impressions worldwide, thanks to features in everything from The Verge to The Huffington Post – and even North Korean media. More than 500,000 people watched the commercial video across the web, driving sizeable traffic back to ROAMe’s Facebook page. Perhaps most importantly, the drone received a whopping 250,000 pre-orders.

ROAMe’s success showed that successful product launches don’t need a lot of time, budget – or even physical product. While the conditions weren’t ideal, we and the IOT Group were able to work together to focus quickly and effectively on ROAMe’s strengths: its novelty factor, cutting-edge technology, and the inspiring story behind its invention. Frivolous though it might seem to some, ROAMe has generated serious sales and cemented the IOT Group’s status as a global consumer tech player. All it took was the right tone and channels to send it skywards.

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