The PR spin on Amazon's drone story

Dan Lyons at Hubspot has a skeptical take on Amazon Prime Air, the prototype delivery service that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed on 60 Minutes last night. Was it a preemptive move to speed up FAA approval? Nope, says Lyons. It's just PR:

Why is this incredibly tight-lipped company suddenly showing off prototypes? The answer is that these drones were not designed to carry packages, but to give a lift to Amazon's image.

Bezos and Amazon are still reeling from the recent publication of a not entirely flattering book by Businessweek reporter Brad Stone, says Lyons. Plus, there's this whole Cyber Monday thing that Amazon likes to be involved with.

The only place the drones aren't soaring? Here in the real world. In fact the FAA says it could be 2026 before these things are really in use. But who cares? These drones weren't created to carry packages. They were created, and put on display, to boost sales and buff up a CEO's wounded pride. Toward that end, they worked like a charm.

Those of us who work in marketing should offer a tip of the cap to our peers at Amazon. These marketers just coopted a major TV network and got 60 MInutes, a legendary investigative journalism program, to carry their water for them. Depending on your point of view, that's either incredibly depressing or incredibly brilliant. Maybe both.