Helicopter Advertising || Are we focusing too much?

“Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused.”

– Samuel Johnson

On an average, a person is exposed to around 5000 advertisements each day from variety of sources which include commercials, print ads, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, ads on your phone or anything that gets your attention and compel you to buy.

Based on the research made by psychologists, the human brain gets tired too soon when involved in multiple tasks. With more than 5000 attempts to capture the attention of customer, advertisers are annoying them. As many as 63% of US millennials are using ad blockers, which is a staggering number.


What is Helicopter Advertising?

Bombarding a customer with advertisements is a problem. Even if the targeting is right, it is difficult engaging the customer.

Based on the information from top magazines of Marketing, a Marketer’s mind would want to track individuals everywhere they go and delivering relevant ads and content at every stage of their journey.

The crux of Helicopter Advertising: “Do you want a French Fries? No, not that kind? How about something to drink? No? Here’s a free sample of something to drink!”

Hover over your customers at all times to know what they are thinking, feeling and doing. Based on the collected information, predict their every need and constantly offer them things to purchase or do.

The challenge is that customers have thousands of brands, tracking them all the time and bombarding them with messages, offers, incentives, and promotions all together.

It may sound interesting, but any marketer will tell you that tracking individuals and serving them relevant content is very difficult to accomplish. Customers can break your marketing strategy in so many ways; changing devices, removing cookies, clearing cache, blocking ads.

Not just this, it is even more difficult tracking someone everywhere and harmonizing that information across different marketing systems. If we don’t do so, we see ads for products we already purchased, ads for products we don’t need, or even brands knowing a girl is pregnant before her parents do.

“Ninety-nine percent of advertising doesn’t sell much of anything.”

– David Ogilvy 

Big question

If individual targeting is expensive and so difficult, is it worth it?

To answer this question, we got some case studies and real examples of brands which invested and saw returns:

Marc Pritchard, CMO – P&G

We targeted too much, and we went too narrow, and now we’re looking at ‘What is the best way to get the most reach but also the right precision?’

MIT Sloan School of Management

According to the study by Prof. Catherine Tucker and London Business School Prof. Anja Lambrecht, ‘Contrary to popular practice, personalized ads don’t drive conversions and are likely to be ignored.’

Jason Kint, CEO – Digital Content Next

Online advertising is trusted less than any other form of advertising. When we see examples like the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s approach to online advertising, we should not be wondering why consumers are flocking to ad blockers in droves.

Flite (Advertising Agency)

Brands still struggling to achieve the promise of one-to-one advertising.


If we consider the facts, helicopter advertising will face questions for its marketing effectiveness.

When we hear all of this, do we need to turn off all the techniques (CRMs, MAPs, TMS, DMPs, programmatic, attribution, CDPs, pixels, cookies and supercookies) we use for helicopter advertising?

Of course not. New innovations in this area, like cookie-free IP targeting or 1-to-1 physical mailers, offer some measure of promise. And if we consider the frequent behavior changes of millennials, Personalization and targeted marketing still have a meaningful role to play.

But helicopter advertising seems to have hyped a lot and have consumed the mind-space of marketing world, even though it is one tactic in a vast basket of possible tactics.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – especially if that basket leaks data.

Ensure that your strategies are driving revenue, awareness and brand equity.


Why Revenue Marketing?

Marketers should focus on marketing campaign’s impact on revenue, measure each initiative for its contribution to revenue.

Marty Rubin once said, “Every line is the perfect length if you don’t measure it.”

Revenue Marketing brings the clarity marketing leaders need, to make better decisions and truly impact growing revenue.


Did we miss anything? If so comment in the section below and we will create another post for that.

If you want to know more about how your brand can use Helicopter and Revenue Marketing, drop us a message or connect through our digital media handles-

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FreakiAD

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreakiAD 

2 thoughts on “Helicopter Advertising || Are we focusing too much?

  1. Most pertinent here would be to answer the question – is it worth it? I guess, for larger brands, this experiment may be a doorway to future strategies when following individual customers and one to one targeting would become affordable. If they can manage to spend some money right now in experimenting, they will be ahead of the curve when such technologies become cheap.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment and of course, it is very much relevant for a brand that has deep pockets to go ahead with this strategy and invest in something that may change focus of marketers to this technique. However, the point to make here is that should every brand do it because other brands are doing it? How relevant is it for them to spend money on this technique? What is your take?


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