TechWreck: The TGI Friday’s Mistletoe Drone

‘Tis the season, and this year, restaurant chain TGI Friday’s has been trying to add a little holiday merriness—with a serious misuse of drones.

The restaurant chain meant well. It first rolled out the mistletoe-carrying drone program in the UK a month ago in an attempt to “help people get a little closer at this time of year”. The drones also carry cameras to take pictures of the kissing couples, who are then rewarded with gift certificates for their PDA and holiday spirit.

After seeing initial positive feedback, the company quickly brought the drones across the Atlantic, hoping to spread some holiday kisses across the States. But alas, it was right here in New York City that the mistletoe drone drew its first blood. Georgine Benvenuto, a photographer from Brooklyn Daily, was in the Sheepshead Bay TGI Friday’s when she was unfortunately hit in the face by a flying drone. The blades kept spinning and blood was shed.

Although an isolated incident, this accident points to a larger problem with the commercial use of drones. When it comes to using unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) like this in public space, brands need to carefully weigh issues like practicality, safety, and privacy before deploying them as stunt marketing. The bottom line here is, drones can be used in many productive ways, but delivering mistletoes in a busy restaurant is probably not one of them.


Image from the YouTube Video TGI Fridays Launch #Togethermas Mistletoe Drones