Greggs illustrates the value of authenticity with its drone stunt IRL

Greggs illustrates the value of authenticity with its drone stunt IRL

Drones are a bit of a pet hate of mine.

Along with those 3D digital corner billboards, drone shows feel to me like nothing more than a grotesquely expensive muscle flex.  Unfortunately, they also tend to come at the expense of anything resembling a creative idea.

Drone displays and 3D billboards are restrictive mediums that feel more like end destinations for creatives to try and retrofit ideas into rather than creative starting points.

As I said, I hate drones. So, naturally, I love Gregg’s new festive drone show announcement.

Why am I writing about Gregg’s festive bake drone show announcement?

Well, in this case, it’s more about the brand in question and the reason they’re doing it. 

Gregg’s are a brand firmly on my client wish list.

I feel like it's completely comfortable with who and what it is. It's a no-frills, affordable and convenient high-street bakery chain.

And it acts accordingly, in a way that’s endearingly self-deprecating and often pokes fun at popular cultural trends. Its marketing strategy over the years appears to be to spoof or hijack exactly the sort of behaviour that brands that take itself much more seriously indulge in. And it works.

It's previously promoted its new vegan sausage roll (VSR) in the style of an Apple iPhone launch (using the same distinctive angles and lighting in its promos and supplying samples in bespoke, Apple-product-style boxes).

It has reversed the sign on its store opposite Fenwick’s so that it can cheekily appear as part of its festive window display (through unavoidable reflections).

And I believe that this drone show has been conceived in a similar vein.

The announcement itself concerns the return of a £1.95 seasonal pastry item.

So, this overly bombastic and somewhat preposterous drone display has been executed with tongue firmly in cheek.

This is emphasised by the lab technician narrative woven throughout the content. It’s all completely ridiculous and absurd. But that’s entirely the point.

As ever, Gregg’s are firmly in on the joke.

So, for once, I’m fully onboard.

Another reason to highlight this campaign is that the location for this extravagant display was above Gregg’s factory in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Hardly the Southbank on New Year’s Eve. Therefore, amplifying captured content was clearly the end game here.

With that in mind, there’s also an argument for Gregg’s not having to do a drone display at all.

Fake experiential and OOH appear to be rapidly on the rise.

You can no longer take things at face value, and I inevitably had to question the authenticity of this stunt while I was viewing it. Thankfully, it seems to be nothing more sinister than content captured from a genuine event that actually took place in the real world!

The question is whether it would have made any difference to its impact if it had all been simply generated inside of a computer?

Of course, I’m going to say yes. I HAVE to say yes. My entire livelihood is at stake! However, it’s also what I genuinely believe.

Tell me you weren’t secretly crushed or felt duped when you realised that the L’Oreal road-lipstick stunt never happened. Or weren’t insulted at the very idea that North Face thought they could convince you they’d wrapped a giant version of its iconic coat around the Elizabeth Tower in Westminster!


In a world of ever-increasing fakes, I believe the value of authenticity will only increase, not diminish.

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