A few weeks back, drones buzzed up to high-rises under construction in Singapore and dropped off cans of Coke to the migrant workers building the towers. Tucked into the care packages were 2,734 messages from Singaporeans thanking the tradesmen for their hard work.
The idea was to link two communities that don't often come into contact – Singaporean nationals and the migrant workers who travel far from their countries to build the city-state's apartment buildings, offices and schools.
Ogilvy & Mather Singapore and a non-profit, the Singapore Kindness Movement, worked with Coca-Cola on the project, dubbed "Happiness From the Skies."
It's part of Coke's international campaign called "Where Will Happiness Strike Next?", bringing the brand theme of happiness to places that could use some cheer. (Another Singaporean example from the campaign was a vending machine set up for stressed-out college students during exams -- it dispensed Cokes if you hugged it.)
This time, Coke approached Ogilvy and said, "we want to do something with the drone, which is the harbinger of death and destruction -- so how do you take this technology that does evil and turn it into good?" said Eugene Cheong, chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific.
Ogilvy homed in on the idea of using drones to reach migrant workers at building sites. Coming from places including India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, guest workers make up about a third of the workforce in Singapore, known for its rapid development and high standard of living. The influx of foreign low-wage workers has brought societal tensions and divisions.
"These guys are a community within a community, they are walled off … and when they work they're usually up there in these high-up places that are difficult to reach," Mr. Cheong said. "We thought an appropriate use of drone technology would be to bring the messages up to them. If you use the drones to just deliver the messages to someone on the street, then it's a bad use of technology."