Recall Van Halen’s classic “Dreams” music video, which featured the Navy’s Blue Angels flight squadron performing barrel rolls to screaming guitar riffs?
Now remove the pilots, add a handful of polo-clad engineers and you’ve got the general idea of Northrop Grumman Co.’s newest marketing tool: a music video showing off the company’s new X-47B drone.
The company this month posted a YouTube video showcasing the combat drone, designed to take off and land on aircraft carriers with only a computer in control, preparing for a flight test at Edwards Air Force Base near Lancaster.
Northrop, which recently moved its corporate headquarters from Century City to Falls Church, Va., has made videos flogging other products, but those videos were geared toward military or industry insiders. This latest one is about building an image of Northrop for a young audience, said Brooks McKinney, a senior public relations manager in Northrop’s El Segundo office who directed the video.
“We’re talking to possible future employees and investors and others in the marketplace,” he said. “We all have favorite brands. Why not brand Northrop Grumman as a leader in unmanned systems?”
The two-minute video highlights the drone unfolding its wings, engineers and technicians preparing it for a flight and, fittingly, an ending with a textbook takeoff and landing – all set to a keyboard- and guitar-heavy piece of generic ’80s-style rock.
“The music adds some hipness to it that a video otherwise might not have,” McKinney said.
It seems the effort may be working, though not everyone is thrilled with the idea of glorifying an aircraft capable of shooting deadly air-to-ground missiles.
The video has so far commanded more than 81,500 views, with 95 “likes” and just 18 “dislikes.” Commentator taliewacker2007 penned an excited “Dear Santa… .”
But Carp1844 was one with a decidedly antimilitaristic view, “Oh good, another weapon. Can’t have too many of those.”
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