Recently Farmers Insurance Group aired a commercial which highlighted a drone crashing into a windshield of a moving vehicle. While AMA appreciates that Farmers Insurance commercials typically focus on unusual accidents outside of the norm, we did take issue with the negative attention this gives our hobby. Companies and organizations are free market how they see fit, but AMA felt that it is our responsibility to inform Farmers Insurance Group that their commercial fuels a public misperception that drones and model aviation are a societal liability when in fact the industry is a force for good. Please see the following AMA letter to Farmers Insurance Group.
Dear Farmers Insurance Group,
We are writing regarding one of your commercials – “Hall of Claims: Hit & Drone” – which we believe misrepresents unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones, by
casting our longstanding hobby of model aviation as a nuisance.
We are the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the nation’s largest association of model aircraft and drone hobbyists that fly for recreational and educational purposes. We are also co-founders of Know Before You Fly, which we started in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) in 2014 to educate drone pilots about how to fly safely and responsibly.
While we understand the intent of the commercial was to point out the rarity of a drone crashing into a vehicle and how your company covers rare incidences, we believe the overdramatized nature of the damage caused to the vehicle in your ad gives the wrong impression to viewers. Drones and model aircraft operators are required to follow safety guidelines that keep UAS away from other objects in the sky, people and vehicles. Furthermore, anyone who operates a drone in a careless or reckless manner, such as what is depicted in your ad, would be held accountable by the FAA and local law enforcements, and potentially subject to thousands in fines.
The commercial fuels a public misperception that drones and model aviation are a societal liability when in fact the industry is a force for good, including helping insurance companies like yours with commercial applications. We ask you to remove the commercial and please more positively portray our great and longstanding hobby in future advertisements.
Thank you for your time. Please reach out with any questions.
Chad Budreau, Executive Director at Academy of Model Aeronautics