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From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

Free to Fly: Pennsylvania Drone Campaign

Entered in Real Time Response

About this entry

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™is the technology trade association representing more than 2,200 U.S. consumer technology companies, 80 percent of which are small businesses and startups. Our unofficial motto is "innovate or die." What that means in practice is technology companies and startups need public policies conducive to innovation to develop and build the time-saving, life-saving solutions of tomorrow.

When the Pennsylvania General Assembly was considering two bills which would have stifled drone technology innovation by making flying drones a crime punishable by steep fines, we knew that we needed to mobilize our advocates to take action. We launched only a few weeks before the bill would come to the floor for a vote and ultimately defeated the bill from ever becoming law.

The Pennsylvania drone campaign helped safeguard drone innovations in the state and taught our team invaluable lessons about how to quickly and successfully launch tech policy advocacy campaigns with a new audience.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

CTA's Pennsylvania drone campaign took a two-pronged approach to activate two distinct audiences. First, we sent text messages and emails to our existing advocates in Pennsylvania, urging our tried-and-true network to fight a harmful anti-drone bill. Second, we used publically available Federal Aviation Administration drone registration information to geo-target on Facebook and Twitter. This second approach helped us reach a key, new audience that would prove to be our best cheerleaders: Pennsylvania-based drone enthusiasts.

Pairing our arsenal of supporters with existing Pennsylvania-based drone enthusiasts allowed us to quickly reach out to geographically-relevant allies. By personalizing the issue of innovation, CTA enabled advocates to activate their personal networks for the cause. The campaign spread organically on social media, making its way to drone policy influencers on Twitter and in relevant Facebook groups. In just one week, 2,000 messages were sent to the Pennsylvania General Assembly through emails, tweets and Facebook posts.


We brought people together to take a stand on drone innovation in Pennsylvania, showcasing mobilization of state residents can successfully happen when you have a direct ask and focused universe of advocates. With just a few weeks notice, CTA mobilized constituents to reach out to policymakers on drone policy. After the Pennsylvania General Assembly had received over 2,000 messages in one week, the anti-drone bills failed. Had those bills passed, flying a drone would have been punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.

Putting a stop to those harmful pieces of legislation protects Pennsylvania's innovators, empowering small business, entrepreneurs and everyday hobbyists to keep dreaming, innovating and pushing our technological horizons forward.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™


Entry Credits