No film bros were harmed in the making of this PR stunt. South by Southwest was overtaken by a swarm of over 400 alien drones the night of Sunday, March 13. Paramount+ teamed up with ad agency Giant Spoon to create the drone display for the new Halo series, which stretched to a height of 300 feet tall and 600 feet wide, roughly the size of two football fields. The drones were choreographed to form a series of different images, from the Paramount+ logo to a scannable QR code that touted the countdown to a new trailer for Halo, an upcoming series based off of the Xbox game about an interstellar war between humans and the Covenant, their extraterrestrial foes.
Festivalgoer Dennis Hegstad said the display “sounded like a swarm of bees x1000,” per The Hollywood Reporter. Some freaked-out Austin, Texas, locals believed it was a sign of the apocalypse, with one running inside to take cover from the SXSW UFO. Austin Redditors were divided on the spectacle, with one writing “the day i look up to the night sky and see a fucking ad is the day you should just shoot me right there,” with others praising the creativity of the outsize marketing tactic. The series will star Pablo Schreiber as Master Chief. For those who missed the Halo invasion, Paramount+ has planned four more drone shows tonight — beginning at 8 p.m. — after Halo’s SXSW premiere on March 14.