Just kidding, it’s fake.
But if you’re a 35-year-old male, you probably jumped out of your chair and started reaching for your iPhone already. Well, you can sit back down and remove your hand from your pocket, because the “invention” that combines helicopters, robots and tacos – three hallmarks of your boyhood (and probably your adulthood) – is a farce.
If you feel intrigued, indignant or disappointed at this information, you’re not alone. There’s been a small eruption in the blogosphere in the past few days regarding this authentic-looking iPhone application that would in theory allow you to order tacos and have them delivered to you via robotic helicopter. But in reality, tacocopter remains a beautiful, beautiful, empty concept.
In a conversation with Wired, MIT grad and tacocopter inventor Star Simpson admitted to the many difficulties that would be involved in actually implementing an automated taco air delivery system. First of all, the tacocopter people would have to obtain a rare FAA license allowing them to operate an “unmanned aerial vehicle.” Second, they would have to figure out a way around numerous technical difficulties, such as how to navigate through inclement weather and keep customers from stealing the robot and/or tacos. Third, they might struggle in the marketing department trying to gain the acceptance of anyone who is not a 35-year-old male and thinks the concept of a robot delivering them tacos is kind of creepy. Not to mention all the Iraq-weary anti-drone sentiment out there right now.
On the other hand, when she came up with tacocopter, Simpson was obviously reading her early 20th century marketing theory. In Propaganda, Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays says the best marketers subtly generate a desire within the consumer Inception style, allowing the product to come to them as their own idea.
For the middle-aged male demographic, all the subconscious desires for tacocopter were already in place. Think about it. Robocop. Erector sets. Terminator. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Midnight Taco Bell runs in college. Combine all these with a passion for not moving to get food, and you get tacocopter: the perfect coalescence of all your average middle-aged male’s innermost cravings built up over a lifetime.
Now all they need is a Playboycopter.
The Atlantic also praised tacocopter for its marketing genius. As ridiculous as the idea was, they said, sometimes ridiculous is what you need in an internet age where a video of a clumsy cat gets 13 million views. Whether or not the idea is appealing to you, you have to admit that an image of a helicopter bombing customers with tacos is one that sticks.