Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mobile targeting based on the weather

For me, the class yesterday on mobile was equal parts scary and cool. On the scary front, I think about the NSA (or The Sun in England) and tapping phones and that Will Smith movie “Enemy of the State” where power-hungry people will use technology for their own ends, not necessarily for the oft-cited “law enforcement” or “good of society” reasons. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but there certainly have been enough instances of abuse of power that the increasing ability for everyone to be tracked all of the time is a little creepy. On the flip side, receiving relevant ads as opposed to irrelevant ads (I am in the industry so can’t turn on my ad blocker to not get ads at all) is compelling. At Hearst, we have a division called Core Audience that uses both first and third party data to make our clients’ digital advertising work smarter. One of the things they talk about is cross-device advertising, and being able to figure out the likelihood that it is the same person on the iPhone in the morning and at their work computer in the afternoon…I think kind of what Professor Kagan was talking about when he said that it is important to consumers to be able to put something in their shopping cart on the phone and then have it there on their computer….important but not easy. Anyway, one of the other things that Core Audience espouses is daypart targeting by device…on the theory that, for example, people just waking up and checking the news and weather on their phones are not necessarily awake enough to be receptive to an advertising message. One of the exceptions to this is advertising messages that are relevant to the news and weather.

In fact, two years ago one of my clients designed their entire digital campaign around the weather - Johnsonville Sausage was always focused on the grilling season, but did a digital campaign that was activated when the first really nice weather weekends started in different parts of the country and then gave consumers grilling ideas. This year, they are coming back to print (in combo with digital), because I think where the campaign failed was that they did 100% digital, and didn’t use any other media. And then I ran across an article that talked about weather advertising, linked to here:

One of the links in the article is, in my opinion, a very good case study on the effects of advertising a weather-related product – it’s for Pantene, which is owned by P&G. Although the case study is from 2013, I think it’s very relevant because they, unlike Johnsonville, came up with a complete cross-channel plan (digital, social, mobile, and in-store) to stop the slide of their products, specifically in Walgreen’s. The complete case study from the MMA (media and Marketing Association) can be found here:

My opinion is that the campaign worked because it was targeted and relevant, cross-platform, focused on the entire purchase journey, but also because it was selling a solution and not just a product. For me, the Pantene story was cool because they didn’t just get caught up in the media platform – they knew what consumer problem their products solve for consumers, and then aligned that with the campaign.

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