The famous advice, “make hay while the sun shines” is a good tagline for the world of weather-reactive advertising, and with some seasonal adjustments, it can be applied just as much in winter as in summer. We’re all affected by the rain and the cold and need to buy winter essentials or want to buy winter treats; brands who are ready to advertise their winter products when we’re most interested will be able to best capitalise on seasonal sales. Here, we look at two examples of brands who have run successful weather-reactive digital signage campaigns during winter, and discuss how you can plan your own version, whatever the size of your business.
What is weather-reactive digital signage?
Weather-reactive or weather-triggered advertising is a type of contextualised advertising, it describes tailoring your advert content to the weather conditions. With digital signage and Digital Out of Home (DOOH), retailers have the flexibility to change what they are advertising instantly, whether it’s in their own store or as part of an outdoor advertising network. Using programmatic software and real time data, ad sales can be highly targeted and set to show according to the weather, for example, only when the temperature drops below a set figure, or only when it’s raining. We looked at some summer examples on the blog last year: Contextualised advertising and digital signage during summer sales: weather-triggered signage campaigns.
Sorel footwear campaign
In 2018, outdoor footwear brand Sorel ran a weather-reactive DOOH campaign in the UK, to promote it’s A/W collection, with content that changed not only according to the weather, but also to the time of day. The adverts shown on DOOH displays featured different walking boots from Sorel’s range, appropriate to the weather conditions. Different boots were advertised depending on whether it was dry or raining, and cold weather boots were advertised when the temperature dropped below 12 degrees Celsius (54F). The boots were photographed for daytime and evening looks, with content switching over when it got dark.
Live updates were managed through the production company (Grand Visual’s) system, which analysed data from the national weather agency and automatically geo-targeted each individual screen, making sure each screen chosen for the campaign was showing the most relevant content.
In a press release about the campaign Michelle Noschese, European Marketing Manager at Sorel, talked about the value of this type of advertising. Michelle said:
“This dynamic approach ensures that the audience sees the most appropriate styles from our AW18 collection, at the most relevant time. This ensures our message remains useful and aligned to the consumer’s mindset and environment at every moment.”
Kraft Heinz soup campaign
The popular US soup brand ran a weather-reactive multi-channel campaign in 2017 to promote eating soup in winter. In the UK, adverts for soup were only shown on DOOH screens when it was below a certain temperature, with the content showing a warming, easy-to-prepare soup. The success of the campaign led Kraft Heinz to invest in more weather-dependent advertising in 2019, by adding an audio element. Different adverts were played on commercial radio stations whenever it was cold, raining or snowing.
Is a winter weather-reactive digital signage campaign right for you?
Do you offer products that people need in winter? While overall sales tend to drop during winter - especially if the weather is so bad that people don’t want to leave the house - certain retailers and businesses will see spikes in sales. Sales of essential items increase, for example, warm clothing, boots, winter car tyres and DIY/ home maintenance items. Businesses offering services, for example, mechanics, insurers and plumbers also see increased business as the weather takes its toll on our cars and homes. Take a look at your sales numbers for the last few years, were there any winter sales trends? Can you anticipate them?
Make sure to plan ahead to create compelling content during the autumn, so that you’re ready to use it as soon as you need to. Think about how your products and services will be needed during winter and build a variety of still and video adverts that you can run. Segment these for your in-store digital signage screens and any public screens too, whether they are in your own window, or on outdoor screens operated by a provider of programmatic DOOH advertising.
How can you make your content weather reactive?
Unless you are willing to load your content manually when the weather changes, you will want to use a service that automates a weather response. Your digital signage content management system should include this, for example, Cenareo's digital signage solution includes a weather reactivity feature so that you can program your fleet of screens to automatically show different content based on different weather conditions.
Advertising to people based on the season isn’t new, however, being able to automate the timing of your adverts based on specific weather conditions, is an option that has only recently become available to small businesses, thanks to developments in digital signage content management solutions.
If you think that you can benefit from trying tailored content this winter, we can make it easy for you to experiment.