Climate Controlled Consumers – How Brands Make It Rain Whatever The Weather


Consumers aren’t blind to the fact that what comes from the clouds can encourage them to pop open their purses. We’ve all seen that Del Boy-esq character raring and waiting near an outdoor concert with a box of brollies or sunglasses.

Rain, snow or shine consumers all know there’s money to be made. But what will be surprising is how much brands are incorporating meteorology into their marketing. Copywriter and aspiring weatherman, Matt Dix, gives us the forecast.

How Brands Make It Rain Whatever The Weather

Matt Dix, Copywriter

“Over the last few years, canny brands have been honing in on our British obsession with the elements.”

At the time of writing, we’re facing down The Beast from the East, a snowy February shocker complete with plunging temperatures, icy cul-de-sacs, and cancelled trains nationwide. Such inclement weather undoubtedly affects our habits and plans – time to buy that new scarf, and maybe it’s Netflix and blankets tonight rather than a meal out at the cinema – but it seems that, over the last few years, canny brands have been honing in on our oh-so British obsession with the elements.

One degree can make a big difference

It’s no secret that the weather drives retail trends, with shoppers driven to impulse purchases by the slightest hint of sunshine, or slamming their wallets shut at the first dribble of drizzle.

According to American gurus The Weather Channel, a seasonal temperature of either 1°C higher or lower than average can account for a 1% change in sales. For a retail sector that’s worth over £380bn, that’s a whopping £3.8bn lost when it gets a bit chilly.

It works both ways too: warmer Autumn weather hits clothing retailers like Primark hard, as consumers hang on to their skimpy summer outfits rather than pulling the trigger on that new winter coat.

Big brands can’t yet control the weather – though we’re sure Elon Musk is giving it a go (WeatherX, maybe?) – but they’ve certainly been developing innovative strategies to cash in on our obsession with what falls from the sky.

Weather-based reactive campaigns

Over the last few years, weather-based reactive advertising has really taken off. A few years ago, Twitter and The Weather Channel announced a new initiative to allow marketers to employ geographic targeting, with promoted tweets triggered by factors including temperature, humidity, and rain. Advertisers can also employ the services of WeatherAds, who even provide a dedicated app.

Some weather-reactive campaigns seem more obvious than others. US soup giant Campbell’s (yes, the Andy Warhol guys) have traditionally targeted regions suffering from a cold snap. Recently, they’ve stepped things up a gear, working with a ‘cognitive computer system’ at IBM to offer consumers tailored recipes appropriate for the weather in their area.

Cosy food choices might seem obvious, but other retailers have also been offering innovative campaigns based on weather-tracking technology. Menswear giant Burton have been offering customised banners including real-time forecasts.

Holiday bookings always see a boom in the drizzly winter months, but TUI have pounded home the message with a full app takeover, offering users a full-screen representation of the weather outside their window. A memory-evoking sunny day might get you booking that caribbean all inclusive, whereas a thunderstorm might get you… also booking that carribean all inclusive.

More recently, Deliveroo drummed up over 46,000 different audio ads for their summer 2017 campaign, served to consumers based on location, local competition, and – of course – the weather. They even went so far as to set up local collection spots in parks so customers could grab their favourite takeaway without straying too far from the picnic blanket.

Now pass me the umbrella, I’m going shopping.