Sunshine and showers: How marketers are making the most of Britain's changeable weather

By Charlotte Amos

May 20, 2013 | 4 min read

We are obsessed with the weather. Not as much as The Daily Express granted, but then nobody is as obsessed with the weather as The Daily Express. As marketers, we are bound by seasonal trends to drive themes, conversations, tap into moods and above all, sell products that have seasonal shelf lives.


Sadly we live in a country where the weather simply won’t behave and this year, more than ever, we appear to be stuck in a perpetual winter reminiscent of Narnia. Tricky when in marketing land – regardless of what’s happening outside the window – we are supposed to be gearing up for barbecues, strappy sandals, bikini diets and a summer of sport. Let’s face it, when it rains when it should shine, often we’re the ones left wading in high water.

It’s no surprise then, given the state of our current hot and cold fronts that brands and retailers alike have cottoned on and adapted their campaigns accordingly – tackling the weather face on and using it to their advantage.

While many will be suffering and seasonal fashion collections are going somewhat schizophrenic (one day it’s bikinis, the next it’s waterproofs) some are nimbly adapting their campaigns to suit our temperamental climate.

Asda, very cleverly, launched a weather-dependent ‘wear your summer’ campaign for their summer clothing collection last month where the weather dictates the collection being pushed that day via digital ad banners. The creative switches between summer essentials when the temperature increases, and long sleeves, waterproofs and wellies when the weather deteriorates. The supermarket claimed that George drove sales last year by immediately changing stock and bringing forward autumn/winter lines when temperatures dropped – that’s weather-proofing.

It’s not just seasonal fashion collections that have suffered (or rejoiced in the case of Asda), our food harvest has too. The severe bouts of rain have battered our root veg and delayed our harvest - but Florette was having none of it. Around a third of shoppers who buy bagged salad only do so during the summer months when the sun is shining, according to Florette and with the distinct lack of sun, this proved problematic for their advertising schedules. Tapping into the Met Office data for the release of its 2013 "feelgood" ads ensured that their summer ad campaign on TV and online would hit only when good weather was forecast.

Costa Coffee have taken this one step further and are looking to drive footfall into store when the sun shines using their Costa Ice range. Thermal activation ads in underground stations will only activate when temperatures reach 22 degrees……here’s hoping.

And finally, Ikea have targeted their loyalty scheme members with personalised weather forecasts for their garden and messaging encouraging them to get out and enjoy it, or if the forecast was below 14°C, still make the most of your garden (with their range of gazebos and weather proof furniture). The weather certainly won’t rain on these brands' parade.


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