The Weather and Big Data Equals Big Business.


The weather has a significant influence on almost one-third of the world’s buying everyday. “The old paradigm of business and weather was cope and avoid,” says The Weather Channel’s vice president for weather analytics. “With [big data] technology, the paradigm is now anticipate and exploit.”

The Weather Channel (TWC) is an American basic channel and satellite television company, owned by a consortium made up of Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and NBCUniversal located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The channel has broadcast weather forecasts and weather-related news and analysis, along with documentaries and entertainment programming related to weather since 1982.

TWC provides numerous customized forecasts for online users through its website,, including home and garden, and event planning forecasts. Third-party web analytics providers Alexa and SimilarWeb rated the site as the 146th and 244th most visited website in the world respectively, as of July 2015. SimilarWeb rated the site as the most visited weather website globally, attracting more than 126 million visitors per month.

That massive web traffic is exactly how The Weather Channel has turned ‘Big Data’ into a completely new business.

TWC is before all a technology platform operator, which developed an extremely high-volume data platform, collecting and analyzing data from 3 billion weather forecast reference points, more than 40 million smartphones and 50,000 airplane flights per days, and serves 65 billion unique access to weather data each day.

TWC collects terabytes of data everyday and uses it not only to predict the weather in millions of locations, but also to predict what consumers in those locations will buy.

In a very savvy move TWC married more than 75 years’ worth of weather data with aggregated consumer purchasing data. For example, air-conditioners sales increases during hot weather, but folks in Atlanta suffer three days longer than people in Chicago before running out to buy one. Such analysis has created a whole new business for TWC – ‘Selling ads based on big data analytics’.

For example, P&G Pantene and Puffs brands buy ads based on TWC’s weather and consumption analytics. A women checking The Weather Channel app in a humid locale receives an ad for Pantene Pro-V Smooth, a product formulated to tame frizzy hair.

Checking the app again on low humidity day or drier area results in seeing an ad for a volumizing product instead. Similarly, a consumer looking at a high pollen forecast receives an ad for Puffs facial tissues, with the message, “A face in need deserves Puffs indeed.”


Currently, TWC is generating half of the company’s ad revenue to the business using web analytics.

Big data and web analytics helped TWC maintain an extensive online presence at and through a set of mobile applications for smartphones and tablet computers. These services are now administered by The Weather Channel’s former parent company, The Weather Company, which was sold to IBM in 2016. The Weather Channel continues to license its brand assets and weather data from IBM.

TWC’s case is the epitome of how effective use of big data and web analytics can lead to marketing opportunities. It also demonstrates how today’s big companies can advance through ‘Digital Marketing’ which can also help them to diversify and strengthening their business portfolios.

My Top Three Super Bowl Commercials

In no particular order here is my top three list for best Super Bowl commercials. I have worked on a few Super Bowl efforts over the years at BBDO for Pepsi, Visa, and FedEx but I am beginning to think the ideas for Super Sunday are taking a back seat to over done special effects, borrowed celebrity interest, and just plain “let’s throw big money at the concept” thinking.

The Coke spot and Kia spot for instance are perfect examples of the advertising agencies entertaining themselves in public at the client’s expense, what value was created for these 60 second, $5.6 million investments? 
1) Chrysler Farmer – Paul Harvey’s two minute tribute to the farmer captured my attention with the delivery, the great still pictures and the writing.  If Dodge Ram wants to stand for rugged, hard working, salt of the earth men, then this commercial delivers on the brand strategy. 
2) Tide Montana Stain – Let’s give Procter and Gamble credit, they developed a commercial that featured the product’s key benefit – stain removal and tied in the 49ers and the Ravens.  I am not sure the Super Bowl is the right venue for a detergent commercial, but they get an A+ for delivering the message and I am sure the viral aspect of this creative will pay off for P&G. 
3) Budweiser Clydesdales – I have to admit, I have been extremely negative about the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials in the past couple of years especially since they were created by BBDO’s sister agency.  The magic formula here was the emotion packed story that brings out the best quality in all of us.  That little tug on our heart strings delivered the brand message of heritage, tradition and quality.  Will it sell any Bud? I am not sure.

Dish Soap’s Long-Running Cause-Related Ad Campaign Timely in Light of Environmental Disaster

It’s not the kind of luck Procter & Gamble Co. was looking for, but its Dawn dish soap is one of the few brand beneficiaries of the massive Gulf Coast oil spill.
The promotion on has raised nearly $383,000 in donations so far.

Dawn launched a new ad for its wildlife rescue efforts on Earth Day and was still in the midst of a related promotional fundraiser just as the environmental catastrophe was unfolding. Earlier this week, it helped drive the point home further, shipping 1,000 bottles of Dawn to animal rescuers in the Gulf Coast, and plans to follow with another 1,000 by week’s end, said spokeswoman Susan Baba.

Lest P&G be accused of opportunism, the ads and donations are extensions of one of the company’s oldest cause-related marketing programs, now in its fourth decade, which got its original impetus from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Because of Dawn’s longstanding relationship with leading wildlife rescue organizations, the International Bird Rescue and Research Center and the Marine Mammal Center, it has access to the animal rescue efforts near the disaster site that few news organizations have, so it began sending news flashes about the first bird rescues today via its Facebook fan page with more than 140,000 fans, and Twitter account, a newer effort with under 200 followers.

Dawn hasn’t made any plans to increase weight behind its current ad from Publicis Groupe’s Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, showing an oil-soaked bird being washed with dish soap, Ms. Baba said, but is considering adding a tag related to the Gulf disaster and directing people to Dawn’s Facebook page for more information.

The brand was already in the home stretch of a promotion launched last summer in which it donates $1 for every specially marked bottle of dish soap registered at The site, from Barefoot Proximity, Cincinnati, a unit of Omnicom’s BBDO, lists nearly $383,000 in donations so far, broken down by state and Canadian province.

Dawn donates soap to aid cleanups following every oil spill, as well as routinely to help rescue organizations clean birds fouled by less-publicized cases of oil seepage inland, Ms. Baba said. But outside of smaller, less publicized spills in the San Francisco Bay and near South Africa in recent years, nothing has approached the attention brought by this case since the Exxon Valdez, she said. In all, over the years, Dawn has been used to aid in the rescue of more than 60,000 animals since the 1980s.

Besides being timely, the wildlife effort, which the brand has promoted through a variety of TV, print, coupon and digital programs over the decades, is an almost perfect fit with brand equity, Ms. Baba said.

“The beauty of the [organization partnerships] even outside this particular incident is that it allows us to really communicate our product benefit in a way that’s meaningful,” she said. “Dawn is all about tough on grease, mild on skin. Trying to balance those two benefits is sometimes challenging. When you talk about a bird that has a really sensitive internal system but is also covered in this tough grease, it’s a really clear way of articulating our benefit to consumers.”

PuR, Water Purification in a Packet

Safe drinking water is one of the world’s greatest needs, according to the World Health Organization. More than 1 billion people lack safe water, and an estimated 2 million children die each year because of diarrheal diseases, many of which could be prevented by safe drinking water.

Procter & Gamble, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and governments, is working in developing countries to provide safe drinking water directly to people in their homes: this model has the advantages of cost, immediate availability and ease of distribution to reach rural areas.
The Procter & Gamble Health Sciences Institute, in collaboration with the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the product named PuR. It is meant to create safe drinking water through the removal of pathogens and the use of disinfectants in turbid waters.

The PuR product uses the same ingredients as those in municipal water systems, acting as a mini-water treatment plant in a sachet. Among other things, a small sachet of powdered product visibly separates the cleaned water from the murky masses and remains stable, providing the potential for long-term consumer use as well as for providing emergency water.
The product is packaged in small sachets that are convenient to transport and store. One small sachet, costing about US $0.10 in the commercial model, will treat 10 litres of water (enough drinking water for an average family for two days). PuR can also be bought in bulk quantities for use in disasters and emergencies or miniature treatment plants, The latest crisis in Haiti for example.

P&G believes that if it can provide affordable products that meet a real consumer need, then there will be demand for these products in the developing world. Initial efforts are underway to develop a sustainable market-based approach for delivery and to learn how to best make these products available. Three separate complementary models are being explored: a social model led by non-profit organizations; a commercial model led by the private sector; an emergency relief model led by relief organization.

Disney, P&G and Unilever form Coalition to demand stronger ad metrics.

“We need insights we can use that are tangible and reliable,” said Artie Bulgrin, ESPN’s senior VP-research and analytics. “The industry lacks a robust, reliable and accurate measurement system for cross-media usage — a source we can all use to know how many Americans use both TV and internet, when they do and for how long. Or how many American on a daily basis use TV, internet and mobile devices. Or how many Americans use their mobile devices exclusively for web access (no PC). So step one is we need fundamental information on consumer behavior.”
Look out Nielsen.

Sorrell: Olympics a Watershed for China

Martin Sorrel has always been a great supporter of our business here and I always respect his opinion that is why I wanted to post this article from ADWEEK. His observations about China and the Olympics are sure worth noting.

For executives like Martin Sorrell, China’s future is now.
“What we saw Friday night confirmed that perception has become reality,” Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group — parent of media buyer GroupM — said of the opening ceremony. “People all over the world watching television who’ve been in denial about China’s rapid growth now finally see it’s for real.”

Sorrell, whose GroupM is the largest media buyer for Olympics host broadcaster China Central Television, said Monday that he believes the Beijing Games are a watershed event for world consumers’ view of China and for revenue at CCTV.

CCTV ad revenue growth in 2008 is up 30 percent because of what Mark Patterson, GroupM’s CEO Asia Pacific, calls “the Olympic effect.” “That’s double China’s market-wide growth,” he said.

Through a tight relationship with CCTV, Patterson said that GroupM is able to predict that the lone Olympics broadcaster in China — where it has a near-total reach to nearly 1.3 billion people — will earn Olympics-related advertising revenue of $50-60 million, given that it paid a “modest market rate for a sole bidder.”

CCTV has not disclosed what it paid the International Olympic Committee for the right to broadcast the Games.
By contrast, U.S. rights-holder NBC has said it paid $894 million for the right to broadcast the Games. Although NBC has sold more than $1 billion in advertising, the GE-owned network has been supporting a team that swelled to about 3,000 people here last week since long before for the 17-day event began.

WPP, which commands 15 percent of the Chinese market, also saw 30 percent growth over the last year. Clients include multinationals Ford, Unilever and Procter & Gamble and rising Chinese giants Lenovo, Haier and Mengniu, which make computers, refrigerators and yogurt, respectively.

The Chinese advertising opportunity is only going to continue growing, Sorrell said. For example, WPP values state-run China Mobile as the fifth-most-valuable brand in the world thanks to its 600 million subscribers, a group roughly twice the size of the population of the U.S.

“Just think of the mobile ads market,” he said.

In contrast with that optimism, Chinese stocks on Monday fell 5 percent to their lowest level since December 2006 on what analysts said were market concerns of a post-Olympics economic slowdown.

CCTV-2 economics anchor and host Rui Chenggang also expressed a dissenting view of Sorrell’s optimism on the sidelines of a closed-door panel discussion organized by the Yale School of Management. Rui called China Mobile and the Bank of China, just two giant state-owned enterprises “world-sized, but not world-class, businesses.”

“It’s only a matter of time,” said Sorrell.

P&G and Gillette Merger

Procter and Gamble and Gillette

The following sentiments written in January last year by Dan Barrows of Market Watch reinforce my thoughts on this merger, “Procter and Gamble’s $57 billion acquisition of Gillette not only created the world’s largest consumer goods company, it also created a global-size headache for both companies’ rivals.”

I have worked with Gillette, P&G and KAO, the Japanese version of a P&G, for several years. A year before the announced merger Gillette was already looking to find a partner to acquire them. I even arranged for the Japanese top management of KAO to meet with Gillette in Boston to see if the synergies between KAO and Gillette would work across the globe. KAO’s interest is to become more of a global player. Two years earlier KAO bought Jergens and Biore in an attempt to enter the US market in particular.

But Japan moves too slowly and cautiously and P&G was able to offer a more compelling deal for the Gillette shareholders. Besides the obvious financial pluses this deal makes tremendous sense from a marketing standpoint, now P&G can go head to head with Colgate in Oral care with Oral B and in shaving against Schick with Gillette”s shaving technological successes. I think the power of the two will give P&G considerable clout in the battle for shelf space as well

Dan Barrow’s article also pointed out the strategy behind the plan as viewed by CIBC World Markets analyst Joseph Altobello, “Besides creating what in our view would be pre-eminent consumer products company in believe it would underscore our thesis that suppliers need to either ‘get big or get focused’ in order to maintain leverage in an industry marked by retailer consolidation,”

A merger of P&G and Gillette not only bring Colgate’s two biggest direct competitors together under one corporate umbrella, it also combines their already considerable advertising, marketing and research and development resources and talent.

Moreover, P&G now will expand into new product categories in which it currently does not compete: Gillette owns the premium razor and blade brand, and Duracell, the premier battery brand. P&G would also add Gillette’s number-one oral care brand, Oral B — a direct strike at Colgate’s own oral care business.

Those product and brand-portfolio expansions give P&G more leverage in its dealing with Wal-Mart and other retailers.

The acquisition also added about 20 percent to P&G’s sales virtually overnight in a business where sales growth is ever harder to come by and increasingly driven by volume gains and foreign currency exchange.

To put that in perspective, Gillette and Colgate each generate about $10 billion in annual revenue. The P&G acquisition of Gillette is comparable to adding the entirety of Colgate’s sales to P&G’s top line.

Additionally, P&G already the biggest consumer goods company in the U.S. takes that role in the global market, eclipsing Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever N.V.