Columbia: Weather Triggered Ads

February 3, 2016

We knew bad weather was good for Columbia Sportswear jacket sales. What we didn’t know was would sales significantly increase if we timed our advertising messaging to bad weather itself.

So we tested it out. We measured the impact of increasing impressions on our in-house trading desk as weather hit individual markets. We took that data and ran correlation reports that led us to the insight that when we increased presence during key bad weather patterns, product interest went up (exponentially) and cost per product page views went down (significantly).

We took this research-led insight and looked for areas where we could both increase impressions and change the creative messages in real-time as bad weather hit.

What we did was, we:

  • Hacked the buying platform of our in-house trading desk and piped in a weather API to increase volume of impressions during weather patterns and make the creative message dynamic to align with the weather.
  • Approached 50+ local radio stations and asked them to create never-been-done weather sponsorships. As part of this, we provided DJs with their own Turbo-Down jackets – when the first snow hit in our key markets, every DJ across town would be talking about how cold it was and how warm Columbia jackets were (in addition to our radio spots running at higher levels).

While we awaiting sales data directly tied to radio’s impact, we know that our digital efforts have increased PPV five-fold and digital sales linked to these tactics have increased four-fold. What a warm feeling to know our insight proved to be so valuable to driving Columbia’s business.