A few weeks ago I wrote about how mobile advertising is failing to work for either consumers or marketers, and today I wanted to quickly share another example of how it is falling down in other places.
As a frequent traveler, I have really enjoyed the Weather Channel app for my new iPad. It has a beautiful interface that quickly allows me to pull up local weather conditions, forecasts, and a predictive radar map. In fact, the app is much better than the Weather Channel website, which is cluttered with ads and links. However, its iPad app advertising model is cloudy, and I don’t see the forecast getting much better.
Naturally, the Weather Channel is trying to turn its app into an advertising medium, and it includes a marketing message on the loading screen and an ad unit in the lower left-hand corner of the local conditions page. However, there are a few obvious problems that should turn off marketers and consumers alike: First, I have been getting the same ad for the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe ever since I first downloaded the app. It is pretty obvious that The Weather Channel either has had no other advertisers embrace its iPad app, or the Cadillac brand dumped a ton of money to buy up the inventory in an effort to “own” this new channel. Either way, it’s a waste of their money and my time.
The second problem is that the ad itself feels very heavy-handed and simple-minded. As you can see from the screen shot above, the same “Perfect Conditions” ad unit is displayed no matter what the weather forecast is. Whether it’s beautiful and sunny or rainy with flood warnings, it’s always “perfect conditions” for a CTS-V Coupe! Both Cadillac and The Weather Channel would have been smart to have a few versions of the banner creative that actually change based on the weather conditions you pull up. For example, if the rain is pounding, the ad unit could describe a safety feature of the car. Just acknowledging the current forecast adds relevancy, which rewards the user and increases the likelihood of action.
The heavy-handedness continues in the links under each day’s forecast–note the “Perfect conditions for a dream drive” repeated three days in a row, again, no matter what the forecast is. This was obviously something The Weather Channel threw in to make the Cadillac team feel even better about its media buy; however, it is irrelevant for the user and looks lame. This makes one remember that checking the weather does not mean someone is in the mind-frame to start exploring new car options.
Yes, it’s still early for this new medium and over time improvements are likely. However, there really is no excuse for this ad overload out of the gate. The Weather Channel should not make the same mistakes on the app that it has made on its website; and if Cadillac is the only advertiser, then use the extra impressions to advertise new cable channel shows or explain in-app features. Finally, Cadillac should take the time to try something new and relevant in this new medium, rather than repeating the same, tired single banner ad.