In a bid to transform itself from a purely informational site to a lifestyle destination, weather.com, the Web site of the Atlanta-based cable network The Weather Channel, today will kick off a four-city test marketing campaign featuring its first offline advertising.
The new campaign will run in Houston, Nashville, Tenn., Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio. The first flight of the advertising effort, created by agency of record Chiat Day, New York, launched last month in Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Portland, Ore., and Norfolk, Va. The program will continue in all eight cities through February.
The fully implemented version of the $2 million to $10 million campaign will launch in Q2, following the results of the test run.
The current promotional test is the first time weather.com has made ad buys offline, including a mix of TV, radio and outdoor. The Web site has used online banner ads in the past, according to Lelia Lee, brand director at weather.com. Additionally, weather.com also is testing unconventional ad schemes, such as placement on dry-cleaner bags, airport dioramas and packages of airline peanuts.
“A lot of Web sites have moved from [exclusively using] banner advertising to TV, radio and outdoor,” said Lee. “We felt there was value in exploring advertising in different media.”
Alex Kaminsky, vice president of marketing at weather.com, said the irreverent campaign–which features such taglines as “Forget about what they are wearing in Paris, think Anchorage” and “Don’t have your own Doppler?”–should appeal to current users of the Web site and attract new users.
“It’s important for us to reach out beyond our current users and try to help grow the overall pie,” said Kaminsky.
Kaminsky added that the test campaign is also part of a larger strategy to give weather forecasts a higher profile.
“We recognize that people use weather [forecasts] for a lot of different reasons,” he said, “whether it’s sporting, gardening or travel.
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