Quirky Is Selling Air Conditioners Through Weather Alerts

Claims high email, text message open rates

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East Coasters may have seen advertisements for air conditioners popping up in their daily weather reports recently, thanks to a new partnership between Quirky (a New York-based company that helps inventors flush out and develop ideas) and weather service Poncho.

GE and Quirky co-developed the mobile app-controlled Aros air conditioner that uses information like location, billing budgets and schedules to set customized indoor temperatures. The so-called smart home device is $300.

To capitalize on the spike in air conditioner sales during the summer, Quirky also is partnering with the weather company that serves up forecasts for New York and Boston. The service uses a set of criteria (like ZIP code, wake-up time and allergies) to set up tailored alerts. The alerts are sent out through either text messaging or email twice a day.

Quirky began sprinkling ads into these alerts earlier this month with messages that appeared if the temperature rose above 75 degrees. The campaign, which began on June 9 and runs through June 24, includes four messages that will go to opted-in users touting the Aros air conditioner. "Because Aros and Poncho are both designed to help consumers beat the heat and manage their climates while they’re on the go, we wanted to design a mobile promotion that would keep with that same level of convenience," said Bret Kovacs, head of marketing and community at Quirky.

Poncho says that its emails have a 60 percent open rate. And with reports claiming that 90 percent of text messages are read within three minutes, the promotion is likely getting the attention of a significant percentage of Poncho’s users.

The promo includes free shipping on the air conditioner and will also be good for 25 percent off of other Quirky products. Quirky is also cranking up marketing around Aros with TV ads and a partnership with Uber.

Quirky is not the only brand working with Poncho to offer location-based ads. Walgreens ran a campaign this spring to scout out allergy sufferers by sending out coupons for allergy medicine on days when there was a high pollen count.  

@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.