The effect of weather on brand sales
One of the quintessential British stereotypes, along with terrible teeth and an addiction to tea, is that we’re obsessed with the weather and to be fair, this one has legs. It’s the go-to conversation filler to punctuate the agony of awkward lift rides and uncomfortable silences, but given the unpredictability and volatility of the British climate we can be forgiven for taking an interest in the outside atmosphere.
Weathering the Weather
The country was recently under siege from powerful forces emanating from Siberia which wreaked havoc and dominated public focus. The ‘Beast from the East’ cost the UK at least £1bn a day, with severely reduced footfall preventing leisure activities which conversely affected the economy, the construction industry also took a big hit. However just the other week the country was this time transfixed by a golden orb in the sky, it appeared to be emitting bright light and heat, after deliberation the top minds across the land concluded that this was in fact the much rumoured ‘sun’. After mild hysteria and a mass stampede to the nearest parks the sun promptly disappeared again after its fleeting four day visit, leaving only minor sunburn and memories in its wake.
While the weather appears to affect productivity, 30% of workers take an extra 13 minutes of lunch break when the weather is pleasant, it also impacts consumer behaviour; the heatwave in June 2017 drove retail like-for-like sales by 1.2% compared to the previous month. The faintest hint of sunshine is synonymous with picnics in the park and barbeques in the back garden, basically all food al fresco, which consequently caused sales to rise by 3.6% in comparison to May.
Making Pay While the Sun Shines
In 2013 canny marketers from Stella Artois decided to leverage the positive correlation between sunshine and Stella slurping with a weather activated ad campaign. They utilised a digital OOH campaign that was activated in specific locations where temperatures rose 2 degrees Celsius above the national average. So if it were hot in Hastings, for example, but raining in Romford the advertisement would only be activated in Hastings. Andy Logan, marketing manager of Stella Artois commented, “…Stella Artois Cidre, the most sophisticated cider brand will deliver the most sophisticated summer of refreshment, right on cue when the temperature rises… This innovative media mechanic is yet another way we are pushing the boundaries through digital technologies to be relevant to our consumers, at just the right time.” And while Stella Artois and sophistication are not oft mentioned in the same breath the ads certainly deserve to be. Not only were they innovative, they were also profitable, Stella reported a 65.6% increase in YoY sales during the period the campaign was run. And so while the constantly changing weather might play havoc on our wardrobes it does provide plenty of opportunity for innovation and profitability in turn.