The weather continues to be a “hot” topic in the news media. The Weather Channel, celebrating 18 years on the air, has successfully achieved brand dominance and is the viewer destination for 24/7 local and travel weather updates. Recent network research has shown that viewers want weather information early and often to help them plan their day, decide what to wear and determine their commute. In the Weather Channel’s on-going effort to offer more targeted local morning programming for their viewers, the Channel debuted Your Weather Today as its first-ever entrée into the highly competitive morning show arena.
Stanton Crenshaw was charged with crafting a guerilla marketing strategy to advance the Weather Channel’s brand by creating consumer awareness for Your Weather Today and, simultaneously, reinforcing the Weather Channel as the nation’s leading weather information provider and an indispensable source for preparing for and understanding weather.
Garnering coverage in mainstream media outlets that view The Weather Channel as a competitive threat to local weather personalities and ratings during the 7-9 a.m. programming block.
Finding the perfect indoor venue that would target key consumer audiences and create a commuter-stopping event.
Securing involvement from high profile NYC representatives in the morning launch activities.
Last winter, the Weather Channel’s experts forecasted a freeze for New York City. Stanton Crenshaw planned to use the severe weather forecast as an opportunity to increase visibility for the Weather Channel’s programming by encouraging preparation to help keep New Yorkers ahead of the storm, as well as reinforce the Weather Channel as a trusted source for weather information.
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, already a national media star, was grabbing a high number of national headlines and TV coverage for his U.S. Senate bid against First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Stanton Crenshaw leveraged this media opportunity by offering the Mayor involvement in our launch plans as a way to inform the nation on how prepared NYC was for the severe weather and ongoing winter season.
Raise awareness of Your Weather Today programming.
Increase length of viewership of TWC during the hours of 7 a.m.-9 a.m.
Reinforce the Weather Channel as “the” source for accurate weather information.
Leverage the increased consumer interest in weather as a news hook to pitch and generate coverage for new programming features on the Weather Channel.
Introduce Your Weather Today to television, marketing and media writers as the Weather Channel’s newest programming initiative.
Create a NYC event to secure media coverage and consumer awareness for the launch of Your Weather Today.
Prepare press materials for the Your Weather Today launch (materials include a glossy photograph of the hosts and the new Your Weather Today set, press kit with backgrounder, fact sheet, launch release and bios, and media advisories), plus a creative mailer to get attention (breakfast baskets were delivered to top morning shows).
Consumer media – Distribute consumer release to television writers at top 250 newspapers as well as appropriate editors at newspapers in OCMs hometown, with aggressive follow up to ensure coverage of the new show.
Business media – Focus on the New York City advertising and promotional efforts that surround the launch. Reporters who cover the media industry were approached at print publications in appropriate markets.
Trade media – Forward press release to writers at cable and industry trades.
Your Weather Today NYC-based event media outreach –The day before the event and the morning of the event, agency sent media alerts and wake up calls to assignment editors at all NYC-based broadcast news programs and the photo desks at all newspapers and wire services.
The Weather Channel celebrated the launch of Your Weather Today with a people-stopping event at NYC’s two major commuter hubs. Stanton Crenshaw coordinated with the Weather Channel marketing team to hire actors for the launch stunt “Start your day with Your Weather Today.”
The curtain rose promptly at 7 a.m. in Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. New York commuters slowed their morning rush hour schedule to watch vignettes of actors performing morning routines such as a couple watching television from bed and a businessman doing his morning exercise. Meanwhile, the Weather Channel continued the celebration with “The Great Coffee Giveaway.” From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. quirky coffee “swarmers” dressed in Weather Channel-logoed bathrobes offered commuters free coffee, pastries, and premiums.
Stanton Crenshaw secured NYC Mayor Giuliani’s participation in the morning launch activities. Mayor Giuliani was on hand to chat live and on-camera about the day’s weather, open the show with the Weather Channel’s popular on-camera meteorologist Jim Cantore and present a proclamation declaring January 10, 2000 “Winter Weather Preparedness Day.”
Spotlighting a city with excellent weather preparedness initiatives was key, and Stanton Crenshaw successfully carried out an aggressive media outreach campaign that culminated with a newsworthy launch announcement, just in time for New York City’s severe winter blast.
The event and media coverage were hugely successful. The agency’s Your Weather Today event culminated with a photographic coup when the bedroom scene was transported onto the streets of New York’s 42nd and Park. The picture was picked up by several publications.
In addition, the agency garnered extensive media coverage for Your Weather Today’s launch, including CNN and its affiliate stations nationwide, as well as print publications ranging from Brandweek and The American Journalism Review to Los Angeles Times and Daily News (NY). Media results for The Weather Channel exceeded 12 million impressions. TWC received its highest ratings for the launch of the new show, which hoisted Your Weather Today to the number one position for cable news programs in its time slot. The morning show continues to lead in the 7 a.m.-9 a.m. segment and has garnered a 0.6 rating since its launch on January 10, placing The Weather Channel higher than any other news and information cable network, according to network research based on Nielsen data.
Your Weather Today was the genesis of new programming enhancements on The Weather Channel and the launch proved to be newsworthy. Most importantly, the PR campaign was highly successful in reinforcing The Weather Channel’ as “the” leading provider of weather information and the Channel’s strong commitment to its loyal viewers by providing the most complete weather coverage available on television. “One of the most recognizable cable channels may not be able to change winter to summer, but The Weather Channel is determined to anticipate every weather eventuality and provide information anytime through every conceivable media outlet.” – Tim Feran, The Columbus Dispatch.