MK 354 Spring 2010

February 1, 2010

Did you hear about that nor’easter coming down from Canada?

Filed under: blog #1 — Tags: — morganhowell @ 12:33 pm

When it comes to conversation there are few topics more clichéd and overused than the weather. There are people with whom I have had very few conversations with about anything other than the rain in Spain or when the next snowstorm will hit. To be honest, I have never had a serious conversation about the rain in Spain. But the fact remains; the weather is a popular and overused topic of conversation. It’s a pretty simple topic also: it is something everyone is affected by, something that anyone can relate to.

When it comes to the weather, there is one definitive source, trusted above all others. For the past 28 years, The Weather Channel has been broadcasting weather forecasts on TV, the radio and the Internet, twenty-four hours a day. Yet for some reason, when an advertising team approached The Weather Channel with a campaign built around that simple idea of weather as the conversation topic of any circumstance, the idea was killed. I came across this ad campaign on, a website that compiles the best of the worst—the killed ideas that really shouldn’t have been killed in the first place. The “Commander’s Intent” of the campaign is clear and simple: weather is always a safe topic that can rescue us from the most uncomfortable situations.

What makes the directive shine, is that it can be handed out to anyone on the marketing team, and he or she can create a script that will enhance the brand image, engage people with a solution to a real-life problem, albeit a slightly exaggerated problem, and help get the company in the consumer’s head. provides three storyboard examples, one of which is shown below.

When Jan mistakenly congratulates her friend’s overweight friend on her pregnancy, things get awkward. It’s a fairly common comedic situation, yet never before has one successfully used the weather to diffuse it. Yet Jan, quick on her feet as always, remembers the nor’easter she heard about on the weather channel, and a mutual dislike for Canadian’s and their weather makes Jan and Sara fast friends.

Admittedly, it’s a pretty unlikely outcome—and I embellished it a bit myself—but since I came across that ad, I’ve found myself watching The Weather Channel more, and using—or at least trying to use—the weather to get out of sticky situations. So why is this now filed under “killed ideas?”


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