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Campbell?s heats up mobile recipes via weather pattern-driven AI ads

The Campbell Soup Company is the first marketer to roll out artificial intelligence-enhanced Watson Ads, enabling The Weather Company?s mobile application users to receive targeted ads based on current weather patterns and communicate with the units via voice and text.

Campbell?s AI-powered Watson Ads are debuting on The Weather Company?s mobile app today, paving the way for other marketers to soon follow with their customized units. Consumers will be able to interact with the ads in real-time and even submit requests ? such as asking Watson for new Campbell?s recipes ? while the consumer packaged goods company receives invaluable customer data and insights.

?The thing that excites us about the product is that cognition is going to be the next frontier in advertising,? said Jeremy Steinberg, global head of sales at The Weather Company. ?The ability for an ad to listen, to think and to respond is pretty powerful.?

Campbell?s and cognition
The Weather Company is injecting artificial intelligence into a consumer-facing facet of advertising by enabling marketers including Unilever and Campbell Soup Company to leverage its dynamic Watson Ads unit, which lets users ask questions about the promoted product via voice or text (see story).

IBM Watson is a cognitive artificial intelligence system developed to bridge the gap between people and machines.

Campbell?s, the first company to roll out these Watson-enabled units, is hoping to connect with Weather Company app users through a slew of personalized ads.

Consumers using the app this week may spot Campbell?s ads interspersed with other content. Each ad is customized according to the weather conditions for each user?s exact location.

For example, if an individual opens the Weather Company app on a cold and blustery day, he or she could stumble upon a Campbell?s Watson Ad inviting him or her to warm up with a new soup recipe.

Additionally, users can converse with the units ? via voice or text ? regarding content not displayed. For instance, upon clicking on a Campbell?s ad, a consumer can ask Watson to suggest a dish with chicken and avocado ingredients.

Watson will then offer several recipe options that will display all necessary ingredients, preparation instructions and additional Campbell?s content. Users can also see other meal concoctions that individuals have created.

?There?s a whole discovery aspect to this,? Mr. Steinberg said.

Watson also understands food pairings, enabling the AI system to offer unique Campbell?s recipes based on varying ingredients. This could also help consumers use uncommon food pairings they happen to have in their pantries.

Campbell?s Watson-powered ads will exclusively live on The Weather Company?s app. 

?Having one consistent way for a consumer to engage with a brand is going to be very valuable,? Mr. Steinberg said.

Forward-thinking advertising
According to Mr. Steinberg, Watson Ads will help companies better utilize consumer data and consequently, make better decisions for future marketing efforts.

They can also act as a massive focus group for companies that leverage them by monitoring ad engagement, customer needs and brand perception.

Additionally, the personalized aspect will likely capture the attention of more mobile users.

A Weather Company executive at the 2016 IAB Mobile Marketplace discussed the importance of brands leveraging mobile advertisements that are both contextual and location-targeted, as current weather conditions have been proven to directly affect consumers? purchasing mindsets (see story).

Campbell?s is the premier brand to introduce Watson Ads on The Weather Company?s app, although Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare are set to follow in Q4.

The Weather Company has also recently added Toyota as an advertiser and plans to roll out the vehicle manufacturer?s units in Q1 of 2017.

Tackling new industries and capabilities is a primary focus for The Weather Company.

?We definitely have our sights set on expanded capabilities, whether it?s ecommerce or more conversational features,? Mr. Steinberg said.