- Drugstore chain CVS is sponsoring a new feature in The Weather Channel app that alerts mobile users when they're most at risk of catching the flu. The app's Flu Insights feature relies on IBM's Watson artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide alerts about the onset of flu season, confirmed cases of flu outbreak or increased risk conditions, according to an IBM blog post.
- The app has a 15-day flu forecast that shows when risk levels vary from low to high according to a user's location. Flu Insights also has illness prevention tips and the latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- CVS' logo appears above text that says, "Get a no-cost flu shot today," in the app's Flu Alert notification, per a screen shot in the company blog post. IBM bought The Weather Company several years ago to showcase customized weather forecasts, while The Weather Channel has remained a separate cable network.
CVS' sponsorship of the Flu Insights section of The Weather Channel app aims to highlight its service of providing free vaccinations as flu season ramps up. About 37% of people don't get a flu shot, although 83% said they think avoiding the flu is important, per a study commissioned by The Weather Company. More than half (62%) of baby boomers said they always get a flu shot to prepare for the season, while only 23% of millennials take the same action.
By adding flu information to its mobile app, The Weather Company and CVS can reach younger audiences who are less likely to watch TV or get flu information from other media sources. CVS may see gains in store traffic by highlighting its free flu shot offer in the app, and upsell customers on other store items including cold remedies.
For IBM, the Flu Insights warnings in The Weather Channel app are another way to showcase more applications for its Watson AI technology. The technology also has been used to help advertisers find the right social influencers for campaigns. As one example, caffeine drink brand 5-Hour Energy and influencer technology firm Influential this year used Watson to identify the most appropriate influencers based on keywords and personality traits.