Let's Brand The Weather

by , Feb 6, 2014, 8:05 AM
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Sorry, Weather Channel. We are wasting perfectly good Roman mythological names on winter storms when times call for crass commercial exploitation instead.

Hercules? He strangled snakes in his crib when he was a baby. That seems like a cruel and inhumane act, which would make him the Michael Vick of Mount Olympus and bring a jail sentence.

Janus?  You named a winter squall after Chandler Bing’s nasal girlfriend on “Friends?” Oh. My. God. That doesn’t sound so threatening to me, unless, of course, the storm had an obnoxious laugh.

Nika? That was the secret password of a famous Roman riot in 532 AD where the Hippodrome was burned to the ground. Do we really want to associate our winter storms with the Occupy Wall Street activists of Constantinople? I don’t think so.

Frankly, why should The Weather Channel get to pick the names of storms? Throwing a hashtag in front of some lame name from late 6th century BC or a classic ’90s sitcom doesn’t give them ownership in this day and age.

This is 2014, baby, and it’s all about native advertising. You want to designate the storm? Let’s pretend the weather map is BuzzFeed, Mashable or Huffington Post – advertisers should pay for the naming rights of major weather patterns. 

It’s time to initiate what my branding expert friend Steve Yanovsky has dubbed upon hearing my idea “sponsored storms.”

For example, Winter Storm Nika sounds like an eggplant dish at Forlini’s off Canal Street. But collect two million dollars in sponsorship fees, and suddenly it’s Winter Storm Nike, with a nice big swoosh across the weather map and meteorologists warning: “Just snow it!” 

  Or get the National Weather Service sales force to pitch Winter Storm McDonald’s, where the Hamburglar can be the cold front coming down from Canada, accompanied by the slogan “I’m shovelin’ it!”

Each corporate brand buys the naming rights to each major storm, from the time it’s just mere flurry coming in from Lake Erie to when it dumps two feet of snow on Boston. That should be about three to five days of 24/7 brand plugging on every weather report and Twitter feed. Let’s face it, you can’t get that non-stop action putting an ad in the Super Bowl broadcast … and there are no production costs!

The pharmaceutical industry should seize the opportunity to sponsor those famous Arctic low-pressure zones which have put half the country in a deep freeze this winter — polar vortexes. However, they should rename them bipolar vortexes. 

Finally, here’s the big picture: Over the course of a few dozen winters, all that sponsorship money would take this country out of debt. Every blizzard could bring America closer to solvency. National Weather Service — it is your patriotic duty to send out those RFPs to Madison Avenue as soon as possible.

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