LONDON: Advertisers have yet to fully exploit the potential of weather as a means of targeting consumers and tapping into their emotional states, according to leading industry figures.

"Weather data is extremely powerful and it's even more powerful when it's analysed with your own data," Tom Jenen, Google's head of marketplace engagement, told a recent London event, Weather for Breakfast, reported by The Drum.

"The challenge is to make the effort, you have to pull your data and get to know the customers and then match that up against the weather," he said.

Anthony Mullen, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, offered a European instance from French fashion retailer La Redoute, which had used out-of-home signage linked to barometric gauges and temperature sensors to enable billboards to change depending on the prevailing weather.

"You have to improvise within an environment," he said. "You can plan for certain conditions to take place but ultimately you have to be sympathetic and resonant with what's going on in the moment".

He added that this particular La Redoute campaign had resulted in a 34% increase in traffic and a 17% lift in sales. "That's down to effective messaging at the right time driven by the weather," he observed.

The strategy may appeal to UK marketers, given the country's notoriously changeable weather that makes it the subject of daily conversation. When potato products company McCain found a correlation between purchases of its Wedges and items bought for barbeques, it created 'sunshine-activated' executions across several media that were only initiated when the weekend weather forecast looked good and which resulted in an ROI of 2.85:1.

Mullen also expected that data protection legislation would help drive use of weather data, suggesting that consumers were more comfortable sharing climatic information than personal details.

Terry Makewell, Head of Digital & Global Media at the Met Office, noted that the forecaster's mobile app had been downloaded over 9m times and was now on 54% of all UK iPhones. "By using hyper-location combined with weather triggers across mobile and web we can target contextually relevant adverts to consumers", he said, predicting that "2014 is going to be the year for weather advertising".

Data sourced from The Drum, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff