During natural disasters, The Weather Channel (TWC) is firing on all cylinders and Hurricane Dorian was no exception. The incorporation of immersive mixed reality (IMR) has become the network’s go to when a big storm is on the way. During Dorian, State Farm partnered with TWC for a native advertising campaign that featured State Farm in an IMR segment on storm preparedness. This IMR integration was the first time TWC has used a brand partner overtly in an IMR segment, although their partnership with State Farm goes back many years.
IMR Technology Is Frequently Used By The Weather Channel
IMR technology is becoming increasingly common on The Weather Channel, with the channel expecting to use IMR in 80% of its programming by 2020. The technology uses advanced graphic renderings and visual effects to recreate storm effects and take viewers inside the storm. As viewers become more digitally savvy, they expect more from their programming, and IMR is one way to appeal to audience desires. The Weather Channel press release said, “TWC is pioneering new methods of broadcast presentation for real-time storytelling.”
How Did The Weather Channel IMR Segment Incorporate State Farm
TWC previously partnered with a Southeastern Conference (SEC) Network analyst during an IMR segment on how throwing a football is impacted by bad weather, and the two networks shared logo space during the bit, but the recent method of integrating State Farm into an IMR segment was a first for the network. A State Farm tote bag is recommended during the storm preparedness segment for storing important documents, like insurance papers, and the State Farm logo pops up throughout the segment as well.
The mix of technology and advertising is a natural fit to reach audiences comfortable with immersive branding and digital activations. Similar to product placement, the edges are becoming blurred when it comes to branding in editorial or creative contexts, with viewers becoming more accustomed to integrated branding, creating opportunities for brands to reach audiences in a mix of markets.
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