The Weather Underground
Once fodder for idle chitchat, weather is now an evolving digital pastime
Tech / 4 Nov 2010
Consumers’ ability to document weather in the name of citizen journalism has heightened the public perception of Mother Nature’s capabilities. (Handheld video camera footage of the past decade’s multiple natural disasters serves as a reminder that any one of us could be next.) Recognizing people’s obsession with weather, media and entertainment properties ranging from brands to bands are using it to engage audiences.
Interactive Storm Installation:
New Yorkers were fascinated recently by the golf ball-sized hail and tornadoes that descended upon the city, so the timing of Discovery Channel’s "Urban Tornado Experience" could not have been better. Passersby of the outdoor installation (a promotion for Stormchasers) were greeted with a projection of an active storm on the side of a building, followed by images of themselves appearing within the storm clouds. As soon as perplexed onlookers snapped a cellphone photo of the spectacle, a call-to-action prompting them to text a number and receive a link to the photo on Facebook appeared, thereby extending the real world experience into the online realm and giving people something to really talk about...other than the weather, for once.
Location-Aware Music Video:
From B.J. Thomas to Guns N’ Roses, musicians have long mused about the weather in song. Now, one artist has gone so far as to give viewers a local weather report in a video. For her single “Cuckoo,” Lissie created an interactive video with a background that changes depending on the viewer’s whereabouts. Fans simply click on a location on a map of the world, and the weather in that area, be it grey, windy, sunny or cloudy, is reflected in the video. Weather conditions even change in real time, ensuring that even flash flooding will make the cut. Of course, she might have made the video even more compelling if she’d hired Arthur the Weatherman to read the forecast.
Niche Digital Weather Reports:
A recent NPR story discussed people’s growing obsession with extreme weather. Catering to this public passion for meteorology, new weather websites and apps are emerging to help consumers deal with the troubling issue of “what ever happened to the four seasons?” For example, those planning vacations or weddings can click on WeatherTrends360, which promises accurate weather forecasts one year in advance (even if some tend to view such long term predictions with skepticism). The Real Weather Girls iPhone app features videos of 12 Maxim type women delivering daily weather reports from global locations. More reality show than news program, the girls also share their unique “specialties” throughout the day. (Get your mind out of the gutter – their specialties include barista artistry, surfing and acting.)
©The Intelligence Group