Festival Intelligence: Geo-location puts brands on the map | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence: Geo-location puts brands on the map

When you think of geo-location what’s the first thing that springs to mind? Are you thinking of Pokémon Go – the global AR phenomenon that virtually came out of nowhere in 2016? Of course, the ability to target ads based on geographic location had been around for many years before Pokémon Go but, if anything, it marked a watershed moment in its development and really put geo-location capabilities ‘on the map’ for advertisers, says Jenni Baker.

According to the Location Based Marketing Association (LMBA), approximately 75% of marketers believe location-based marketing is important for their business. But in reality, while huge strides have been made in recent years, realising the true potential of location data to solve genuine business problems, arguably, still has some way to go.

“Ever since SOLOMO (Social, Location, Mobile – for those not old enough to remember) was coined as a shorthand expression for the future of digital, I’ve always felt that the potential for location data to drive penetrating insights and relevant, personalised customer experiences, has never been fulfilled on mass,” says Paul Evans, Head of Global Media at Vodafone Group. “Addressable ID’s per se (in a pre-GDPR era at least) have been ubiquitous in enabling programmatic targeting and communications based on “who” and customer journey stage, but the powerful context of location and “where” has seemingly got left behind.”

The benefits of location-based marketing from a retail and F&B point of view are obvious – the ability to drive footfall to physical stores or restaurants, by promoting unique incentives and offers when potential customers are in close proximity. But looking at this year’s Festival of Media Global Awards shortlist, the majority of brands shortlisted for the ‘Best Use of Geo-Location’ category was made up of brands in the automotive & travel (three) and pharmaceutical (two) industry sectors.

From proximity marketing techniques through Google Maps and Waze, across mobile and digital OOH, to a world-first ‘virtually wrapped’ moving London taxi, the award entries suggest that we are moving towards improved sophistication in creating real-time targeting opportunities and contextual relevance, but its ability to solve brands comms problems is still a rare sight.

“Judging the ‘Best Use of Geo-location’ felt a bit like judging AR or VR entries – with entries dramatised through stunt-driven executions, and where brands and agencies are still apparently trying to make an exceptional case for business benefit and outcome,” adds Evans. “However, a rare few examples stood out as genuinely being meaningful in that location data was central to solving commercial and comms problems for brands, and none more so than VIA Rail’s ‘Data vs Car’ campaign by Touché! PHD in Canada*, which exploited the power of location-driven context based on physical car journeys, in order to demonstrate a genuine brand truth that rail travel could get you there faster – it was highly “campaignable” (repeatable), executed in a seamless and integrated way through different media, and very hardworking in impact / results. I’m hoping that next year, we have far more like this.”

(*Data vs Car was awarded the Festival of Media Global Awards 2018 ‘Campaign of the Year’, in addition to three Gold wins for ‘Best Use of Geo-location’, ‘Best Use of Real-time Marketing’ and the ‘Best Use of Data & Insight Award’. Read the full case study here.)

Encouragingly we are seeing an increase in the smart use of data and, combined with contextual relevance, we’ve identified two particular trends:

Weather-based triggers – Geo-location-based weather triggers offer marketers an unprecedented opportunity to send out personalised messages to their target customer in the exact moment they need it most. In particular, the pharma sector has been drawing on external elements such as the weather and pollen count to create contextually relevant campaigns that draw on geo-location data to drive sales.

Geo-location for Smart Cities – As cities around the world continue to make strides in their quest to become ‘Smart’, the use of technology and data has an important role to play in tackling a number of issues ranging from pollution to traffic congestion – and geo-location is proving key to a myriad of projects. We’re seeing more and more brands using geo-location to support these efforts, ranging from safety on the roads to parking spaces, and more.

One of the Festival of Media Global Awards ‘Insight and Technology’ judges, Phil Wade, Chief Marketing Officer Jetstar Group, Qantas Group, said: “I have been hugely inspired by the work not because of the use of technology, data or the tools used, but the massive challenges I see taken on in these entries and the hugely creative responses to them to deliver exceptional business results.”

We put the spotlight on two FOMG Awards 2018 shortlisted entries, which highlight these trends:

The Parking Space Search Feature. Live premiere in Berlin | BMW | Mediaplus | Germany

Shortlisted for: Best Use of Geo-Location (BRONZE WINNER), Best Use of Traditional or Ambient Media


Everyone’s aware of just how time-consuming and frustrating it can be to find a parking space. Parking spaces are in extremely rare especially in larger cities and can only be found through pure luck. BMW has been simplifying the search for parking spaces with the On-Street Parking Information digital service, which uses data to locate empty parking spaces.

This new feature has been and is now being vigorously advertised through the official, wide-reaching campaigns for the new BMW 5 Series, ‘Conquering the digital world’. The idea was to support the classic campaign with a creative highlight. Mediaplus’ approach was to advertise this feature specifically where it offers the most benefit: namely in the traffic and parking space chaos of the city centre.

The challenge was to develop the technology to make it feasible. That’s because, rather than working with a screenshot of the feature, it wanted to incorporate live images that would convey the actual current parking space situation in the area. And it wanted to display this unique content LIVE on a digital billboard in the city centre, allowing all drivers the opportunity to benefit from this special feature that’s otherwise only available to drivers of the BMW 5 Series (G30/31).

Read the full case study here.

Reactine Pollen Alert | Reactine | UM | Canada

Shortlisted for: Best Use of Geo-Location


Allergies can differ depending on location, and since Canada is such a large country, this was essential to keep in mind. For instance, the pollen may be low in Vancouver but in Toronto it may be extremely high. Additionally, historical pollen data has shown that at the exact same time, even regions 30km apart can vary significantly in pollen levels. To remain relevant with consumers, geo-targeting plays a very important role in the allergy category.

The data insights allowed UM to take a precision-driven vs. a broad reach approach to connect with its audience in the most receptive moments, driving tremendous ROI. To stay relevant when allergies were at their peak, the strategy was to customise messaging by city through geo-location targeting to keep sufferers informed of pollen-levels, in real-time.

To stay relevant when allergies were at their peak, the agency collected data through Aerobiology Research Laboratories to drive the strategy. Then it created 6-second videos through a custom YouTube execution that dynamically delivered tailored pollen forecasts to targeted cities, based on the Aerobiology data that was gathered. YouTube engineers created a matrix on the back-end that was updated daily with Aerobiology data which ensured the right creative and pollen information would be served to the right city daily.

Read the full case study here.

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