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Vicks Uses Innovative Mobile Targeting To Reach Flu Sufferers

googleflutop.jpgWinter is the flu season around the world, and many companies launch special advertising campaigns at this time of year for flu related products.

When Vicks – a leading provider of cold & flu medicine – rolled out a mobile marketing campaign for their Behind Ear Thermometer they wanted to target only consumers in locations where the flu was common.

Sound impossible? Read how a special free service from Google helped them accomplish this objective!

Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide was the agency tasked with media buying for the the campaign. Unsurprisingly they found that very few of the targeting capabilities offered by mobile ad networks were adapted to the marketing of a flu detection product such as a thermometer.

So they turned to Google Flu Trends, a free product offered by Google (

Flu Trends works by correlating flu related search terms that Google sees in order to estimate regional flu activity. This information can then be used to target advertising to areas that are being effected by the flu. Another advantage of Google’s solution is that outbreaks can be spotted within 24 hours of them taking place.


This up to date data of flu outbreaks allows Blue Chip to target mothers who are browsing popular apps in regions that are experiencing high levels of flu. The campaign also targeted mothers within a two-mile radius of retailers who are stocking the new thermometer.

“It understands how this mom lives and shops, and she receives the message in the most relevant manner,” said Stanton Kawer, chief executive of Blue Chip, about the campaign “It is so fantastically targeted that it’s really amazing”.

Mothers who saw the ad where greeted with a message telling them that “Flu levels in your area are high” and to “be prepared with Vicks revolutionary Behind Ear Thermometer”.

By tapping on the ad, mothers where shown their nearest store that sold the thermometer and brought to a mobile site that included an information video.


This is a very clever use of the free data that Google provides, which when combined with the targeting campaign of mobile makes for a highly relevant and local proposition.

In addition to the mobile campaign, the campaign for the new thermometer includes an online, print and TV element.

You can learn more about Google Flu trends by clicking Here.

04.01.2012    Tags: , , ,
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