The Weather Channel’s TV, radio, and print ads do not name its competition, but show visuals making it clear their target is AccuWeather.
The ads – running in 13 markets, including Boston, Washington, D.C., Norfolk, and Dallas – focus on the disparity in the coverage of the tornadoes that struck Oklahoma March 25 between the networks. From the full page advertisement that ran in today’s Washington Post:
On the evening of March 25…The first tornadoes of the season touched down.The Weather Channel was there and ready.The other channel…not so much.When severe weather hits, there is nothing more critical than alerts and expertise. Providing real information. Live, in real time.Where you get your weather matters.
Both a television ad and radio spot produced by The Weather Channel mock AccuWeather’s non-coverage as tornadoes ripped through the Sooner state: “When the sirens went off, The Weather Channel was there and ready. The other channel? They were showing an adorable baby hippo.”
AccuWeather’s CEO, Barry Myers, counters the ad campaign is “misleading” since its network is not even broadcast in Oklahoma. “Of course we didn’t go wall-to-wall and cover Oklahoma, because we’re not on the air there,” Myers said.
(Verizon FiOS, which carries AccuWeather’s television network, is only available in select markets along the East Coast, in Texas, and parts of California.)
The AccuWeather Channel, Myers said, targets local markets with their local weather. “The fact that [The Weather Channel] was covering the tornado all the time in Moore, doesn’t matter to people in Boston,” he said.
Myers distinguished his company’s network, which airs only straight weather coverage – from the multiple reality shows broadcast on The Weather Channel. “In 168 hours of week, the amount of programming they have devoted to real weather is really small,” Myers said. “People need to judge what that means.”
“People need to ask themselves what The Weather Channel is so afraid of,” Myers added. “They’ve had a virtual monopoly for 30-some years. They almost lost with DirecTV , and they have lost with Verizon. Competition is good, and it offers people choice and strengthens products.”