Whatâs so bad about mood marketing? | DMA

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Whatâs so bad about mood marketing?


Of course, when we are down, we don’t fancy seeing beautiful people strutting about selling something or other that we don’t actually want. In fact, it’s creepy. Facebook Australia hit a raw nerve recently when it conducted research into the moods of vulnerable youth. The company has since apologised and stated that the data was never intended to be used for advertising purposes. Even so, it’s a little too close for comfort and no one wants to unwittingly become a guinea pig.

But what if brands can capture your online behaviour in an anonymised fashion, couple it with the personal data you have knowingly handed over, to provide you with a seamless consumer experience, serving you ads you are actually interested in at the appropriate times of the day or year? Now that would not be creepy at all.

Research shows that young people are more stressed between 3-4pm in the afternoon so probably not the best time to send an ad their way. Whereas mums, have highest attention levels around 10am, lunchtime and after 7.30pm each night - three points in the day when they are most likely to feel positive and relaxed. Similarly, we know that New Years put people in a forward thinking mood, so gym memberships go up; the January blues instigates travel bookings and birthdays license indulgence. All useful info for marketers who want to engage consumers effectively at a welcome time.

The point is that there is much more to consumers than a collection of relatively static features like gender, age group and income dictating their buying habits. They shop by mood too and mood marketing offers brands the opportunity to address multiple facets of a single person on several different occasions.

Moods can range from a summery mood, so best to advertise chilled drinks, barbeques and swimming trunks to the mood for a party, the mood for an adventurous weekend away or the mood for cooking, the options seem limitless. This makes for a much more creative way of advertising. Equally, the customer gets a much more intuitive shopping experience.

Too good to be true? Well, of course there is a catch. Mood marketing tools are only as good as the data they capture. If the data is not strong enough, customers will be served the wrong ad and that can be seriously off putting. Nobody wants personalisation that isn’t actually personalised to them!

Equally, people don’t want Big Brother type advertising. If the ad is too personalised, it’s unsettling. Last year Admiral insurance planned to launch an offering of discounted car insurance premiums to first time drivers based on an algorithmic assessment of their Facebook posts. I’m not entirely sure what this entailed but perhaps if you posted a pic of yourself partying in a penguin suit, then maybe that would imply that you are not a responsible individual and therefore did not deserve the discount – who knows! One can only guess, but it is disturbing and Facebook was quick to shut this down claiming it was against the company’s policy.

And, although brands like Apple, Ebay and Snickers have been doing mood marketing for some time now, it’s not an exact science and still begs the question how successful brands can be when targeting a fluctuating concept like a mood and how this can generate an obvious ROI, but hey if we were afraid of every new marketing concept out there, then we’d never achieve anything and would be stuck in a perpetual series of Mad Men.

So if you ask me? I say what’s wrong with mood marketing? Once you fine tune it, tone down the creepy and ramp up the relevant, then both consumers and brands could get exactly what they want, when they want it.

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