RUSSIA IS A HOT BED FOR COLDS AND FLU
Russia can be cold – fantastically cold, below –50C at times. And then it can be wet, cold and grey for months.
It’s the perfect place for flu and colds to thrive. Each winter the flu and cold season can last for up to seven months (September to April).
Fortunately, help is at hand. Theraflu is Russia’s biggest anti-flu medicine, with a 30% market share and 100% awareness.
Rivals, however, wanted Theraflu to catch a cold. Brands like Kagocel were rewriting category rules by claiming to work for longer. Previously loyal Theraflu users were being tempted.
Theraflu wanted to retain its leadership position. To do that, we realized that we had to do the unthinkable: predict when colds and flu where coming to their town or city.
This is massively complex. Russia is a big country. Each virus travels through the country in different ways and its arrival in any given city or region is hard to predict.
Experience also told us that our messages were more effective if we could reach consumers as or just before the epidemic arrived. That way not only would be top of mind – in an increasingly cluttered messaging environment – but we could also persuade consumers to stock up.
Our business targets and our consumer needs coincided – we had to predict how flu and colds would travel through Russia.
Our objective was to increase sales.
POWERED BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, WE USED DATA TO TELL RUSSIANS THEY NEED TO BUY THERAFLU
We created a flu prediction map of previously unimaginable accuracy. Our first manual model was 85% accurate and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning based on historical data boosted this to 93-95% over any 10-day period.
This data was then applied both as content and to use for targeting across digital, TV and out of home.
In digital, customised ads were launched only in regions where the flu index was high or increasing, boosting efficiency as we only paid to reach cold and flu sufferers in their most receptive moments.
Creatives were customised so messages were based on location so that consumers in each city saw bespoke forecasts on Russia’s biggest digital portals (mail.ru, yandex.ru), and via mobile wi-fi home screens at airports and stations. Similar messages were also targeted as special widgets in popular weather services such as Weather.Mail.ru and WeatherRambler.
On TV we partnered with TNT, one of Russia’s largest entertainment channels and a must-view for Theraflu’s target audience. Hosts flagged up our Flu Index data in key cities and our data also appeared on screen.
Finally, Digital OOH in Moscow displayed our Flu Index in real time and guided people to get more information about their city online.