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IBM Watson Advertising and CVS


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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza caused more than 20 million hospitalizations in 2018.

In addition, findings from a study by Morning Consult and The Weather Company, an IBM Business show that while 83% of people say avoiding the flu is important, 37% don't get a flu shot. These surprising results suggest that while avoiding the flu is paramount for consumers, taking action to prevent contracting the virus is less likely.

With millions of Americans at risk of contracting the flu, CVS was looking to reach and engage consumers in high-risk flu areas to drive flu shot vaccinations and help people on their path to better health.


CVS sponsored a new feature on The Weather Channel app called Flu Insights with Watson. The tool leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to arm consumers across the United States with critical information to help them prepare for flu season.

By leveraging machine learning to process and analyze massive amounts of data, CVS leveraged the Flu Insights with Watson tool to get their message in the right place at the right time and deliver on the CVS brand purpose of helping people on their path to better health.


To reach and engage users in a contextually-relevant environment during the height of flu season, CVS sponsored the Flu Insights with Watson tool on The Weather Channel app. Through the use of IBM’s predictive illness data, CVS drove awareness of flu risk - ahead of the CDC-reported flu activity - and educated on their expertise in flu prevention and care. The scale of The Weather Channel app (400 million monthly average users) was critical in reaching this massive audience.


The Flu Insights with Watson tool in partnership with CVS was announced in November 2019 and ran through March 2020. The feature lives within The Weather Channel app and leverages AI and machine learning to accurately predict flu risk at a hyper-local level and serve alerts to consumers during increased flu risk conditions.

Watson AI powered an interactive map and adjacent content to provide a seamless, CVS-branded user experience. Users on The Weather Channel app have access to an industry-first 15-day flu forecast that displays the risk ranging from low to high, according to ZIP code. The sponsorship included a Flu Details Page that served as a hub for flu-related tips and content, localized flu insights, and contextual alerts that prompted user action. The experience also includes illness prevention tips, the latest flu reports from the CDC to provide users with actionable insights and flu vaccination information.


Flu Insights with Watson enabled CVS to deliver on their goal of meeting people where they are, whether that’s in the community at one of their nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand.

With their Flu Insights with Watson sponsorship on The Weather Channel app, CVS reached millions of consumers in critical planning moments and saw great results, including:

Over 42M unique visitors

644M total ad impressions served

An increase of 120% vs. CVS’s benchmark CTR for dynamic creative ad units

Exceptional engagement for CVS-provided Flu Prevention Tips, with “Find Your Local CVS” messaging converting over 77% of module clicks

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