Now you can “check-in” watching a TV spot

by Tony Fannin, President, BE Branded 

Pepsi is launching another TV campaign. So what, you say? The “wow” factor in this is, for a lack of a better term, is “check-in TV”. It will allow viewers to “check in” to the TV spot. Here’s an overview. Consumers download the iPhone check-in app IntoNow and hit it while the commercial plays on TV. Audio-fingerprinting technology then recognizes the ad and a coupon gets downloaded to your phone for a free 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi Max. The offer is good for up to 50,000 free Pepsi’s. IntoNow’s fingerprinting technology knows not only what consumers are watching, but also if they’re watching it live or delayed on a DVR or some other kind of recording device, key information for advertisers. It will even work on the YouTube clip of the ad.

The main breakthrough is now brands can measure who is watching the ads and, in turn, be rewarded for paying attention. The original such combination of traditional TV spots and new media is Old Navy. The first 1,000 viewers who tagged the Old Navy song while the spot was being aired, got a free pair of jeans. The music video spent several weeks near the top of Ad Age’s viral video chart. This is only the beginning of brands being able to truly integrate all of their marketing efforts into a seamless experience. For those who believe that a brand should only use new media for their marketing efforts are going to miss out on being able to reach and offer brand experiences that extend past just a single tactic or arena.

One reason why traditional TV spots aren’t going away anytime soon is Americans are buying more TVs than ever before. They aren’t “cutting the cord” and solely watching shows on their laptop or mobile device, as some have predicted. In a report by Ipsos Observer, a counter trend is seen. Instead of dropping TV, a great number people are adding premium services to their cable. 5.5% have canceled services outright while over 24% have subscribed to a new cable service. This is not to say that many Americans aren’t also turing to other devices to watch TV, but it’s still the same premium service. About half of respondents said they watch free TV programs on a device other than their TV, such as a computer, iPad or mobile device. Some 43% said they watch TV shows via a premium service such as Netflix streaming, Hulu Plus, or paid iTunes downloads.

They are receptive to advertising on these platforms, but more so if the content is free. Only one in six said they were unwilling to watch any ads on a free service. Nearly 60% said they would watch more than one. One in five said they would watch as many as would normally appear if the show were on broadcast or cable TV.

At our agency, we’ve preached that integration of your marketing is more effective than just sticking to one or the other (new media v. traditional advertising, for example). It’s all about being where your customers are, not where the hot new, social media “flavor of the week” is. By creating a seamless experience, a brand can increase the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. The sum is greater than any single part.

So watch TV, check in, and get free stuff. Who knows what’s next.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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