New Marketing Option Can Combine iTV and Mobile

Large advertisers remain thirsty for ways to capitalize on both the promise of interactive TV and mobile platforms. An opportunity to combine the two might make for an enticing mix.

Pepsi thinks so.

One driver is the trend of young consumers - and older ones, too - who are unable to put down a handheld device while watching TV.

(The most skilled are able to hold a remote control in one hand and an iPhone in the other -- ambidextrously maneuvering thumbs on each simultaneously.)

Within the interactive TV arena, so-called "request for information" or RFI ads continue to hold promise. Watch an ad, use the remote control to click on an embedded banner, and have a coupon or product sample sent to the home.

Then, there's mobile marketing, which offers so many options that advertisers can use a separate department to sort through them and are still feeling their way -- probably always will be.

Enter technology from IntoNow, which since January has focused mostly on facilitating social-media interaction, while watching a program. Using Apple devices - iPhone, iTouch, iPad - a viewer has been able to use an app, where while pointing at the TV screen, details about what's being watched are zipped onto a Facebook page or Twitter feed.

It's rather granular. One can alert humankind that he or she is not just watching "Dexter," but "Dexter" season two, episode six. The IntoNow system can identify episodes from five years' worth of programming on 130 networks.

Rather intuitively, the functionality leaves ample opportunities for marketers, which work virtually the same as the RFI options with iTV. There is a major difference, however, with no pricey snail mail required.

Pepsi is the initial advertiser to take advantage of the IntoNow system. In its campaign, a person can point at a Major League Baseball-themed spot and have a digital coupon -- n the form of a bard code -- beamed to their Apple device. The viewer can then show the code at a store, where a scan brings a free bottle of Pepsi Max.

Pepsi is offering the opportunity to 50,000 people, with redemption opportunities at Target and CVS at first. It is partly being promoted with cards handed out at baseball games.

The IntoNow opportunity offers advertisers valuable performance metrics. If only 25,000 go for the free Pepsi, there's critical insight to be gleaned, stretching from how well a gambit was promoted to whether consumers prefer to watch TV via DVRs. Or will even seek out a commercial on YouTube.

Besides a bar-code coupon, the system opens up the chance for a marketer to send users more information about a product, or a link to a video about a spiffy car - both aspects of the RFI, iTV movement. Shazam, a company that allows songs to be identified with a mobile device, offers a similar advertising opportunity that could function as an iTV-replacement option and run a campaign with Old Navy.

IntoNow offers what would seem to be another advantage. While teeing up an iTV campaign can take some time, the company says it can launch one in a matter of days.

Tags: television, tv
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