“Game, Set… Mix and Match”

Viewers of the French Open were served up something slightly different earlier this month. Those watching NBC’s coverage were encouraged to point their smartphone at the TV and purchase Novak Djokovic’s outfit directly via a pop-up QR code.

This approach sheds light on how marketers might take advantage of ‘double screeners’ moving forward: those of us who will passively sit and watch TV, whilst still scrolling through social media on our phones. Considering the average person checks their phone 47 times per day, a large number of us fall into this category – whether we admit it or not.

A constant challenge for TV advertisers has been motivating viewers to perform any action at all. Whilst Display ads online serve up content and checkouts with a single ad click, it takes a lot more effort for TV viewers to engage with an ad and then manually search for the specific promotion or product. Brand awareness might increase with these campaigns, but spontaneous purchases are far less likely.

Tracking the effectiveness of a TV commercial can also be difficult. Whilst the overall website traffic might spike around the time of the advert broadcast (a great indicator of audience cut through), the TVC or TV sponsorship content can’t always be given credit for the individual purchases. Until now.

NBCU’s approach helps to bridge this vital gap. QR codes can be tracked, user journeys can be analysed, and profits can be attributed to individual channels – all of which make for a far more valuable campaign report – and far more informed future campaigns.

For creative advertisers and innovative programme sponsors, it opens up a whole new way to market products. Watching the AFL Final live from the MCG? How about a Sherrin Footy code to commemorate the game?  Listening to a track during the final of MasterChef? Get that Spotify QR code up on screen and attract a wave of new listeners.

NBCUniversal’s innovation efforts already seem to be paying off. A Shoppable TV test on the Today Show encouraged over 50,000 QR code scans – with the broadcaster taking a pre-arranged cut of each sale.

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