TV spots add the power of digital couponing

May 03, 2011

A new app allows viewers to download coupons as they watch television show

Yes, there are apps for just about everything, and the idea of a coupon app is nothing new. The intoNow app combines the power of a television commercial with the power of a digital coupon. 

IntoNow is basically a social networking tool that allows people to see what television shows their friends (or everybody) is watching in real time. The way it works is by hearing the sound of the program and in seconds a display screen appears identifying the program and then shows you who else is watching and offers you the opportunity to comment on the program. It also can connect to your existing friends through your Facebook, Twitter or email accounts; and naturally allows you to make new friends who are watching the same program or not. Currently there are over 600,000 downloads of the app.

Multitasking while watching TV is commonplace, but this new feature actually rewards viewers for watching commercials. Pepsi Max is the first brand to offer a free 20 ounce bottle of the soda for just pressing the TV screen on the app; as the phone hears the commercial it downloads the digital coupon to the device. In testing the app, we found that the phone had to be within six feet of the television when the volume was set at a normal level for the app to be able to listen and identify the program or commercials.

Combining social networking with couponing is a very smart idea. Not only will it empower viewers with similar likes recommending the download of the coupon, but it also creates a more attentive TV commercial watcher, albeit seeking their just reward. It is too early to measure the redemption of this Pepsi Max test, however no one can doubt this evolution of the coupon may well be just what television programs need to keep people watching their sponsors commercials. 

The next evolution, as we see it here at The Lempert Report, is to use this technology throughout the program itself. The ultimate in product placement if you will: an episode of 30 Rock includes a dinner scene where Liz Lemon and Jack are testing the idea of being more than just friends. He has preordered a sumptuous French dinner to impress her. All you'll have to do is press a button on your app to download the ingredients, the recipe, brand name coupons and even be able to instantly order the same meal either for delivery as a prepared meal or ingredients to make yourself.

Could well be the end of the cooking show as we know it.