Watching the Super Bowl? Get Your Phone Ready!

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shazam super bowl commercialsLast night, as I had the news, on in the background a statistic caught my attention: nearly half of all Super Bowl watchers watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials! 

How accurate that is is tough to say. I’m always pretty weary of statistics of any kind. I know how easily they can be manipulated.

However, the fact that a significant amount of people tuning into the Super Bowl will be paying attention to the commercials is hard to debate. I pay attention to the game. But I also like to watch the commercials to see what companies can come up with.

Super Bowl TV Ads To Invade Your Phone

Well it seems like a lot of companies have come up with the same thing for this year’s Super Bowl: mobile interactive commercials. Reportedly, about a third of the TV ads that will air during the Super Bowl will be incorporating Shazam.

Shazam started out as a music identification app. I’ve used it quite a bit myself actually, and it is awesome to say the least. All you have to do is pull up the app, tap the screen and Shazam works its magic and identifies the song playing in the background.

Well some creative minds in the TV ad industry decided to take the app one step further and turn into, what is essentially, a QR code for TV commercials.

The idea here is that you can Shazam (used as a verb here) the commercial and the app will identify the ad that is playing. It will then pull up more information directly to your phone, or other mobile device, that you Shazaming with.

It could be a Facebook page, it could be a longer version of the commercial, it could be anything. The point is, the additional content is delivered directly to you.

You Need to be Quick with the Trigger

I’ve seen a few companies already incorporating Shazam into their commercials. But I’ve never actually experienced how the whole process works.

The problem is that there is never a warning of when one of these commercials will come up. And because they are so quick, I never have a chance to grab my phone, launch the app and actually use it.

On top of that, you actually have to notice that little Shazam icon in the corner of the screen first.

Inciting Interaction

This problem will probably not be so prevalent going forward because people will beign to catch on. As this becomes more of a standard practice, people will realize that they should have their phones ready when they are watching TV commercials.

And the Super Bowl, with all of its advertising glory, is a great way to introduce this process into the main stream. Especially with a third of all commercials making this feature available!

I can already picture entire parties full of people, standing in front of the TV, arms extended with phone in hand, “Shazaming” away. Makes for quite a good candid camera moment.

This is really pretty genius.

Commercials are now becoming a part of the entertainment rather than a moment to see what else is on. They are becoming interactive. That moment where you actually have to pull your phone out and do something gets you more invested in the ad than ever before. And on top of that, they are getting more personal and invading your mobile device. And you are inviting them in.

Will It Last?

I’m on the fence.

In the short term I think the idea will definitely pay off just because of the novelty factor. It’s cool. It’s new. You get to interact with your TV like you have never been able to before.

But in the long run, do people really need more ads invading their lives? We are already exposed to so many ads, and to so much information, that a process that asks people to invite more of it into their personal devices may not be sustainable.

Many people download applications that block internet ads when they’re browsing. Are those people going to allow the ads to invade their phones? I think not.

Then again there is probably a segment of the population that will love the idea.

I guess time will tell.

Personally, I will be more than content with letting someone else in the room during the Super Bowl test out how these commercials work. And I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to share what happens.

But that’s just me. What’s your take?

7 Responses to Watching the Super Bowl? Get Your Phone Ready!
  1. Peggy Baron

    Hi Eugene,

    This definitely takes commercials to a whole new level. Thanks for the heads up.

    I admit to being one of the people who hits the bathroom during the Super Bowl game and not during the commercials.

    I’ve used Shazam secretly when my son has been playing his music so that I could know who the artists were and I could act all hip and cool with that information. :D

    Now I’ll be pointing my phone at the tv this Sunday.


    • Eugene

      Shazam is awesome! Especially when you’re walking through a store and hear a song you like. Great stuff!

      that’s funny though…does your son call you out on it?

      • Peggy Baron

        Nope, he never figured it out. I’m smarter than he gives me credit for. ;)

  2. Kris Olin

    I just love Superbow, Eugene!

    And the ads the half time show is always great! Who do they have this year?

    Shazam is also amazing, but is even better is SoundHound; ever tried that one?

    • Eugene

      All of the usual suspects are running ads again. Some have even leaked the ads – I think they’re out there already. I’ve tried SoundHound and love it…but it seems like Shazam is the go-to app for TV advertisers.

  3. Stan Faryna


    I have two questions.

    Is there live mobile streaming for the game?

    Is there live web streaming for the game?

    I’d be grateful for your recommendations and URLs!


    P.S. Email me the answers if you get a chance. Thanks!

    Recently on my blog:
    Castleville and Social Media Cheats

    • Eugene

      I wish I could tell you. I am assuming that there are paid services out there that will be streaming the game.

      As of about a week ago I could tell you of a site that shows every sporting even free and streaming but then Tom Brady said something along the lines of “last year I watching the Super Bowl streaming on an illegal site, and now I’m playing in it…”

      So the Feds took that as a cue to go shut a bunch of those sites down. Now I’m not sure where to watch it streaming.

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