Shazam is The Future of TV Advertising

by Rishi Shah on April 18, 2011

Shazam LogoI never saw this coming. Shazam has completely transformed the TV Advertising experience. Big brands have already started embracing it. All you need to do is whip out your phone and Shazam the tune playing during the ad and it will direct you to a mobile site where you can directly buy the product.

Tide and Old Navy have been playing ads with Shazam nationally. Here is the Old Navy ad.

Screen Shot of Old Navy Ad displaying the Shazam Icon on YouTube

The Old Navy ad is very cool. You can buy the exact outfit the person is wearing on click of the “Shop The Look” button after you Shazam the song playing in the commercial.

Shazam and OldNavy Iphone Screen Shot

Shazam has done something awesome for TV ads. Increase conversions! No longer do you have to direct the viewer to a website address. What are the chances that someone will whip out their phone and actually type in the web URL? Very low… I don’t think I have ever done it. Conversions from TV Ad -> product view -> purchase is going to be on the up and up!

Another major benefit is we can now have a better understanding of how well TV Advertisements perform.

Way to go Shazam! Brilliant name, brilliant technology, and now brilliant application to TV advertising.

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Steven April 18, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Shazam > QR Codes

Rishi April 18, 2011 at 3:27 PM

haha totally agree when it comes to TV ads. You really can’t shazam billboards or magazine ads though.

Amit Bakshi April 19, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Awesome article. I had seen the Shazam symbol on ads but didn’t realize what it was until reading this. I guess it’s serving the same purpose of Google’s QR codes!

Rishi April 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Totally! Although, I’m not a fan of QR codes. It takes forever for me to actually get it to scan.

JAW April 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM

I love it! Brilliant!!

Rishi April 19, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Thanks JAW!

Manisha April 19, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Nice post!! There was a Gray’s Anatomy episode a while back where ABC teamed up with Nielsen to create an ipad app that you launched during the episode. It gave you extra content like quizzes, behind the scenes footage, etc.

What Shazam is doing for ads is even better because while I’m watching a TV show, extra content could be cool but I don’t want to be distracted. But during commercials, I have nothing better to do. So being able to view more details about a product or even purchase would be awesome. Opens up a huge opportunity for brands and retailers.

rishi April 19, 2011 at 4:54 PM

Manisha – I never even thought of that. You can Shazam! TV Shows/Movies/Concerts… really anything with audio to get behind the scene videos or places to buy the DVD or CD or bonus features.

Concerts can easily sell more apparel. They can be like Shazam any of my songs and pre order my latest CD right from your phone. The buying process is also super smooth since iTunes already has your credit card info handy.

Ish April 20, 2011 at 6:51 PM

They should install a shazam chip in your brain so all you have to do is touch your temple and boom!!!!!

Rishi Shah April 20, 2011 at 6:53 PM


“Boom!” as in your brain would explode?

Ish copycat February 8, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Of course not silly. Ish meant boom as in implode.

Jenni April 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Crazy, I had no idea!

Robert April 19, 2011 at 6:48 PM

a good point about not having to type in the url.

Rishi Shah April 20, 2011 at 6:41 PM

yeah. Just like how we don’t remember phone numbers anymore. We won’t remember web urls in the future.

Ish April 19, 2011 at 11:29 PM

Check out IntoNow. It takes this idea one step further by being able to identify the exact show (and point in the show you are watching). With this technology if you are watching Mad Men and like Don Draper’s suit you can use IntoNow to find out more about that suit while watching the episode.

rishi April 20, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Ish – I didn’t know about IntoNow. Looks pretty cool. Does IntoNow work directly with Mad Men or is this automated some how and works for all TV shows?

Ish April 20, 2011 at 5:40 PM

It works for all TV shows. They literally are cataloging the audio for all TV content past, present, and future. Pretty amazing stuff. I actually think Shazam should just buy intonow and integrate it all into the shazam app.

Rishi Shah April 20, 2011 at 5:46 PM

wow dude. That is pretty amazing.

Now I can finally figure out where to Zach Morris buys his clothes.

Ish May 5, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Looks like IntoNow just got snagged by Yahoo!

Eric April 20, 2011 at 1:10 PM

Eh. Maybe a fad. I’m waiting for a type of video shazam/barcode you zap to take you right to info sites. I doubt it will stay audio centric. Who knows.

Rishi Shah April 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

It is pretty stream lined. Did you try it? Shazam it and a pop up to buy the outfit shows up.

Eric April 20, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Nope, haven’t tried it. I just think that something like Google Goggles is quickly going to trump shazam. We’ll see.

Rishi Shah April 20, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Google Goggles is cool:

Shazam makes it fun though.

Ish April 20, 2011 at 5:39 PM

I think Shazam works better than google goggles for this specific use case mainly because audio is a stream that you can detect. Also its much easier to use Shazam than snap a photo.

Rishi Shah April 20, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I agree. Snapping a photo requires way more effort.

Ankit May 4, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Any Shazam ad-related applications for radio?

Rishi Shah May 4, 2011 at 11:08 PM

Not that I know of but they can and should do this.

Andrew Chang April 20, 2011 at 6:23 PM

i don’t think its passive enough to go mainstream

Rishi Shah April 20, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Lets see what happens. Old Navy and Tide are using it on nationwide TV Ads already. So I guess we will find out soon if it will go super mainstream.

Ish April 20, 2011 at 6:36 PM

I think its a powerful tool to augment custom jingles and songs, as well as re-purposed music that people use in ads. If you get enough people to shazam a song that they like and offer a free download to the song there is a clear value add.

I bet this behavior happens already and is already mainstream. I know people that shazam songs all the time from tv. The brands are smart to encode it directly with shazam as it helps them track it and make a nice tag-along branding.

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