The future of social TV is consistently being discussed, as we await the solution that will finally turn TV viewing into a truly social experience. And while major companies are investing in this, such as Google TV, the social TV experience is currently fairly limited in reach. But this hasn't stopped brands from investing in social TV campaigns, that make the most of the way we currently watch TV. i.e. with a phone or a laptop in hand. While we wait to see if social TV will ever actually expand beyond this, check out what's being done right now to create a compelling brand experience through social TV.
Check into TV ads
This isn't exactly a brand campaign, but it is a great example of a social TV application that is open to brands to use. Viggle works on the concept of offering coupons or other rewards, in return for checking into a TV ad, via a mobile app. It works on audio recognition technology, allowing users to check into TV shows and ads to gain points from various advertisers, as well as the option to use your points to donate to charity. The app has only recently launched on 26 January so it's very early days, but it's easy to see how a concept like this could take of, as it makes the most of the fact that we nearly all have our phone in our hands while watching TV anyway. It incentivises the user to go just a little bit further in order to receive a reward for what they're already doing.
Reed : You Decide
A slightly different example of a social TV campaign here, as it starts online before moving onto the TV. In January, Reed (a recruitment company in the UK) ran a campaign that allowed users to decide the winner of a competition, which would be the final TV ad broadcast. The website featured 6 shortlisted ads, before the final winner was chosen and broadcast.
Coke Polar Bowl
In perhaps one of the most high profile examples of a social TV campaign, Coke are taking advantage of their ad slot during the Super Bowl next weekend, to drive users to a website that offered a live, interactive experience. The ad will start by showing the Coke polar bears, followed by a call to action to visit cokepolarbowl.com where you can interact with the bears in real time. As well as animations showing their reaction to the game, they will also be responding to messages sent on Facebook and Twitter, with the option to ask the bears questions. This is going to be one of the biggest tests for social TV, with a huge audience tuning in live, proving just how much interest there is in an interactive TV experience.
Old Navy & Shazam
Using the audio technology within Shazam, Old Navy was one of the first brands to create a TV campaign with the app. The campaign was a coupon-based initiative that extended the TV ad. The ad contained a call to action to 'tag' it via Shazam, which would then unlock additional content based on the ad. As well as being able to download the song featured in the ad, they could also buy the outfits from that particular ad, or view longer videos.
In February 2011, Honda launched one of the most innovative social TV ads we'd ever seen. The ad, titled 'This Unpredictable Life' encouraged users to 'catch' various pieces of content from the TV ad, by swiping their iPhone once the app had been installed. The content included the different characters from the ad that you could catch, encouraging you to pay way more attention to a TV ad than you probably had ever done before. The ad experience was extended via mobile once you had caught the characters, with various actions including singing to the characters through your mobile phone to make them dance.
Have you seen any other great examples of social TV ads? Share them with us here!