Innovation That Matters

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Shoppable, QR-coded ads hit broadcast TV

Advertising & Marketing

NBCU's new shoppable ad unit lets marketers send viewers to product pages on their mobile devices via a QR code

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NBC Universal (NBCU) is establishing a new shoppable ad unit, called ShoppableTV, that lets marketers send NBC viewers to product pages on their mobile devices. The ads will contain onscreen QR codes. Viewers point their mobile phone cameras at the codes and are redirected to the product pages, where they can buy the item.

In addition to appearing in dedicated ads, ShoppableTV will also be available for in-show integration. For example, QR codes might appear at the bottom of the screen during a talk show, allowing viewers to purchase the furniture used to dress the set. The feature will also be available for ‘custom pod takeovers’. This is where a single brand takes over a a 60- or 90-second ad space (pod) to promote its own shoppable products.

The system will work on iOS devices and some Android phones. NBCU will use cookies placed on users’ browsers to track any purchases that come from ShoppableTV, and NBCU will receive a percentage of sales revenue generated through the ads. During a test run on the Today show, the format received around 50,000 scans in five minutes.

NBCU hopes that the new ad formats will also allow it to reduce its total ad load by around 20 percent, and attract more viewers. It is part of NBCU’s drive to attract a greater variety of advertisers and the company hopes the interactive ads will appeal to both traditional retailers and direct-to-consumer brands who might not have previously advertised on television.



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