February 20, 2006
New Advertising Technology Allows Ordering Products Directly from TV Commercial

Dave Meltzer, who single-handedly writes the Wrestling Observer newsletter every week, had an interesting blurb in the 13 February 2006 issue. I waited a few days to post about it so that the Observer would have had plenty of time to circulate, but I haven't read about this anywhere else. According to Dave, World Wrestling Entertainment is preparing to "showcase a new digital prototype technology that may prove to strongly increase business, and when copied, strengthen the value of television advertising greatly."

This new technology will be tested in WWE On Demand content such as WWE 24/7 and special events PPVs. According to Meltzer, "it would allow people watching a TV commercial, whether it be for a PPV, DVD, or other house show, to click to an icon on the screen to make an immediate purchase" and will also give them exclusive footage free for using the technology.

This is exactly the kind of model that maximizes advertising impact and makes advertising cease to feel like an intrusive hindrance to the programming but instead a focused and useful tool brought to the viewer. If done correctly, if used sparingly enough, it could be a milestone in the media industry. It's exactly the kind of thing you can do online, but digital cable provides every opportunity to do the same.

Has anyone else heard of similar technology being implemented on digital cable or satellite or in any other media form? For those of you who follow the advertising industry more closely, how long do you think it would take a trend like this to catch on?

As a wrestling fan, I see this having maximum benefit for wrestling-related merchandise and also for new movie releases. If it would be possible to view a movie trailer and immediately be able to click an options to see local showtimes and buy tickets online through Fandango or a similar service, I think it could be an extremely useful tool. The same goes for selling books, movies, and TV shows on DVD.

Of course, there are plenty of advertisers that this technology wouldn't effect, especially those that provide goods more along the lines of commodities, but those are the types of products that can be utilized in product placement, so the combination of this type of technology with an increase in effective product placement could move advertising toward a model much more reflective of the needs and wants of the consumer, again where everyone could potentially win.