Back in February, I wrote about news from wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer that the WWE was planning to "showcase a new digital prototype technology that may prove to strongly increase business, and when copied, strengthen the value of television advertising greatly." The idea was to release a system that "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 that would also give them exclusive footage free for using the technology." This was being considered for testing on WWE On Demand content.
However, I haven't heard anything more about it for several months. Nevertheless, a new experiment from Reebok and the Dish Network attempts to test the popularity of a similar theories, in which viewers will have a chance to directly buy apparel using the remote control.
These interactive commercials offer the chance to buy jerseys and such merchandise both before and then during ESPN's airing of Monday Night Surround. While, right now, viewers can play trivia games and view ancillary content during the game with their remote, including videos profiling players, the ultimate plan is to allow for the entering of credit card information with their remote to make purchases while watching an event.
According to their press release, this is the first time that a satellite provider and marketer have worked together to make goods directly available from commercials.
One definite benefit is that it provides a direct measurement as to whether the advertisement leads to a sale, although there is still the option of people seeing the ad and, while not participating in the interactive option, still go out and buy the product in a store later on.
It does prove, however, that there are plenty of companies willing to look at something that goes beyond the traditional 30-second spot, and this interactive advertising option provides yet another option for advertisers and television networks to move beyond the lie that the network tells itself, the validity of purely quantitative sample measurements.