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One more method in the ever increasing web of links all around us.

TV advertisements are using music and mobile app Shazam to create links from the ads to the products they are selling. What else can audio tagging do for us?

For a while now, Old Navy has teamed up with Shazam to provide what is essentially the audio version of QR codes to consumers watching the ad. Here’s a quick example.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD_9JFM67Bo&feature=related[/youtube]

It’s essentially another opportunity to make a sale. I’m assuming here that the point is to minimize the amount of time between see, want and buy. It’s also interesting because it’s specifically designed to hit the growing segment of consumers who watch the TV with smartphone or tablet in hand. Otherwise it would be pretty difficult to pull out the device, activate the app and buy Old Navy jeans.

What caught my attention more recently was the use of the same type of audio tagging with a Progressive insurance ad. It made me think, if you can use audio as a hyperlink with plain dialog, you can pretty much do it with anything.

As you may remember, I’ve been thinking about the potential of audio to enhance content. Specific audio can trigger memories, feelings or emotions because of what we associate with them. However, creators will be more targeted with our use of audio when we can use it to direct part of a transmedia experience. We’re now looking at the ability to link musical cues.

Shazam

Image by yto via Flickr

So far the audio hyperlink experience has not been very creative. Shazam is using it to make faster sales. Then there is IntoNow, who have recently been in the news for using audio to connect TV viewers watching the same show. There are better ways we can use this technology.

As we build our panoply of devices we’re also building unique experiences for our tablets, phones and computers; hopefully ones that take advantage of the strengths of those devices. QR bar codes have been the most common link from one screen to another, but they are ugly and require a too long to lock. As a result they are completely useless on a moving medium like TV.

If we use audio tagging we can:

  • Hide audio clues in a TV show or advertisement.
  • Promote unique content through music.
  • Use music as a gateway to a regularly updating site.
  • Build audio into ARGs.
  • Ask people to mix and match audio clips to discover a link.

That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. In 1889, the Washington Post commissioned John Philip Sousa to compose The Washington Post March. Then, it was just some really unique branding. If they did it now, it could be an audio link into their web content and a way to stick their brand in people’s brains as efficiently as the latest Lady Gaga single.

The one downside? Both Shazam and IntoNow seem closed off. How do you add to their directory of recognized audio? It isn’t very apparent on their sites either. I suspect that means it costs serious money for advertisers like Old Navy.

How easy will it be for those seeking to use the service more creatively? It’s something that we need to think about. After all, I bet way more people have Shazam than a QR code reader.

Any other creative uses of audio hyperlinks you can think of?

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  1. melody on Wednesday 8, 2011

    What a great video… . Thanks for this post! It’s nice to know that you can use music and mobile app Shazam to create links from the ads to the products your are selling.

  2. […] Is Shazam the next QR code? The increasing power of audio | Hack Text TV advertisements are using music and mobile app Shazam to create links from the ads to the products they are selling. What else can audio tagging do for us? Source: http://www.hacktext.com […]

  3. Why can’t we hyperlink from a radio program to the Web?…

    It’s an interesting question. Obviously we have QR Codes for visual hyperlinking, and some people have made apps which interact with audio cues in specific TV shows (http://hacktext.com/2011/06/is-shazam-the-next-qr-code-the-increasing-power-of-audio-

  4. mari berdakwah on Wednesday 8, 2011

    I think that everything posted was very logical. However, what about this?
    what if you were to create a killer post title?
    I am not saying your content is not good., however what if you added a title that grabbed a person’s attention?

    I mean Is Shazam the next QR code? The increasing power of audio is
    kinda boring. You might peek at Yahoo’s home page
    and see how they write post titles to grab viewers to click.

    You might add a related video or a picture or two to get people interested
    about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it might bring your posts a little bit more interesting.


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