January 7, 2014, 1:18 PM

A Super Bowl ‘game changer’ for online TV ads?

As fans watch Super Bowl XLVII for the first time in an outdoor stadium in a state known for cold winter weather, fans watching the big game at home on TV will be able to click to buy products featured in an H&M apparel TV spot.

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When Super Bowl XLVIII takes place on Feb. 2 in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, it will be the big game’s first-ever outdoor event played in a cold climate. But what really has some online marketers buzzing is that the TV broadcast will feature the first-ever web-shoppable TV ad.

“This is a game-changer for the advertising industry,” boasts Mike Fitzsimmons, CEO of Delivery Agent, the company providing the “t-commerce” or television commerce platform for a 30-second ad planned by Sweden-based trendy apparel and home furnishings retailer H&M.

H&M, No. 83 in Internet Retailer’s Europe 500 ranking of e-retailers, will run a TV commercial featuring the coming spring "David Beckham" collection of bodywear modeled by soccer star David Beckham himself. As Super Bowl watchers view the commercial on Internet-connected TVs, they’ll be able to purchase feature products with their TV remotes or mobile commerce devices, Delivery Agent says.

Delivery Agent, which is presenting its ShopTV application and t-commerce platform today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, says consumers will be able to use their TV remotes either to directly complete a purchase on a section of their TV screen as the Super Bowl continues to broadcast on a split screen, or forward the purchasing window to their mobile device to complete a purchase without using the split TV screen. The mobile commerce option “is particularly helpful since the Super Bowl is a TV event generally viewed by groups of people at the same time," and only some viewers may want to engage in the shopping experience, a spokeswoman for Delivery Agent says.

H&M’s ad campaign also will launch what it calls a t-commerce boutique, which uses Delivery Agent’s ShopTV application to let viewers of TV programs on Samsung Smart TVs view and purchase products worn by actors or otherwise featured in programs.

How well the H&M ad scores with TV watchers during the Super Bowl could set the stage for more interactive TV ads, says James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. “While t-commerce has been on everyone’s mind since the earliest interactive TV trials, it’s only now that we have the crucial ingredients necessary for t-commerce to work,” he says. “Consumers had to get tech-smart enough, TV technology had to get easy enough to use, and advertisers had to find the courage to test a direct outreach to the customer that could in the long run require a rethink of their entire approach to sales and marketing. Those things have finally converged, and there’s no better way to prove it than for a major advertiser like H&M to use that new technology to reach out to tech-smart consumers in a highly visible way—a Super Bowl ad and a superstar-backed brand.”

In a survey of 1,100 online shoppers conducted March through May of 2013, Delivery Agent says it found that 68% were interested in using their TVs to shop, 82% were interested in buying products tied to their favorite TV shows, and 76% would consider purchasing products online directly from a viewed TV commercial.

If the H&M shoppable TV ad doesn’t hit home with consumers, it won’t be because the technology or consumers weren’t ready for it, McQuivey adds. “It will be because the advertiser didn’t execute well,” he says. “The stakes are high, so expect everyone to be working their hardest to make this first big salvo pay off.”

H&M did not immediately return a call for comment. 

Last year, Delivery Agent Inc. and eBay Inc.-owned online payments provider PayPal said they would work together to make it easier for shoppers to buy via their TV remote controls. The partnership is designed to reduce the number of fields a PayPal user buying via his TV has to fill to complete a transaction. 


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