Hey, Mr. Neilsen, (no, not you Leslie) listen carefully and you can hear the sound of your demise.

Pepsi, much maligned for their supposedly failed Refresh Now “social media campaign” [see: Grab your iPad and beat me with it every time I say “social media” 3.24.11] is coming out with television commercials that set you up with a free Pepsi if you watch them. You heard me right – watch the spot, then use the app, IntoNow,  (which you will have downloaded ahead of time, thanks to this blog) to check in – to confirm that you are watching the spot, et, voila – you download a free Pepsi coupon to be redeemed at the retailer of your choice. Nice! Now that’s refreshing. [Check out this article in Advertising Age, On TV Now: Watch an Ad, Get a Free Pepsi, Michael Learmonth]

No. I’m not making this up – watch the commercial, get a free Pepsi.

But read between the lines a little bit. We all knew this was coming. We all intuited that it was possible, once we played around with Shazam a bit. But, we’re truly one step away from being able to measure the effectiveness of our advertising by having the viewing community check in. In fact, I’m willing to bet that either (a) it’s out there already and I simply haven’t caught hold of it, or (b) there’s a group of developers working like a pack of bloodshot-eyed rats working round the clock to get it out there.

How would it work? Simple. Advertisers begin to use the IntoNow technology to get you to check in for their spots. The bait could be anything from “rate this spot” to, well… to a free Pepsi. Either way, the advertising agency and the advertisers are now armed with real world numbers that relate directly to the efficacy of the television spots. Versus Nielsen rating numbers based on a number of selected families (selected how?) who punch buttons (if they remember?) that correspond to the show they’re watching (the same one the get up from to fetch eats from the fridge when the commercials come on). The thought of the process makes me feel old.

I’m a Coke drinker. Down here in the South, Coke is so much the king of soft drinks that the word “Coke” has become a descriptive term for “soft drink.” Example:

BUBBA: “Hey, Trinket, you want a coke?”

TRINKET: Sure!

BUBBA: “Whatcha want?”

TRINKET: “Grapico.”

Needless to say, we drink more Coke down here than Pepsi. But, I will say that on my iPhone is a coupon for a free 20-ounce Pepsi, courtesy of the cool article in Advertising Age.

And I might just redeem that sucker.

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