IntoNow, one of a handful of startup mobile applications looking to meld traditional TV viewing with social media, has inked a deal with Pepsi aimed at encouraging viewers to "tag" an upcoming Pepsi campaign with a chance to win a free soda.
While several companies are attempting to bring the Foursquare-esque "check in" to the TV world, including the startup GetGlue and TVGuide.com, IntoNow is more akin to Shazam, the popular mobile application which enables users to identify songs by tagging them.
Like Shazam, the IntoNow iPhone app automatically "listens" to what is airing on TV using a proprietary audio fingerprinting technology—though in this case, users can not only identify what shows they are watching but also alert friends via Facebook and Twitter.
According to CEO Adam Cahan, IntoNow has amassed a comprehensive database of five years' worth of information on TV shows, or 150 million minutes of content, and is continuously collecting data on new shows as they air—without requiring the participation of any TV networks.
"We can fingerprint TV shows in real time, and the technology is 99 percent accurate," claims Cahan. "This allows people to connect around shows they are watching and find out from friends other shows they might like."
After launching in January, IntoNow collected a million tags in its first four weeks, according to Cahan. Surprisingly, 7 percent of those tags were commercials.
That's when the company saw an opportunity to partner with brands. As part of its pact with Pepsi, the first 50,000 users who use IntoNow to tag an upcoming Major League Baseball-themed Pepsi MAX commercial will receive a coupon for a free 20-ounce Pepsi MAX at stores like Target and CVS.
Going forward, IntoNow sees potential tagging campaigns for automotive and movie advertisers, among others. "This has a natural sharing mechanic," said Cahan. "Thirty percent of tags get shared. So this has major implications for an array of advertisers."