LAS VEGAS -- During this year's Super Bowl, clothing retail giant H&M will debut a commercial with something a little extra in it: the ability to make a purchase directly from your TV.
The ad will be the first to hit the airwaves with a new technology by Delivery Agent that allows purchases to be made over the air using your television remote without interrupting the programming on your screen. While the H&M ad will be the first to hit the air, several more ads are in the works using the technology as well.
"We started with the simple notion that consumers will want to buy products that they see while they're watching TV shows," says Delivery Agent Chief Executive Mike Fitzsimmons. Delivery Agent's technology originally debuted in 2005 with shows like Will & Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, where it simply offered an online portal where customers could purchase a character's outfit or an item they saw in the program.
It has expanded the service to provide contextual commerce for more than 500 shows on the air today. So, when you shop FOX.com for something you saw on this week's episode of New Girl, that's powered by Delivery Agent. The company announced its new t-commerce (television commerce) enabled ads at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
"[What's] really transformative about what we're doing is we're not only enabling you to buy something from the show, but this is our first foray into buying something directly from a commercial," says Fitzsimmons.
As you're watching an ad, a small overlay will appear on the screen and ask "Do you want to buy something from this ad?" If you say yes, you'll be able to either click and buy the item directly from your television set using your remote, or push the offer to your mobile device where you can finish the purchase.
Things like your phone number and address are added once and then saved into your television for future purchases. Delivery Agent also recently announced a partnership with PayPal that allows you to complete the purchase with your PayPal credentials rather than entering payment or shipping information.
Brand advertisers purchase their TV media through normal channels (like networks and agencies). Separately, Delivery Agent charges a fee for the added engagement, transactional functionality and media analytics suite, the company says.
Samsung is an investor in Delivery Agent, and the one-touch purchasing will initially be available in 2012 and 2013 Samsung televisions.
Fitzsimmons sees the new technology as a game-changer for the advertising industry. Whereas several years ago experts might have discussed the power of being able to buy a sweater they see on a character in a TV show, now advertisers can make their ads actionable and measure in real-time sales that a particular ad generates.
"We are collectively redefining the power and effectiveness of television advertising," he says. If it catches on with advertisers, it could also redefine how consumers shop.