Jan 22, 2013

The next technology for marketers – second screen audio watermarking

Tony Treadway

They are estimating that 166 million will watch Super Bowl XLVII on February 3rd. Many will watch the game on their big screen with a second screen on their lap.

Smartphones, tablets and laptops will be utilized to hunt down stats, check out the story behind cool commercials and wander elsewhere if the game becomes a blow out. While most of you understand the opportunity for balancing your broadcast campaign with a supportive effort online or via social media, there is something new in the works.

Audio watermarking can allow networks to transmit a silent tone to trigger second screen content within earshot of the TV speakers. For example, you are watching the next Mad Men series episode and the silent tone could trigger old TV commercials from the era. Better yet, you run a 30-second TV commercial for your canned black beans, and suddenly a list of 15 recipes calling for black beans appears on your tablet along with a coupon for 30¢ off on your next trip to the supermarket.

Silent tones have been around for years. I’ve not noticed dogs going crazy around the old Boob Tune of late, but these imperceptible tones have been used for decades in the radio business. For the second screen – their use will open a new window of interaction with your brand. Stay tuned.

Tony Treadway


President & CEO

Regarded in the advertising and PR industry as a top strategist, Tony is considered one of the most respected marketing minds in the business, especially in the $600 billion foodservice industry. As president, he leads Creative Energy in serving a variety of regional and national accounts in the textile, hardware, building materials, electronics, nuclear power and health care markets.