Next wave: How to bridge second-screen devices with HDTV and mobile TV in 2012

When Troy-Bilt launched its latest campaign focused on its outdoor lawn and garden equipment, it wanted to bridge two huge worlds, the home TV viewer with the mobile TV viewer. But how could it be done as easily as possible while making it fun?

The commercial starts out with a young man planting a tree in the backyard and then progresses in a series of scenes, from young married husband to young dad playing with kids to older dad. Each scene shows the subject using various Troy-Bilt tools in the backyard, and also includes his loving wife along the way. The tag line sums up that the products are “built for life” and shows how the Troy-Bilt items are holding up season after season.

The important part of the commercial is while all this is happening, down below there is an icon for the app Shazam, the software for mobile devices that allows you to listen to and recognize any song playing. The song “World Goes By” by Tom Luce is playing over the scenes, and viewers are encouraged to load up their Shazam app (free on most devices) and “tag” the song. When viewers do, they go to a branded experience dedicated completely to Troy-Bilt, as well as links on finding a store using Lowe’s store locator. But it doesn't stop there; they also get access to the 99-cent download of the song, mobile-TV videos and a link to the Troy-Bilt website and Facebook page.

The campaign is extensive, running on various cable television channels such as The Weather Channel, HGTV, TNT and USA, as well as banners on numerous websites including a variety of weather sites such as Weather Bug. The ads also appear via multiple ad networks, and the biggest push will be on HDTV channels, where the huge audience of do-it-yourself fans and outdoor lawn enthusiasts reside.

The campaign and the concept are being used by more and more companies and the important concept to note is how it bridges different viewers from two different industries.

Studies have shown that the habit of using mobile-TV devices while watching TV has gone way beyond just an upswing; it’s an important part of how we engage in the living room. Also, because most consumers have a variety of staple apps already installed, there’s a good chance that users already have Shazam on their mobile-TV device. The app icon is instantly recognizable, and chances are, the device is already close by, perhaps already in hand.

Tagging the song takes a few seconds and is fun, but what happens next is that a flood of branded options appears. Of course you do tag the song, but lots of other options are suddenly available to explore. Gone are the days of having an onscreen website, usually with a “” or something similar added on, making it even more time consuming to launch a mobile web browser and type in. If users can launch an app and tap, and get some content with links to more, then that is often too easy to resist.

Companies need to constantly make the user engagement extensive and easy to dive into. Consumers need to feel like they are in on the fun, as opposed to being directly advertised to. Also there is a small sense of accomplishment with this method; the commercial is calling you to do a small task, for which you will be rewarded in the end, so the fun little task that takes seconds is something viewers can warm up to.

The synergy between the small screen and the big screen will be happening more and more in the coming year, and it’s up to broadcasters, and mobile content producers, to make the union an engaging one, while keeping it fun for the consumer.