‘Shazam’ Overload: The Interactive App That Captivates Couch Potatoes

After a long day of writing descriptions for our awesome product selections, I like to come home and unwind. Unwinding is nothing too hardcore: just sitting on my sofa with my TV remote in hand, ready for a night of mindless TV.

Nope, not this.

On one of these recent nights I couldn’t help but notice that during a Marshall’s ad there in the bottom right hand corner there was the blue rectangle with the ‘Shazam’ app available for all to see (Just to clarify, ‘Shazam’ is nothing like ‘Kazaam’). I naturally made a mental note to “scan” it the next time the commercial aired.

During the next commercial break, there it was again. I scanned it with my iPod Touch and didn’t know what to expect. It loaded and sent me to their mobile website where I could send a Christmas carol to a friend. Well, that wasn’t worth the energy it took to get up and grab my iPod.

Then a few nights later a Pillsbury ad aired and again there was the Shazam app in the corner. I cringed and figured I’d give it another shot. Lo and behold, after it loaded I was sent to a website that had a recipe for the dish that was shown on the commercial. Now that was worth getting my iPod for!

Spending quality time together surfing the internet while watching TV

So, what’s the deal with the sudden increase in television commercials having Shazam in them? According to a press release from Shazam, a “survey commissioned by Nielsen and Yahoo! found that 86 percent of smartphone users are engaged with their phones while watching TV.” That’s quite a bit of people just sitting there watching TV with their smart phone nearby. Why not capture them?

Shazam has over 150 million people using the app, so of course other companies would also be jumping at the chance to create another way to interact with them. American Express, Paramount Pictures, and Honda are just a few examples of companies that are working with Shazam to give consumers an entertaining and engaging way to interact with their commercials. When someone Shazams an ad, they have access to additional information, special offers, or even exclusive downloads or discounts.

Now, if I may get a bit ‘ranty’ here… I applaud the companies using Shazam to interact with customers on another level. However, I think Shazam should be a bit more choosy with what companies they work with. If every single commercial on TV has the app in it, then what makes it special? When it starts showing up in a Comcast Xfinity commercial, you know it’s overused.

C’mon, advertisers and marketers out there! Let’s be a bit creative and not just copy what Company A did a few months ago. Try some other methods of customer interaction, like maybe actually meeting your customers at a community fair or event or even giving away some promotional products. People love free stuff and if it’s something that they can use on a daily basis, then you can bet your sweet Shazam they’ll come back time after time.

Have you seen any of these commercials that feature ‘Shazam’ in them? What are your thoughts? Do you like it or loathe it? Sound off below!

Amy Hoidas

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ Community Manager. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can also connect with Amy on


  1. Jana Quinn

    Making television (which, at the rate it’s streaming over the internet, can barely be called television anymore) an interactive experience is the way of the future. I can’t count how many times I’ve been on my smartphone surfing during commercials (when I’m too impatient to DVR something and my intolerance for commercials does not allow me to view them), and this is a great way to get my eyes back on the ads. Consumer is happy – I found something interesting. Advertiser is happy – I am paying attention. Network is happy – greater ROI from engaged viewers.

    That’s a win-win-win situation.

    • Amy Swanson

      That’s an excellent point, Jana! During commercials I’m always checking facebook and twitter (because you know things change just that quickly haha). The only downside, is that you have to be looking at the tv screen to see if a ‘Shazam’ button appears or not, so all the quirks haven’t been worked out quite yet.

  2. BBritz

    Great post Amy! I never knew you could Shazam on advertisements shown on the tube. I use the Shazam app a lot when songs come on that I don’t know, but I never knew it could be used for other things. Next time I see the Shazam feature on a tv advertisement, I am definitely going to try it out.

    • Amy Swanson

      Thanks so much! This app is a godsend for me discovering new music, I have used it several times while listening to the radio as well as standing in stores (yes, I have been “that” person standing in a dark corner trying to reach up towards the speakers mounted on the wall). It’s awesome! You’ll have to let me know what commerical you see it on and where it takes you.

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    Like Jana, I think that companies taking advantage of Shazam is really great for all involved parties. One of my favorite TV shows featured the Shazam button and it brought up behind-the-scenes content. And the Old Navy ads gave you a free cardigan when you Shazam’d them!

    But I agree with you, too. I think there’s a line of when/how to use it. Do I want to send an ecard to my friends from Marshall’s? No. Do I want a recipe? Yes. The extra content/reward really needs to be worth a consumer’s time. I’ll never Shazam a Marshall’s ad again because I know that their content is pretty useless.

    • Amy Swanson

      Finding that balance between useful and useless content is a pretty thin line. I’m sure some people out there were excited to be able to send an ecard to their friends, whereas I thought it was a waste of time. On the flip side though, I love cooking and baking so I’m always psyched to receive a new recipe, especially if I see the end result in a commercial. Marketers just need to figure out what works best for their demographic and go from there.

  4. Jen

    I think Shazam is a pretty cool way to get more information on a product seen in a commercial. I don’t have a smart phone so when I see something on t.v. I want more information about I have to get up and walk my happy butt over to the computer.

    If I had the Shazam app for my non-existing smart phone I would probably use it once and a while, it’s an interesting idea for sure. 🙂 Great post Amy.

    • Amy Swanson

      Thanks Jen! I’m sure we’ll be seeing more Shazam commercials in the future, especially if its another means of interaction with customers 🙂

  5. Joseph Giorgi

    I really like the concept of the Shazam app. Allowing viewers to engage directly with commercials makes commercial breaks a little more tolerable — and depending on the Shazam-exclusive content, more likeable. If I were a smartphone owner, I’d be curious to see what the major advertisers are currently offering through the app.

    I see what you’re saying about oversaturation, though. Hopefully the makers of Shazam are wise enough not to wear out the novelty of their product or at least thoughtful enough to expand on the app’s capabilities in the near future.

    Very cool post, Amy!

    • Amy Swanson

      You hit the issue I have with Shazam right on the head, Joe. For the sake of Shazam and their success, I just hope they don’t become overused and overdone. They have such a unique novelty to their service that to see it every time I turn around will start to wear pretty thin.

      Thanks for the comment!

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