Posted April 9, 2012 7:23 am by with 0 comments

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Yesterday, I went to Walgreens. It’s not my first choice for drugstores, but I figured I’d give it a try. Why? Because last Sunday, I spent three hours watching a Walgreens challenge on Celebrity Apprentice. The celebs had to make a presentation for the new Walk with Walgreens program and it was all over my second screen app.

Walgreens was drilled into my brain and I liked it because I was watching a fun show on TV and playing a game on my iPad. Yes, I’m a walking, talking example of how second-screen branding works. At least I’m not alone.

A new survey from Digitas shows that three in five U.S. adults have browsed through online content while watching TV. The majority looked at content unrelated to the show, but 27% said they viewed related content. That number would probably be higher if there were more available options. Right now, I believe it’s lack of content, not interest that’s keeping the second-screen phenomena from exploding.

Look at these two stats from the Digitas report:

51% of online video viewers, ages 18-44, say that if they watch a video online and it mentions a new product or brand, they would look that brand up.

62% of online video viewers who have a favorite celebrity, ages 18-34, would check out an online video starring that person.

Now imagine the power of a celebrity mentioning a product in a video or a second-screen app. That’s an undeniable one-two punch that’s bound to leave viewers thinking about the brand long after the show is over.

The downside of second-screen marketing is the cost. Walgreens can afford to sponsor an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, but that’s going to be out of the question for Mike’s Bike-a-Rama. So where do we go from here? Is it possible to make in-app advertising affordable for smaller businesses? Think about those local ads that they show in the movie theater. Imagine the same thing appearing on your smartphone while you wait for your favorite TV show to start.

Right now, there are only a handful of companies running second-screen apps for TV so there’s not a lot of advertising real estate to go around. It’s possible that they’re a flash-in-the-pan trend that will burn out by next year. I’m betting the other way. I think that in a few years, almost every show in primetime will have its own app pushing exclusive content along with sponsored messages. It’s the difference between watching a commercial for Coca-Cola during American Idol and getting a coupon for a free bottle delivered to my phone while I watch. That’s a powerful way to market any product.

What are your thoughts on second-screen advertising? Will it ever be cheap enough for the masses or will it always be equal to buying a thirty second spot on TV?