Smartphone app connects viewers to stats, ads, halftime show

Super Bowl XLVI viewers will be able to get interactive with the New England Patriots and New York Giants, as well as with films from Disney, Relativity and Universal, if they have a smart phone. This year’s championship marks the first in which the game itself, the halftime show and about 40% of the commercials are “Shazamable.”

Shazam, the popular audio/music recognition app, has seen its TV incarnation become one of the most popular iTunes downloads. It offers users exclusive content tagged to a number of programs, including awards shows, dramas and music competitions.

During the Super Bowl, Shazam users can tag ele-ments within the NBC broadcast to vote on their favorite ads, participate in game polls, receive discount offers, free downloads, enter sweepstakes, buy music, share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter and support charities. During the game, fans can get up-to-the-minute statistics and keep track of key plays and players, as well as buy official team and artist merchandise.

The rapidly growing London-based company, which logs 6 million tags a day, is working with 15 brands, including the three studios, on the biggest television advertising day of the year. Shazam charges them an incremental CPM on top of the TV buy. If the spot has an expected 1 billion impressions, its rate card is 35¢ on top of those impressions.

“For companies to trust us during the Super Bowl is a big deal,” says Evan Krauss, exec VP of advertising sales for Shazam Entertainment. “We’re not just putting a logo on the screen, we’re part of the campaign in a big way. If you’re running spots that cost $3.5 million apiece, plus creation, the extra time and work to make them Shazamable in a compelling way is huge.”

Spots for Disney’s “The Avengers” and “John Carter,” Relativity Media’s “Act of Valor” and Universal Pictures’ “Battleship,” as well as some programs on cable network Syfy, are slated to get the Shazam treatment: Viewers who tag the spots will receive extended trailers and other program or ticket purchase information.

And while Shazam pitches concepts to its clients for infusing interactivity, Krauss says industry creatives have been coming up with ways to use a film or show’s characters to drive the added value Shazam offers.

Pepsi’s interactive ad features the winner of the “The X Factor,” Melanie Amaro, performing Otis Redding’s “Respect” and will invite people to unlock a free video.

Shazam users who tag the halftime show, sponsored by Bridgestone, can unlock exclusive content, including new music and apps by Madonna and guests — reported but not confirmed at press time to include Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., LMFAO and Cee Lo Green.

Other Super Bowl commercials that are Shazam-enabled include Toyota, promoting a sweepstakes to win two Camrys, and Best Buy, pushing a $50 gift card offer for consumers looking to buy and activate a mobile phone in 2012.

Call it the game within the game.

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