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Sony Pictures pushes summer ticket sales via commerce-enabled ads

Users can buy movie tickets via TV ads

Sony Pictures has teamed up with Shazam to drive ticket sales for the studio’s “Men in Black 3” film.

In addition to promoting Men in Black 3, Sony will use Shazam to power television spots for its other upcoming movies this summer. The partnership marks the first use of Shazam with a mobile ticketing initiative.

“This is the second time Sony and Shazam have partnered to Shazam-enable a commercial for one of their movies,” said Evan Krauss, executive vice president of advertising sales at Shazam, New York.

“With the new partnership, Sony and Shazam have teamed up to make it faster and easier than ever before for movie fans to buy tickets to see blockbusters like Men In Black 3 at their local theater,” he said.

“This is another great example of how people can use their mobile phone or tablet to interact with TV commercials to extend their engagement – in this case, get more information and buy tickets when they are in that moment of inspiration.”

Shazam is a music and entertainment discovery app that claims to add 1.5 million new users a week in 200 countries.

Instant tickets
The mobile call-to-action is running in Sony Pictures’ TV spots for Men in Black 3. During the commercial, consumers can use the Shazam application to tag the company’s logo on screen using audio recognition.

Then consumers are taken to a mobile-optimized page where they can buy tickets, visit the Men in Black 3 site or buy DVDs from the movie.

To buy tickets, the mobile landing page directs users to Fandango’s mobile site where they can choose a time, date and theater to buy tickets.

In addition to the Men in Black 3 campaign, Sony Pictures will also be using the ads throughout the summer to promote films including “Total Recall” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

Shazam-enabled ads will begin airing one week before each film’s release with an option for consumers to buy tickets via their handsets.

By running the ads one week before the movie is released, consumers are more likely to buy tickets when they are thinking of it while watching TV.

Additionally, by giving a user a way to take a direct action consumers have an incentive for using the Shazam app.

One of the challenges that social TV apps like Shazam have faced is giving users an upfront value for interacting with their device. Letting users buy small items such as movie tickets through their device is a great way to take advantage of a static TV ad.

Mobile powerhouse
The Shazam partnership is the latest in Sony Pictures’ string of recent mobile initiatives.

The film studio also partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts on a branded mobile app for Men in Black 3 that lets consumers interact with characters from the movie and find the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts locations (see story).

Additionally, the company rolls out mobile advertising campaigns for each of its movies that the company releases. For example, Sony Pictures recently built up ticket sales and hype for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (see story).

For a film studio in particular, mobile is a great way to give users quick access to content while on the go.

“For years, Shazam has integrated concert and tour information as well as the ability to purchase tickets with our music tag results, so it is a natural extension to offer this in conjunction with different Shazam for TV campaigns like movie ads,” Mr. Krauss said.

“We believe this gives Shazam fans the rich content and compelling experience they have come to expect with our app,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York