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Shazam Eyes Out Of Home, Print Marketing Opportunities With Image Recognition

The strategy finally connects sound and vision in a way that extends Shazam’s brick-and-mortar retail clients’ advertising reach both beyond and to store shelves.

Shazam, the app known for audio recognition and music discovery, is expanding into visual identification to give marketers and brands the ability to connect with consumers through posters, packaged goods labels, out of home ads, and print media. Dubbed Visual Shazam, the new feature makes good on the promise the New York company made earlier this year: to go beyond audio recognition and music discovery into augmented reality.

The Visual Shazam tool uses an app user’s smartphone or tablet camera to scan the Shazam logo and certain QR Codes on items. In doing so, consumers can unlock exclusive, interactive content on their mobile screen.

The first brands to partner with Shazam to leverage the technology are Target, Levi’s, The Walt Disney Company, HarperCollins Publishers, Esquire, SELF, Time, WSJ, marketing and media planning agency BlueSoho, pop music memorabilia seller Merchbar, and Outfront Media.

At this point, the visual scanning feature is primarily being used as a promotional tool for print media. For instance, Disney is using the scannable Shazam logo on posters advertising its new movie, Tomorrowland. Starting next month, consumers with the latest version of the Shazam app can wave their phone over the logo and access behind-the-scenes video footage and coupons.

While the feature is not intended as a direct in-store marketing tool, it can serve as a conduit for mobile coupons that can be redeemed in-store. Magazines, for example, that have partnered with Shazam could use the technology to tell a visual story of a brand.

For brands like Target and Levi’s, which have brick-and-mortar locations, taking the Shazam Visualizer to their respective shelves seems likely, perhaps to augment the audio recognition features they already use to send ads to consumers indoors.

By putting Shazam logos and QR Codes on products, retailers can give shoppers and browsers a more dynamic marketing experience, not unlike how Blippar worked with Perrier on its District Perrier campaign, a program that looked to bolster in-store sales of Perrier products by offering consumers information and offers that only Blippar’s image recognition mobile app could unlock.

Shazam, which counts more than 100 million monthly active users, has shown a commitment to building out its presence in the location-based marketing space. Last November, the company partnered with indoor marketing audio recognition provider, Mood Media to launch Shazam In-Store; the following January, Shazam teamed up with context awareness and micro-proximity solutions provider Gimbal, to integrate beacon technology into its app.