Thursday, May 11, 2006

Common Cents Is Not So Common

What's in today's patent goodie bag? Personalized coupons through your TV.

Last year I discussed targeted, local advertising in which a local grocery store can advertise, allowing you can lock-in a sale price on the item in the ad. All in the comfort of your home while you watch the telly. This concept still makes sense to me. The advertiser rewards the viewer for watching while still meeting its own goals.

There's one major problem with that idea. You only get the sale price if you have a shopper's card and if a local/regional merchant advertises. If you're missing either of those two things, you're stuck paying full price. Not an ideal scenario for national conglomerates that are trying to push their wares.

Today the USPTO published a patent app (20060100929) for a system that allows you to request a coupon by pressing a button on your remote while you watch a commercial. According to the app, you make your request from the "Manufacturer's Coupon Generator Station." This Station analyzes viewer demographics, point-of-sale information, local conditions (including season, time, weather), and the sales/revenue goals of the manufacturer. After this analysis, the Station electronically delivers a coupon with the appropriate cents-off. Just print and use.

Just one more reason not to buy Sunday's LA Times anymore.

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