Midway through the episode, Ryan Tedder, a Grammy Award-winning singer and producer featured as a judge on the show, tinkered with an eye-catching, illuminated keyboard called Lumi. As Tedder played the instrument, a QR code casually appeared at the bottom of the screen with instructions that read more like commands than suggestions: “Open Camera, Scan Code, Shop Now.”
In the minutes after the code appeared, NBCUniversal executives say, thousands of viewers did exactly that, using their smartphones to link directly to a website where Lumi was available for purchase. To get there, they didn’t have to download an app, call a shopping network in a limited timeframe or embark on an online hunt. And that, executives say, was precisely the point.
“The Holy Grail has always been you seeing a person on TV talking about a product or wearing a product and being able to buy that product right now,” said Josh Feldman, NBCUniversal’s executive vice president in charge of marketing and advertising creative partnerships. “In the past there’s been friction. You have to leave your screen and go to the Internet and search for that product.”