There’s an old saying: He Who Forgets The Past Is Doomed To Repeat It. In examining business change, we look at what’s been happening around us, and move from there. We got to do that yesterday in our piece about Bad Customer Service at Honda Financial, relating it back to other instances of Wall of Shame-Worthy Customer Service such as this story about Nissan of Manhattan.

Today, a look back at Interactive TV.

Interactive TV has been one of those “Holy Grail” issues for decades. People sit for hours in front of those darned boxes flat screens, and getting them involved in what’s happening is—let’s face it—the goal of advertising. But if the passive-until-later model of showing people advertisements can be made an “act right this moment” event, well … Shazam!

Shazam, indeed.

One of the most useful apps on my SmartPhone is Shazam. If a song comes on the radio and I want to identify it, Shazam gives me the answer to “What’s that song called again?” in seconds. It works almost every time, and always makes me (and even my far more cynical kids) smile in amazement. Now, Shazam has made a deal with ABC and Grey’s Anatomy to embed Shazam-identifiable information into the popular television program.

I don’t much care for Grey’s Anatomy, but I love this deal.

Grey’s Anatomy has been the catalyst behind several songs becoming popular during its run on television, and sure, if you’re a Shazam user you could always have used it to identify music. But Shazam is now going to have more information embedded into its aural identification database, and while you’re watching commercials specially created to run on Grey’s Anatomy you’re going to be fed cues for Shazaming that advertising-based information.

Yes, those commercials can be re-used elsewhere, so the Grey’s Anatomy tie-in is only for promotion and introduction of the idea of using Shazam to drive interactive advertisements—although perhaps there will be in-program Shazam moments, as well. But it makes sense. Shazam and Grey’s Anatomy is genuinely “Interactive TV”.

Makes a lot more sense than QR Codes, doesn’t it?

It also makes more sense than deferred-gratification Interactive TV like Foursquare started working on with Bravo! last year. Sure, that was interactive, but the context was wrong. Shazam and Grey’s Anatomy (or pretty much any other TV program) are perfect partners for getting people involved, engaged, moving, and … buying stuff.

Don’t you love business change? Shazam!

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