Although companies can measure how many TV commercials, radio commercials, and internet ads you're exposed to, it's just not enough. What about snatches of radio ads overheard through the windows of passing cars—do they affect your shampoo-buying habits? When you were at the gym and walked briskly past a television showing a "Synecdoche, New York" preview—did you write any Philip Seymour Hoffman fan fiction in the following six months? These details are important. Luckily one firm has figured out how to make your cell phone snitch on you to the marketing Matrix: A company called IMMI is perfecting software that goes in your cell phone and catches every snippet of audio you're exposed to, then automatically determines which ads you heard. And more!
To get a handle on the effectiveness of a given ad, IMMI's data can show, for example, when a panel member is exposed to a movie trailer on TV and whether that same consumer later goes to see the movie. Similarly, IMMI data can show if a panelist watching a promo for a TV program will later watch the show, either on TV or online. IMMI thinks it can expand that idea from films and TV shows to consumer products like shampoo or toothpaste. It is testing its technology with a national grocery store chain. "We follow the same person from end to end," says Tom Zito, IMMI's chief executive.
I would recommend that IMMI start working on developing a cute, non-threatening mascot right now, because they are frankly talking about some scary shit. People volunteer to carry these phones for just $50 a month. [Obligatory ominous Minority Report reference here].