Wouldn't you like to virtually toss a gherkin into a roll instead of watch a boring-snoring advert for Subway? What do you think of shouting "McDonald's" at the television to make a McDonald's advert stop? How about playing a sponsored and multiplayer racing game during an advert break?
That's what Sony's thinking, and what the 2009-filed (but only now publicly available) patent for "System for converting television commercials into interactive networked video games" is all about (via Game'N'Motion).
The idea: "converting television commercials into interactive networked video games". The why: you're "actively engaged while playing a game", but "passive watchers" when staring at TV programmes.
The answer: inserting interactive elements "within consecutive frames of the television programme", or "overlaid on frames of the TV programme", thus "allowing the user to play the game while the TV programme is displayed".
Blue sky thinking, and miles from any kind of realistic application at this point. Nevertheless, it's not beyond the realms of possibility - and the weight and purse of advertisers, presuming they're keen, could make it a reality.