Microsoft Unveils Interactive Ad Platform at Cannes


Say goodbye to the remote control fumble. Better yet, don’t just say it — show it, too.

Today at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, Microsoft unveiled NUads, short for natural user interface ads, as a way for marketers and advertisers to bake voice and gesture-based response mechanisms into television ads seen by Xbox Kinect users.

The new advertising platform enables consumers to share content on Twitter, “like” and post on Facebook, and interact with branded content on their mobile phones, all in a quest to engage Xbox users more successfully than traditional TV advertising.[more]

“When you have highly interactive people and a passive medium, they are interacting with their phone or their laptop while watching TV,” commented Mark Kroese, GM of the advertising business group at Microsoft, to the New York Times. NUads, “create a natural way for the user to engage with the TV.” 

Microsoft has demonstrated the new interactive ads for Adidas, NBC, and Toyota, among others brands. As Kroese blogged, “I’m here to say that it will change television as we know it—forever. I say this because NUads — specifically the Kinect voice and gesture technology that enables them — finally unties the Gordian knot of interactive television, and by extension, interactive advertising.” 

Ad scenarios available to consumers in spring 2012 will include: 

Social advocacy. A simple voice command such as “Xbox Tweet” gives the consumer the ability to share something about a brand with their network. 

Request for information (RFI): Say “Xbox More,” and you can request additional information and/or a discount coupon to be sent directly to you. 

Geolocation: Say “Xbox Near Me” to locate a nearby retailer, and receive a text message with the location. 

Scheduling: “Xbox Schedule” sends you a calendar reminder about an upcoming show or event.

Voting: With just a wave of a hand, audiences can easily convey their preferences. For example, while watching a trailer for the Green Lantern movie, there could be a prompt to participate in a poll question such as: “Which is your favorite villain?” or “Do you have plans to go see this movie?” 

“The new ad units really epitomized the level of engagement that everyone is working towards,” said John M. Lisko, executive communications director of Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, in the Times. “You can text, you can tweet, you can vote. That’s phenomenal.” 


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