Microsoft Unveils Xbox/Kinect-Based Interactive TV Ad Format, "NUads"

Interactive TV Ads - Cannes Lions - Microsoft Advertising

--NUads Enable Viewers to Interact with Advertising via Voice and Gesture

At the Cannes International Advertising Festival, Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled NUads (short for "Natural User-interface Ads"), an interactive TV advertising format that takes advantage of the voice- and gestural-control capabilities provided by the company's Kinect for Xbox 360 offering (note: a number of pay-TV operators are already delivering live and on-demand programming via the Xbox--see the article published on, June 20th; Microsoft is also believed to be working on a TV platform, codenamed "Orapa," that brings together Kinect, the Xbox and the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV platform--see the article published on, March 11th).

In a blog posting, Mark Kroese, general manager of Microsoft's Advertising Business Group, stressed that NUads cater to the practical needs of advertisers and marketers, while enabling "natural" (i.e. remote control-free) interaction with the television: "For all of [their] leading-edge innovation, NUads still focus on enabling proven and traditional marketing methods--tactics like trial, request for information, or location-based marketing," he wrote. "The difference is that the audience can take part in these offerings without having to do anything that isn't inherently natural. A simple voice command or wave of the hand is all it takes. At the end of the day, people want to interact with content with a bowl of popcorn--not a clunky keyboard or remote--in their lap. With NuAds, they can."

In his blog posting, Kroese went on to provide five examples of how viewers might interact with NUads:

  • "Social advocacy. A simple voice command such as 'Xbox Tweet' gives the consumer the ability to share something about a brand with their friends.
  • Request for information (RFI): Say 'Xbox More,' and you can request additional information and/or a discount coupon to be sent directly to your email inbox.
  • Near me: Say 'Xbox Near Me' to locate a retailer near you, and receive a text message with the location.
  • Schedule an event: 'Xbox Schedule' sends you a calendar reminder about an upcoming show.
  • Vote for your favorite: 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 would be a prompt asking: 'Which is your favorite villain?' or 'Do you have plans to go see this movie?' Real-time voting and audience feedback has finally come to the TV!"

A demo video of Microsoft NUads and a Microsoft-produced video interview with Mark Kroese are embedded on this page.

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