What do you get when you cross natural-user-interface technologies, like Kinect's voice-control, with ads? Microsoft is calling them NuAds and is pitching them to advertisers as of this week.
Blogger Manan Kakkar unearthed a reference to NuAds on July 10. Microsoft filed a trademark application on "NuAds,", Kakkar noted, describing NuAds as "advertising services, namely, promoting and marketing the goods and services of others through online interactive video games by enabling consumers to interact with third-party advertising content through voice or body gestures via computer game console and sensor devices."
On June 21, Microsoft officially introduced NuAds at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, describing them in a Microsoft Advertising blog post, as a way to "transform traditional, linear TV advertising into an interactive experience by using the voice-and gesture-control of Kinect for Xbox 360."
Microsoft showed off at the conference five NuAd formats, according to today's Advertising blog post. TV watchers will be able to say "Xbox Tweet" to "share something about a brand with a friend." By saying "Xbox More," users "can request additional information and/or a discount coupon to be sent directly to your email inbox." "Xbox Near Me" gives the retail location nearest the user, while "Xbox Schedule" will allow users to set a calendar reminder about an upcoming show.
Mark Krose, General Manager of Microsoft's Advertising Business Group in its Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) group, said in today's blog post that the TV viewing experience has remained passive and one-way for years. He blogged:
"Some long-suffering advertisers, who innately understood they needed a better way to engage TV audiences, have bravely experimented—at significant cost--with various interactive TV platforms. In doing so, they have been searching for the holy grail of marketing: a simple, interactive conversation with consumers on the TV. In return, they’ve been confronted with an amalgam of devices, clunky interfaces, closed platforms, conflicting development tools, confusing controllers and a whole lot of frustration. Many brands have avoiding touching this third rail of advertising altogether, opting to wait until a solid solution arrived. Today, many of those same marketers were in the room when we unveiled the solution to this problem: NUads."
The ultimate combination of Xbox, Kinect and TV/IPTV is set to come together later this year via Microsoft's Project Orapa. Microsoft indirectly discussed Orapa (though officials declined to acknowledge the codename) at E3 this year.
As I've blogged before, last I heard, Microsoft was on track to deliver the final Orapa code to telco/cable providers this summer, enabling them to roll it out to their customers by fall. Version 1.0 of Orapa is supposedly going to rely on the Microsoft Mediaroom infrastructure; Version 2.0 will use Windows Azure hosting, if Microsoft sticks to its current plan.
According to Adweek, Microsoft is expecting the first NuAds to roll out in the spring of 2012.
I'm not the right person to comment on this, as I don't have a TV. I can see possibly wanting to schedule a show or get a coupon,but can anyone out there (who doesn't work in advertising or PR) envision themselves wanting to tweet a brand?