In a bid to further monetise the impressive sales numbers of Kinect, Microsoft has been demonstrating a new method of interactive advertising, exclusive to Kinect-enabled Xbox 360s, called Natural User-Interface Ads (NUads).
In the video below, originally embedded on Microsoft's Advertising blog, five different methods for advertisers to engage with their audiences are exhibited by product manager Enrique de la Garza, each featuring a different way for users to share or interact with ad content.
"When you have highly interactive people and a passive medium, they are interacting with their phone or their laptop while watching TV," Microsoft advertising head Mark Kroese told the New York Times. The NUads, he says, will "create a natural way for the user to engage with the TV."
The first example is based on the perhaps somewhat optimistic hope that teens will want to share ads with friends via social networking tools - namely Twitter. By using a voice command and gesture control, Kinect owners will be able to instantly propagate ads to friends on their twitter feeds, after having selected them to run from the Kinect dash.
Also demonstrated is the ability to discover more about an ad, again using a voice command combined with gesture. In the example below, an Addidas NUad with an associated competition is shown, enticing user attachment with the promise of prize rewards.
Thirdly comes the more familiar concept of program reminder scheduling, a service offered by most digital, cable and satellite channels. The twist with Microsoft's take is the ability to send that reminder to a user's mobile phone instead of a television.
Perhaps most suited to high price-point goods is the ability to use geographical location to identify the nearest stockist for a the advertised product, with the given example of a Toyota dealership.
The final method is more about customer investment and affiliation than direct information engagement. Showing a trailer for the new Green Lantern movie, de la Garza demonstrates NUads ability to offer polls related to advertised products. Whilst the example given is an IP related poll, it's likely that questions which offer more directly useful marketing data will be possible.
Whilst the new technology is likely to get a mixed reception from gamers, advertisers are already expressing their interest. In the same New York Times piece linked above, Saatchi and Saatchi representative John M. Lisko called the new tech "phenomenal", saying that his firm was "absolutely considering" the opportunities it offers.
No date has been given for the launch of the new service.