Microsoft Corp. today announced the official rollout of NUads on Xbox LIVE, making the new interactive TV ad format available for sale to advertisers broadly. Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile USA are the first brands to develop NUads campaigns that will appear on Xbox LIVE this fall. NUads advertisements take standard 30-second TV spots and add in the power of voice and gesture controls of Kinect for Xbox 360.
"NUads marks the beginning of a new era for TV advertising. It delivers the one thing traditional TV advertising is missing - engagement," said Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox LIVE Entertainment and Advertising. "We developed NUads to breathe new life into the standard 30-second spot. With NUads, brands can get real-time feedback from audiences, making TV advertising actionable for the first time."
"The creative possibilities of NUads are endless. We can take a 30-second TV spot and customize it for NUads to get an immediate response from Toyota's customer," said John Lisko, executive communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi LA for Toyota. "It allows customers to participate with our advertising, which is really exciting. The interactivity of NUads is leading the industry and changing the way we're connecting with our customers."
The first NUads format to roll out offers polling capabilities that allow advertisers to ask a multiple-choice question during the airing of a 30-second spot. Consumers can enter the poll with a simple wave of a hand or a voice command while viewing the commercial. Consumers get a real-time tally of the answers so they can see how other Xbox LIVE subscribers are voting, and advertisers get real-time feedback from consumers to help inform future campaigns.
The advent of an advertising platform for a gaming console has many implications for the future. Will gamers really tune in to the ads, or will they be annoyed at the intrusion into gaming? Will ad revenues allow for partially or completely ad-supported games in the future? Certainly the interactivity and the tracking features will sound good to advertisers, but it's not at all clear that gamers will respond with delight. What's your opinion?