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Toyota, Unilever Among First Buyers For Interactive Xbox NUads

Published on June 15, 2012

Microsoft Corp has announced the general release of its NUads on Xbox LIVE. Among the first buyers are Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile USA, which are developing NUads campaigns to stream on Xbox LIVE this fall. NUads advertisements transform standard 30-second TV spots into actionable experiences using the power of voice and gesture controls of Kinect for Xbox 360.

Engagement is what makes the ads different, 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."

Microsoft released a sneak peek of some of the first NUads that will air on Xbox LIVE this fall, including Toyota’s "Reinvented" ad campaign that premiered during Super Bowl XLVI, and which promoted the reinvention of the 2012 Camry. The ad marked Toyota's return to Super Bowl advertising. Today, Toyota is reinventing that campaign for Xbox LIVE, adding a layer of interactivity enabled by NUads. In this version of the "Reinvented" ad, Toyota asks viewers what they would like to see reinvented. Viewers can then respond using Kinect-powered voice or gesture controls. This gives Toyota valuable feedback it can use for its next campaign.

At first glance—a little underwhelming, according to Adweek. NUads on’t seem to innovate beyond TiVo and Cablevision ads that allow viewers to request more information from or respond to questions from advertisers, or even buy things. Still, with NUads, viewers can respond with hands or voices, rather than just remotes. “I would hope the launch of NUads leverages the platform,” Brandon Berger, chief digital officer of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide told Adweek. But Microsoft counters that it cannot ask TV advertisers to create Xbox-specific spots: NUads can be created from an existing TV spot.

Good enough for Toyota. "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."

Also good enough for Unilever, which owns the Axe brand. Following on the successful campaign for the launch of Axe Attract for Him and for Her, Axe — called Lynx in the U.K. — will be one of the first brands to turn the digital ad into a NUad with Xbox. The creative centers around a cops-and-robbers setup with the tagline, "Nothing will ever be the same again." Using the new format, Lynx will ask the audience if the Lynx Effect should be given to girls. Viewers will have the option of voting "Yes, of course" or "No way" using hand gestures or a simple voice command.

"NUads and the gesture- and voice-based Kinect technology have great potential for creativity. What we're seeing now is at the very early stages of what we could do. And as always, we're keen to continue to explore more ways of inviting our consumers to get involved with our brands," said Babs Rangaiah, vice president of Global Media Innovation at Unilever.

Microsoft Advertising is claiming a younger, male-skewing and decently-wage-earning demographic for its Xbox LIVE advertising. Some figures:
•61 percent male
•39 percent female
•70 percent 18-34
•20 percent 35-44
•88 percent have a household income of greater than $30,000
•37 percent have a household income of greater than $100,000