Kinect Lets You Interact with Ads

Is there a way to make advertisements more enjoyable? Microsoft thinks so.

Erik Norrisby Erik Norris


I think I speak for everyone when I say advertisements suck. Whether you’re watching a television show, checking out a video on YouTube or playing a game, when an ad pops up it’s always a nuisance. Unfortunately, it’s also become a staple of business, a necessity.

But what if advertisements could be made less of a bother and more beneficial to those watching them? That’s exactly what Microsoft plans to do with a new interactive advertisement campaign called NUads, which lets Xbox owners use their Kinect to turn ads into interactive experiences.

While talking with the New York Times, Microsoft’s general manager of advertising, Mark Kroese, explained that NUads is a way to address one of advertising's largest concerns.

"When you have highly interactive people and a passive medium, they are interacting with their phone or their laptop while watching TV,” said Kroese.

NUads will “create a natural way for the user to engage with the TV.”

Players will be able to use the Kinect’s voice recognition to say phrases like “Xbox Tweet” to share the ad content on your Twitter feed, or “Xbox More” will send users more information about the product. Furthermore, Xbox users can say “Xbox Schedule” to have a reminder about an upcoming TV show sent to their phone. Finally, “Xbox Near Me” will bring up a map and give you directions to the nearest retailer offering the product you just saw.

Is the idea neat? Sure. But is it something we’ll actually take advantage of? That remains to be seen. Advertisements have a stigma. They are the devil to many. I know when I use Comcast and see one of those “learn more” ads within an ad, I immediately roll my eyes and flip the channel. I think it’s going to take more than just a few voice recognizing phrases to sway people into actually enjoying and taking advantage of this incentive that, for all intents and purposes, keeps you away from the TV you want to be watching or the games you want to be playing.