On Sunday, December 4, 2011 Microsoft announced the launch of an all-new Xbox 360 experience, which will go live on Tuesday, December 6, 2011. By now there has already been a lot of buzz about the launch including the first group of new, custom entertainment applications on Xbox LIVE. Excitement around these new entertainment offerings has been off the charts and you can read about what this means for Xbox 360 more broadly here.
From an advertising perspective, this launch is significant as it represents a new era of interactive TV advertising and a couple firsts for advertising on Xbox LIVE:
- Standard TV ad spots within traditional TV content like the Today Show and UFC on Xbox LIVE
- Kinect-enabled Branded Destination Experiences (BDEs) on Xbox LIVE
This makes Xbox LIVE the largest next generation TV platform to offer advertisers the ability to purchase 30 second TV spots within entertainment content. It also makes Xbox the only place on TV where advertisers can use the power of gesture to engage with audiences!
From the moment Kinect launched, a little over a year ago, the industry has been asking us, what does this mean for advertisers? There has been a lot of talk about how Kinect voice and gesture controls have the power to transform TV and, in truth, the creative possibilities are endless. But we needed to develop formats to help advertisers take advantage of those possibilities and today I’m pleased to announce that we’ve delivered on that promise. At launch, we now more than 100 unique campaigns running with Kinect-enhanced BDEs, reaching the highly engaged audience of 35 million active Xbox LIVE subscribers around the globe.
Garnier Fructis, one of our newest advertisers, is currently running a campaign on Xbox LIVE that makes interesting use of Kinect-enhanced capabilities. Targeting female Xbox LIVE subscribers, it uses Kinect gesture controls to give audiences the opportunity to sign up for a free sample of Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo and Conditioner and the opportunity to win a year’s worth of Garnier Fructis Pure Clean and an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership. To help create buzz for the promotion Garnier Fructis aligned with the launch of Xbox hit game, Dance Central 2, one of our most popular Kinect games for women.
We’re thrilled to have new, internationally recognized brands like Garnier coming to the platform and think this shows just how much the Xbox LIVE audience has grown beyond the core 18-35 year old male. We know a lot of this growth is due to the general excitement around Xbox 360 as well as interest in the new entertainment partners that were announced this fall.
The second news I want to highlight is about our in-content advertising opportunities. Much has already been said about what the new entertainment partners like The Today Show and UFC on Xbox LIVE mean for advertisers. Now, for the first time, several of these entertainment providers, including The Today Show and UFC, will partner with Microsoft to sell standard 30 second spots within their content on Xbox LIVE. Advertisers can use their existing creative, making it extremely easy to plug in Xbox LIVE to their overall media plan.
Partners are excited about the opportunity to extend their audience reach through Xbox LIVE. Laura Hagen, GM of Brand Solutions with MSNBC Digital Network said, “We’re always looking for innovative ways to deliver value for our advertising partners. We’ve been a trailblazer in cross-platform brand extensions and are excited about Xbox LIVE because it delivers a unique audience who’s truly engaged with the product for hours on end. That’s the perfect environment for connecting with consumers and showcasing premium brands.”
Though we are still in the process of rolling out the new entertainment content applications, which will happen over the course of the next several months, we’re already seeing a lot of interest among advertisers worldwide. For example VivaKi, the strategic entity that combines the media and digital assets within Publicis Groupe, will offer this exclusive opportunity to clients of ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest Group in the UK. VivaKi has purchased all the inventory for in-content advertising through March 2012.
The team at VivaKi commented, “As the world's leading media and digital organization, VivaKi is constantly looking for innovative ways to enable clients to engage with their many different audiences. Working together with Xbox LIVE to allow clients exclusive access to this new platform is an exciting opportunity.”
With the launch of the new Xbox 360 experience, we’re beginning a new era of entertainment on Xbox LIVE with exciting advertising opportunities for brands powered by the magic of Kinect. The new entertainment offerings on Xbox LIVE, give consumers access to the entertainment that matters most to them and brands the ability to advertise within traditional TV content. The news about our entertainment partners and the in-content advertising opportunities takes us one step closer to the promise of NUads, which we announced at the Cannes Lions International Festival last year.
We believe Xbox LIVE is poised to play a significant role in TV advertising in the future. No other network in the world can give advertisers and consumers these types of branded experiences, and we plan to bring even more groundbreaking interactive TV advertising solutions in 2012 and beyond!
Shawn McMichael - Sr. Director of Global Advertising, Interactive Entertainment Business Microsoft Corporation