Michael Dwan
Posted on 3/27/2014

How is Kinect bridging the gap between our virtual and physical worlds? I’ll be revealing the answer in my keynote Beyond Technology: Designing For People today at Advertising Week Europe. During the keynote, I’ll explore how the lines between online and offline are blurring, as technology is taking us beyond the flat surfaces of touch screens and immersing us in augmented visuals, amplified sounds, richer scents and new realms of touch. In the future, consumers will no longer think of being or going ‘online,’ as digital will evolve into a natural extension of the physical world. 

This is one of the main predictions from the Digital Trends Study, research conducted by Microsoft in partnership with IPG Mediabrands, covering over 8,000 people across the UK, USA, China, Brazil, Sweden and Czech Republic. The research was designed to better understand the future of digital and the evolving relationship between consumers and technology. We identified eight trends around today’s user behavior and desires related to data, privacy, creativity, and how technology can enhance our lives – two of which I will be covering in depth later today.

I will also discuss the importance of language, especially how technology is aligning with the communication desires and needs of consumers, and how we, as marketers, are starting to think about language and connections in terms of the brand experiences and campaigns we create. As we know, consumers are making very complex decisions when choosing which communication channels to use – either real-time or asynchronous. As a result, switching from one method of communication to another has become the new norm.

So how do we take what we know and apply it to the world of advertising?

Here’s an example of how we at Microsoft are adapting our thinking to embrace this trend: working with Vans and Rooster Worldwide, we created a campaign prototype for the iconic lifestyle brand using both real-time and parallel forms of communication to convey Vans’ message to the brand’s target audience. In a nutshell, the concept gives two Skype callers the ability to simultaneously design a Vans-branded skateboard park during video call, while the virtual design becomes a reality with the help of a team constructing the park in a studio. As a reward, the pair of Skype callers are then taken on a customized video ride of their unique park with a Vans Pro skater. [If you’d like to find out more, just watch the video that shows how the whole idea comes to life.]

Vans and Microsoft in-app co-ideation prototype

I hope to see a lot of you at Advertising Week Europe but if you’re not lucky enough to be there in person, make sure to follow @MSAdvertising for all the latest updates. And if you’re still looking for an answer to the question about Kinect, I give you Illumiroom with Xbox, the Microsoft Research project that just might transform the way we think about entertainment. Happy Advertising Week everyone!


Michael Dwan, Senior Director, Microsoft Advertising (EMEA)

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