Microsoft is planning to launch interactive ads on its Xbox 360 streaming services that will rival television networks. The software giant has signed on Toyota, Unilever and Samsung Mobile to offer its new “NUads,” The Los Angeles Times reported. The advertisements will debut this fall and will be found on Microsoft’s Xbox video apps, including those offered by ESPN, TMZ, NBC News and UFC. The first iteration of NUads will let users vote in response to different questions. For instance, Toyota will ask users what other devices they would like to see “reinvented” the way the company has “reinvented” some of its auto models. Users will be able to respond through the Xbox controller or voice and hand gestures with the Kinect. Toyota will then have access to the data and demographic information. Microsoft’s general manager of entertainment and advertising for the Xbox Live online service, Ross Honey, said the company plans to charge a “premium” compared with typical commercial rates. “There have been interactive ads on the Web before, but the beauty of it is that we’re bringing that to the TV,” he said. “It’s a substantially more valuable ad product.” More →
Microsoft recently filed a patent application for technology that would give its Xbox 360 Kinect sensor the ability to read users’ facial expressions and body language, thus enabling Microsoft to send them ads based on their emotional states. Jacob Aron at New Scientist writes that the technology in the patent application “suggests a company could choose which emotions would match to its adverts.” For example, Aron speculates that people who are generally happy might get fewer advertisements for weight-loss programs and more advertisements for new gadgets, while sad people might get fewer advertisements for local night clubs and confused people may get ads from “a technical support firm to help them out.” It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how people react to their own Xbox telling them that they’re depressed, stupid or overweight. More →
Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” painted a scary picture of the future in a number of ways. For privacy advocates, one of several nightmarish technologies used in the film allowed outdoor signs and billboards to play targeted interactive advertisements by scanning the eyeballs of passers-by in order to identify them. Such technology isn’t widely available yet, but Intel plans to take a big step toward a future chock-full of invasive ads when it launches a new TV advertising platform that makes use of facial recognition to target ads to viewers. More →
Apple will soon pay a fine equal to approximately US$2.21 million for misleading the public in its Australian iPad advertisements, The Australian reports. A Federal Court in Australia on Friday confirmed that it was advised that Apple has agreed to settle a case filed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, alleging that the company’s ads touting the iPad as a 4G device were misleading since it cannot connect to 4G networks in Australia. Apple already conceded that it was in the wrong by offering customers a refund if they felt they had been duped. The company is still facing similar claims in both the United Kingdom and Sweden, where regulators are examining whether or not the Cupertino, California-based company’s ads touting the iPad as a 4G device were misleading to consumers. More →
Less than 2% of mobile carriers’ subscribers “Like” them on Facebook despite the millions of dollars they collectively spend in an effort to promote their services on the world’s most popular social network. Facebook made its initial public offering on Friday and while the company’s stock price dipped below the IPO price of $38 on Monday and continued to slide on Tuesday, Facebook’s offering was the biggest Internet IPO of all time by nearly 10 times. There is no denying that Facebook and the 900 million people who use the social network are of tremendous value to businesses looking to promote their services, but mobile carriers have seemingly not found success thus far as they attempt to bolster Facebook fan counts. More →
The effectiveness of Facebook’s advertising was called into question earlier this week when General Motors confirmed that it would be pulling the $10 million the company spends annually on Facebook ads because they are not delivering results. Now, just one day before Facebook’s initial public offering, a study conducted by marketing agency Greenlight suggests that nearly half of all Facebook users will never click on a sponsored post or display ad. More →
General Motors, the world’s largest automaker and third biggest advertiser in the U.S., plans to stop advertising on Facebook, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. After meeting with Facebook managers to address concerns, the company’s marketing executives were left unconvinced of the effectiveness of the site’s advertising methods, claiming its paid ads had little impact on consumers. GM will thus pull its $10 million ad spend, although the automaker will continue to use the social networking site to display free content on its own Facebook page. GM is only skeptical about Facebook, and not about digital advertising as a whole; the company spends almost $300 million each year on digital brand advertising. The news comes at a bad time for Mark Zuckerberg and company, who are on the verge of their initial public offering.
As we get closer to the official announcement of Samsung’s Galaxy S III, more information is beginning to surface. In addition to our exclusive reports on the device’s specifications and materials, we have now learned new details surrounding Samsung’s launch and marketing push for its new flagship handset. We have been told that there will be a huge international roll-out for the Galaxy S III, and the sleek new smartphone will be the official device of the 2012 Summer Olympics — this is one reason we’re told Samsung is hosting its unveiling event in London. In addition, there could be simultaneous launch events in New York City, Seoul and Dubai according to our source. We are also told that the Samsung Galaxy S III will come in two color options, one in blue and black, and a second in white. There will be 16GB and 32GB models as well, and additional specs include a 1080p HD display, a quad-core Exynos processor and integrated 4G LTE. More →
Google on Thursday reported its results for the first quarter, topping Wall Street’s estimates. The Internet giant managed earnings of $10.08 per share on $10.65 billion in revenue, beating analysts EPS estimates of $9.64 and $8.1 billion in sales. Net revenue came in at $8.14 billion after $2.51 billion in traffic acquisition costs, in line with estimates. In the same quarter a year earlier, Google posted an adjusted profit of $8.08 per share $6.5 billion in sales. The company also plans to create a new class of non-voting capital stock that effectively creates a 2-for-1 stock split. The new class C shares will be traded under a separate ticker. “Google had another great quarter with revenues up 24% year on year,” Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement. “We also saw tremendous momentum from the big bets we’ve made in products like Android, Chrome and YouTube. We are still at the very early stages of what technology can do to improve people’s lives and we have enormous opportunities ahead. It is a very exciting time to be at Google.” A letter from Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin explaining the decision to split the company’s stock follows below along with the Google’s earnings release. More →
Nokia’s new Lumia 900 smartphone is getting a huge push at AT&T, but the carrier’s marketing budget for the new flagship Windows Phone won’t quite add up to sky-high figure suggested on Monday. Ad Age published an unconfirmed report on Monday stating that AT&T is preparing a massive marketing blitz to promote the new Nokia smartphone BGR called Windows Phone’s best shot yet to gain ground in the mass market. The carrier will spend as much as $150 million promoting the Lumia 900 according to the report, more than it spent to launch the iPhone. Following our coverage of Ad Age’s report, a trusted source confirmed to BGR that this is, in fact, not the case. Our well-placed source states that while AT&T is planning to push Nokia’s new Lumia smartphone aggressively, the $150 million figure is not even close to reality. This makes sense considering the big budget Nokia reportedly has set aside for the Lumia 900, but our source had no information to offer regarding Nokia’s marketing plans. An AT&T spokesperson declined to comment.
In the coming months, AT&T will spend as much as $150 million to help promote Nokia’s latest flagship smartphone, the Lumia 900. According to Ad Age, the massive advertising budget is even greater than what the carrier spent promoting Apple’s iPhone, which continues to be the company’s top selling device. Since losing its exclusive partnership with Apple, AT&T has been adding smartphone subscribers at a slower rate than rival Verizon Wireless. With other revenue streams drying up, carriers are looking to add new smartphone users to propel growth from profitable data plans. “The bulk of the growth for carriers is coming from smartphone subscribers,” said Chris Larsen, telecom analyst for Piper Jaffray. “They generate higher monthly recurring fees and more revenue.” With Verizon nipping at the heels of AT&T’s smartphone users base — thanks to numerous high-end exclusives —the carrier needs to push its own exclusive smartphones to counter Verizon’s growth. “You can tell when you walk into a Verizon store they’ve made a lot of money selling Android—that’s what they’re promoting,” Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps told Ad Age.
Samsung on Tuesday confirmed that it is teaming up with OpenX Technologies to create a mobile ad platform that will rival Google and Apple, The Wall Street Journal reported. The service will be called Samsung AdHub Market and will enable companies to place advertisements on Samsung phones and tablets beginning in the second half of the year. Potential advertisers will be able to purchase ad space on mobile devices through both app developers and Samsung, and pricing details are not yet known. “This is the first time any device manufacturer has entered the ad tech space in this way,” said OpenX Chief Executive Tim Cadogan. “It is becoming very clear to the principals in the mobile space that advertising is going to be a very important part of the revenue mix.” More →
Samsung’s Galaxy Note “phablet” is a hit, with the company having sold more than 5 million units to end users around the world. While Samsung has not yet shared any region-specific sales data, any success the phone has had in the United States can be attributed to the company’s advertising, a new study suggests. The huge handset’s launch in the U.S. was precluded by a series of ads most agree were not terribly effective — including one where the vendor tried to coin the term “Samsunged” — but the South Korea-based technology giant’s current television ad was recently named the most effective ad of the year so far. Read on for more. More →