Akoo Promotes Microsoft Xbox 360

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Microsoft Xbox 360 has launched an advertising campaign for its new controller-free gaming device, Kinect, on Akoo, a Chicago-based social music television network reaching high-value audiences in retail and campus environments across 54 top U.S. markets.

Available in U.S. stores on November 4 and in additional markets by year end, Kinect plugs into Xbox 360 consoles and features video and audio sensors that eliminate the need for a traditional controller. Players use body motions and voice commands to play games, watch movies, and interact with other Xbox Live subscribers.

The ad campaign on Akoo – themed “You Are the Controller” – features a series of long-form audio-visual ads introducing the Kinect experience and highlighting several Kinect launch games, including Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures. To support Microsoft’s video ads, Akoo designed additional overlay ads – ad units that animate as a layer over Akoo programming, such as a music video – with ‘You Are the Controller’ messaging.

Akoo programming and advertising is delivered on up to 20 big-screen HDTVs in each location, deployed in pairs to obtain full coverage of each seating environment. A professional audio system monitors ambient noise and automatically optimizes volume to provide an immersive audio-visual entertainment experience. Scheduled network programming includes licensed music videos from all four major record labels, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI, exclusive artist interviews, and original content.

The interactive nature of Akoo’s network adds another dimension to the ‘You Are the Controller’ campaign. Akoo enables consumers to participate in the programming experience using their mobile devices. Viewers can discover content codes and request on-demand music videos via SMS text message or mobile app.

Viewers can also access Akoo’s free Wi-Fi service to interact with programming, as well as participate in location-based mobile services, mobile couponing, and digital marketplaces. Research has shown this results in deep consumer engagement and marketing effectiveness. Akoo received a U.S. patent for its interactive technology in Jan., 2010.

Microsoft Xbox 360 first advertised the Xbox 360 game console and Kinect on Akoo in Q4 2009, when Kinect was still called Project Natal. An independently conducted Advertising Effectiveness study found that 52% of viewers who recalled seeing an Xbox 360 ad on Akoo said they were more interested in purchasing an Xbox 360 game console, while 63% of viewers said seeing an Xbox 360 ad on Akoo improved their opinion of the game console. And 65% of viewers were not aware of Project Natal prior to seeing the device advertised on Akoo.

Microsoft executives have publicly stated that they are focused on introducing Kinect to a new audience – moms and dads – in addition to younger demographics and core gamers. Akoo provides the advertiser with an innovative, technology-driven way to connect with engaged shoppers who are steps away from the retail transaction point.

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