Microsoft's big idea

By Brendan Coyne | 18 June 2013

Microsoft is thinking big. It wants to produce massive touch screen TVs and put its technology at the heart of home entertainment and brand advertising. Its latest ideas combine social communication, branded content, shareable content, gamification and user created content.

Demonstrating its future technology to AdNews at Cannes, Microsoft showed how Skype users, for example, could chat while building their own skate park, taking turns to put in ramps, rails, dips and curves while they chat. Once Skypers have built the park, the application rates what they have created for difficulty levels, big air potential and the like.

Then, via video, a professional skater takes on the course’s ramps, performing tricks in slow motion, so skaters can learn how to nail them. And those slow mo close-ups just happen to focus in on the best kind of branded trainer for the job.  In this case, it was Vans. Then users can share what they have built within their social network.

That’s a lot of adland boxes ticked. It could have major implications for how content and creative is considered.

The demonstration was given on a huge touchscreen TV. Katie Palliser, senior marketing manager at Microsoft, said that was where Microsoft saw an increasingly large slice of the action.

“We focus on smaller devices but we are putting a big focus on big screens both indoor and outdoor.”  

While the room-sized screen in the Microsoft tent at Cannes was a mere $20,000, “it cost $80,000 last year” according to Palliser.

A screen that big with ads that engaging could be a very compelling proposition for brands.  Especially those that sell big, comfortable sofas and those that sell takeaway food.

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