Posted April 2, 2013 5:36 pm by with 1 comment

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nuance voice adsConversations, word-of-mouth, chat — it’s amazing how many auditory words we use to describe text-based actions. Replying to comments on Facebook is a conversation, sharing a product review in a blog is word-of-mouth and chatrooms have functioned for years without any chatter at all.

Nuance is going to change that. They’re using voice recognition technology to create ads that actually converse with the consumer. As in “talk” with sound, not just words scrolling across the width of a box.

Nuance’s voice ads borrows from some old school ideas that work. For example, the moving ad. Remember those early banner ads that challenged you to click on a moving target? By replicating the carnival game experience, they got thousands of people to click through to a sales website.

Moving things catch our eye, that’s why video works so well. Add in gamification and people can’t resist. There’s something even more compelling about voice activation. We’d use it to turn the toaster on even if pushing a button was more convenient because it’s fun, it’s futuristic.

Nuance packed all of those elements into an ade for a make-believer product. Here it is in action:

Pretty cool (they released this yesterday, but it’s not an April Fool’s joke, is it?)

Because these ads are designed for mobile, they can react based on location. I could see a big restaurant chain using this ad to help people find the nearest restaurant. Tell it what kind of food you want and your price point and it leads you there.

Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager for Nuance Mobile says,

“Voice has already changed the mobile interface, making it faster and easier for consumers to discover and access information, and find people and content. Mobile advertising shouldn’t be any different, and should be designed specifically around the unique capabilities of the mobile device.”

And even though any sane person knows that the ad is simply choosing from a random collection of responses, we want to believe, so we will believe. Just like we believe in the Magic 8 Ball, fortune cookies and every silly decision app in the iTunes store.

Voice ads are one step toward creating smartphone and tablet apps that truly take advantage of what these devices do best. Let’s see what else we can come up with.

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