Do mobile ads annoy you? You’re really going to hate interactive talking ads

nuance interactive ads

Get ready to start talking to the ads on your phone. Marketing firm Nuance is launching a series of interactive mobile ads this month, aimed at letting users carry out an entire conversation before deciding to plunk down any change. The goal is to have a “conversation” with your ads, according to Nuance.

The way it works is, first, an ad will be displayed, followed by a button to start the voice ad. Nuance’s ads can recognize a large amount of words and commands as dictated by individual marketers. Search, Yes, and Email are the most basic phrases you’ll be able to say to your commercials, but as usual, expect the cloud to be the limit on this one.

Nuance believes that, with such miniscule space allotted to mobile ads on such tiny little screens, moving advertisements into a conversational style makes sense.

Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology and Brandwashed, and recipient of TIME Magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People,” is quoted on Nuance’s site, proclaiming, “Nuance Voice Ads is a game changer … never before has a brand been able to have a personal dialogue with over a billion users.”

Nuance’s press release notes that ad networks like Millennial Media, Jumptap, and Opera Mediaworks have already signed onto the project, and will be handling distribution for 100,000 app publishers. And Nuance has stated that other creative agencies have expressed interest in voice-based ad creation as well.

For those worried about background noise interfering with the voice recognition software, you should be relieved that Nuance’s first major success was the Dragon Dictation brand, already well-established in the vocal recognition industry, and currently being successfully utilized on computers, mobile devices, and TVs.

This is exciting, and potentially daunting news. We’re already getting used to conversing with disembodied algorithmic entities, like Siri, but how many of us would actually buy something from her? Amazon is rumored to be converting AI personality Evi, which it recently purchased from a start-up for $26 million, into a voice-based shopping companion. How likely would you really be to click on an ad while playing a game or Web browsing, or entertain even a conversation with an algorithmic salesperson?

We all hate answering calls from telemarketers. Are we really gonna sit back and take the same malarkey from a mobile ad? Have we gotten to the point where we’ll let an AI salesperson sell us cleaning products or junk food in the middle of a game of Angry Birds? Nuance hopes so.

Sadly, if these ads do start gaining traction over the next year or so, we probably won’t ever hear the end of them.


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