Microsoft Touts the Kinect Effect as Part of Global Holiday Ad Campaign


On Nov. 4, 2010, Microsoft launched Kinect worldwide. A year later, a new Microsoft commercial, above, showcases the ‘Kinect Effect,’ showing how its motion-controlled gaming device has evolved into a product with much broader potential social impact.  

“We started with a sensor that turned voice and movement into magic. We thought: “This will be fun to play with” and it was. Something amazing was happening, the world was starting to imagine things we hadn’t even thought of,” says the V/O from Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker.[more]

The global campaign, created by 215 McCann, launches in the U.S. this week and will run in the U.K., France, Italy and Spain, coinciding with Kinect for Xbox’s first anniversary. It’s also part of Microsoft’s first multi-product global holiday campaign, as seen below:

The tech giant, in a longer video, also promotes its connected vision of the world (this time, based on Office as the glue) as a means to explore how future technologies will impact people’s time, attention and relationships:

It’s the first ‘gaming-free’ marketing Microsoft has run in ten years since it launched the Xbox console and the timing is deliberate to avoid pre-Christmas game promotion clutter.

“What is really exciting to see is how Kinect has inspired people to create and innovate. We call all that organic activity the “Kinect Effect” and (the global campaign) is a video that we produced to share some of those stories to shine a spotlight on what is possible with Kinect, beyond games and entertainment,” commented Rob Matthews, head of global consumer marketing at Microsoft’s interactive entertainment division. 

According to The Tech Observer (via, the Xbox game console is an increasingly useful tool for marketers in attracting male consumers; live sports from ESPN3 are now streamed exclusively on the Xbox.

Chevy has experimented with “Test-drives” of cars and Ford with superimposition of a user’s image in ad backgrounds. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Jeep “released a special edition Jeep Wrangler and a virtual version in the game, which players can ride around in if they figure out how to unlock it. This provides a sense of exclusivity, which helps to engage the male market,” writes PSFK.

“It’s been an amazing 12 months – it’s been absolutely inspiring,” stated Alex Kipman, GM Incubation for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business.  “When you have a great vision you expect it to do great things, but it’s humbling and inspiring to actually see it happen and exceed your expectations in terms of the ability – over a very short period of time – that you have affected the entire world.”

The XBOX Timeline:

2001: Microsoft launched Xbox, its sixth-generation games console 

2002: Launch of Xbox Live online gaming and content platform 

2005: Xbox 360 officially unveiled on MTV 

2006: Original Xbox discontinued 

2010: Microsoft launched Kinect (Nov. 4)

2011: Number of Kinect sensors shipped passed 10m in March. 

Below, Microsoft’s graphic on “The Kinect Effect” in its first year on the market: