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Nuance's Talking Ads are No April Fools
By: Brian Perry
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It might have been April Fools' Day yesterday, but the news coming from Nuance about a new talking mobile ad feature isn’t a prank. Nuance is rolling out a new smartphone ad product named Nuance Voice ads. The gist of the product is quiet simple: ads that you can talk to. “Imagine talking to the Old Spice guy or the Geico gecko,” said Nuance chief marketing officer Peter Mahoney. This would have been an awesome product when I was growing up as I always wanted to talk to the Domino's Noid.
With this announcement ad agencies will be quick to try and develop creative that will talk directly to consumers. In a story off of Boston.com by Chris Reidy, Mahoney talked about how the consumer might check a smartphone app while waiting for the bus. The app might have an ad for a local coffee shop. If the consumer opted in, the ad might ask, “Are you a black coffee guy or a latte guy?” If the answer was “latte,” the ad might then offer a discount coupon that could be redeemed at a nearby store.
Think about the amount of engagement a company can now have with a consumer. For those of you that have an iPhone or already know about Siri, think Siri plus product placement and you have Nuance. Add in the fact that Nuance will be geo-targeted and you get a perfect ad communication scenario. Imagine that you are driving down the road and Ronald McDonald starts talking with you about the newest offer at the McDonalds you are driving near. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?
But in the words of Lee Corso, not so fast, my friend. The flip side to this new news is, will this technology go from novel and innovative to annoying and obtrusive? Will smartphone users get frustrated when trying to get information about getting directions to a store and have to deal with talking ads? Will this new technology go the way of web pop-up ads and become obtrusive thus causing consumers to ignore the ads?

The bottom line is that this new smartphone ad feature will be fun to play with. Advertisers will think of exciting ways to engage their consumer bases. Personally, I can’t wait to talk to the Geico gecko; maybe I can talk to Flo from Progressive Insurance at the same time and compare rates. You’ve got to love new technology!

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About the Author
Brian Perry is an accomplished communications professional with expertise in all aspects of successful marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions, and social media. Brian's outside interests consist of Hockey, Lacrosse, Insanity (basically any type of sport), books, and family time. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter
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