By Gillian West, Social media manager

February 18, 2013 | 4 min read

Microsoft Advertising has unveiled collaborations with four creative agencies, launching beta tests of its new Ads-in-Apps platform, according to Stephen Kim, general manager of the global creative solutions team at Microsoft Advertising these betas are “the first steps into crafting a new kind of advertising experience”.

For the betas Microsoft Advertising worked in collaboration with Razorfish, Universal McCann/Sapient, Team Detroit and This is Tommy on four Ads-in-Apps creatives.

Speaking to The Drum, This is Tommy’s managing partner Chris Edwards, who worked on a beta test promoting the new Tom Cruise movie Jack Reacher, commented: “On the whole it was very much a collaborative exercise with both Paramount Pictures and Microsoft.

“There were no limitations as to what we could do, and as an agency there really is no better place to be. The experience was creative-led rather than hindered by technology, almost as if the technology was secondary to the creative needs. When we asked Microsoft if something was possible within the platform they said give us five minutes and we’ll find out, and if it’s not we’ll make it possible.”

From Microsoft’s perspective, Kim explained that the developers chose to work with agencies directly: “It’s the creatives who are working with the brands and clients every day who come up with the ideas and we needed to create something that would work for them…what we as developers can imagine does not match what the creative community at large can envisage,” he explained.

In an interview with The Drum back in November, Microsoft Advertising’s general manager of the display advertising experiences business group, Jennifer Creegan explained that Ads-in-Apps aimed to offer consumers and advertisers something more than a “flat” advertising experience by “bringing together everything from image, text, television and audio into a unique digital experience”.

Edwards echoed Creggan’s earlier sentiments adding that Ads-in-Apps is “very different from traditional mobile advertising.” Speaking of the Jack Reacher campaign in particular he continued “we harnessed the touch function, allowing the creative to interact with consumers in a different way.

“The creative featured Jack Reacher’s gearstick from the film and by placing it within the ‘Top Gear’ app we were completely in keeping with the petrol heads who would be engaging with motor content in that app. Users could control the gearstick and shift from gear one to two to three and each one would give the user a different piece of content, be it an image gallery, a trailer or more information about the movie.”

According to Kim, Ads-in-Apps wants to move away from an “interrupt and repeat” experience and deliver “positive advertising experience”. Discussing This is Tommy’s Jack Reacher creative Kim says: “it was all about bringing the enjoyable experience of film and cinema into a tablet experience, being entertaining and matching the tone and message of the film”.

Edwards comments: “the fact that the users is in an app means the creative has to be more than a display advert, it’s an immersive brand experience. At the end of the day, it’s about delivering more than a ‘click’, it’s about transporting the user to somewhere they’re comfortable engaging with within the app, delivering contextual advertising, and letting them go back to where they were in the app seamlessly.”

Early feedback on the platform suggests a “positive reaction” to the beta tests says Kim; “the next step is where can we go from here towards more innovation and delivering beautiful, useful, and relevant experiences that stand apart from other kind of advertising…establishing connections between the consumers and brands that haven’t been possible before,” he reveals.

As part of the beta test’s Razorfish’s ad for Delta is live within the NBC News app, Universal McCann/Sapient’s campaign for Jeep can be found within the AccuWeather app, and Team Detroit’s Ford app is running within the Chicago Tribune Business Section.

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