The Microsoft NewFront had the sleekest staging. It was in the Library Building near Penn Station in a warehouse-like space, set up like a club - complete with book lighting and Celebrities: DJ Mix Master Mike from The Beastie Boys and celebrity host, actor/comedian Craig Robinson.
They did not lack in showmanship. The event opened like this: screens showed the new XBox home screen, and it clicked through to the Bonnaroo music and arts festival in June: http://www.bonnaroo.com. Then it clicked through to artist Lake Street Dive, and then the option to watch live - fade to black, and the lights go up on the up and coming band, who plays us a few songs. Entertaining way to start a show!
And the fun had just started, as celebrity host Craig Robinson took the stage immediately following, with a solo rendition of Weeds theme, "Little Boxes," with the lyrics altered for XBox's offerings.
For all the talk of "interactivity" so far at the NewFronts, XBox was unique in that it highlighted an ACTUAL interactive content experience in the show Possibilia (http://blog.interlude.fm/?tag=possibilia). Directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan aka the DANIELS, create a storytelling experience, where the viewer can choose from a myriad of possible outcomes during a romantic argument. As the viewing is wondering, "am I watching the best version," the characters are wondering, "did I make the right decision in this argument." It's a unique experience, as you can flip from one storyline to the next throughout the film. Check it out - truly interesting and innovative!
It was a great time, and the passed apps and desserts were beyond description in a good way.
Yahoo's NewFront was also in a beautiful location, with powerful purple staging at the tent at Lincoln Center. What made Yahoo's NewFront unique is that it actually addressed the question we have all gathered here this week - how can advertisers partner with Yahoo! What are the advertising opportunities. Ned Brody, Head of Americas, took the stage to share a few examples of marketing partnerships. They also announced a new ad unit called "Splash Ads," high-impact opportunities integrated within the design of digital magazines. Appearing on tablet and desktop, Yahoo Splash Ads offer new ways for brands to share entertaining video or hi-res images with readers. Similar to how readers interact with and share the stories, images and videos on Yahoo’s digital magazines, these ads are designed to be just as compelling as the content around them. These ads, while beautiful, seem like rich video banner ads.