AdTonos Debuts Commercial Radio Ad Campaign in London on Smart Speakers

AdTonos, a digital advertising service for audio platforms, has debuted what it calls the first real-time interactive ad for commercial radio. Londoners listening to commercial radio through a smart speaker are getting the chance to talk back to an ad for the newest Audi model and book a test drive using AdTonos’ new YoursTruly feature. The new ad takes the experiments by streaming services like Pandora and Spotify with the concept to a much wider potential audience.

YoursTruly Talk

The ad plays much like any other car commercial heard on the radio, but people using a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa-powered smart speaker to listen to one of three radio stations are then asked if they would like to book a time to take the car for a drive. If the listener says yes, the ad uses geolocation technology to determine the nearest Audi dealer and start the booking process. AdTonos partnered with Octave, the owner of many radio stations, including the three used in the initial roll-out, and Omnicom Media Group, representing Audi.

“YoursTruly is set to drive unprecedented progression across the audio advertising industry,” AdTonos CEO Michal Marcinik said in a statement. “By allowing advertisers to dynamically insert interactive ads in live radio content, the tool paves the way for instant, two-way communication that will not only increase conversions, but also forge stronger links between advertisers and valuable radio audiences.”

Ad Chat

Interactive audio advertising started appearing a few years ago in experiments by startups like XAPPmedia for streaming services from NPR, Spotify, and mobile apps published by individual radio stations. XAPP later ran a number of what it calls Voice Landing Page ads through commercial radio on smart speakers which also could support broadcast. These worked similarly to AdTonos’ platform, prompting new listeners to say a specific phrase that would invoke an Alexa skill. This approach was designed to both drive consumer awareness and create interactive engagement with a voice app that a possible customer might normally never discover.

Given the benefits, it is not surprising that Audi wanted to try out the AdTonos ad format. And, since audio content is increasingly delivered digitally now, the difference between the new ad and one on Spotify isn’t as large as it might seem. The approach pioneered by XAPPMedia and now employed by AdTonos is a simple way to use an analog spoken phrase to create a bridge between two digital platforms. Eventually, this may be offered as a feature inside of Alexa skills and Google Actions, but today the speech-based bridging technique is a good option.

A New Type of Interaction

There are other notable variants of the ad model tested on the streaming services. For instance, Pandora expanded its own interactive ad campaign in July, about a year after its first release. Those ads are built around more immediate needs than cars but only asked if the listener wanted to get more content related to the product. Spotify has also run a couple of different interactive ad campaigns for Unilever brands as well as an experimental voice campaign in the UK cosmetics firm Nars.

The idea is even spreading to television with voice-enabled remotes on Peacock, NBC’s new streaming service. If AdTonos’ service takes off, it could bring interactive audio ads to a huge number of smart speaker users. The real trick will be if people can hear and choose to talk to the ad while driving and listening to the radio. Still, starting with a campaign for cars, a purchase people don’t make nearly as frequently as food or cosmetics, emphasizes how much faith the advertisers and their clients have in the medium.

“The first-of-its-kind campaign we deployed for Audi lays the foundation for audio and voice advertising innovation globally,” Omnicom Media Group futures director Phil Rowley said in a statement. “As the channel continues to grow – with the global voice-based smart speaker market predicted to be worth $30 billion by 2024 – we’re keen to continue exploring audio’s strengths as part of fully integrated marketing strategies.”


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