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Peacock Ushers in Era of Voice-Activated Ads

(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

Comcast and NBCUniversal have quietly rolled out a new interactive advertising feature on the Peacock streaming service that lets consumers obtain coupons and product information by speaking into their voice-enabled remotes.

Profiled by Variety, the “on command” add feature, as NBCU calls it, has been enabled on Comcast X1 and Xfinity Flex pay TV platforms running the Peacock app since mid-August, with Unilever, Target and Coors among the first advertisers to participate.

One Peacock on-command commercial instructs users to say “save with Suave” into their Xfinity Voice Remote in order to receive a $5 Target gift card. (Suave is a Unilever brand.)

Daniel Spinosa, the Comcast’s VP of video and entertainment, said the interactive ads simplify “the TV experience and makes it much more customer friendly. You are using the remote to move through the experience more efficiently, and that adds value.” 

“The idea that someone could have the option of receiving a coupon or learning more about a product in the midst of watching a show was a really interesting and appealing idea to us,” Rob Master, VP of media and digital engagement for Unilever, also told Variety. “The experience is what you make of it, so you can either decide to engage with the unit and get an offer or simply continue to watch the ad.”

The on command ads are part of a broader strategy. NBCU signed a number of sponsors, which also include Verizon, Subaru and State Farm, to deals that allow the company to experiment with new formats and measurement techniques. 

The Peacock execution probably will be the first of many voice-enabled TV commercials going forward. Music streaming services including Spotify and Pandora have already used the feature in the audio realm, partnering with brands including DiGiorno’s Pizza. 

According to Jupiter Research, approximately 8 billion digital voice assistants, including Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, will be in use by 2023.