Visual Technique in Xbox One’s “Immersion” Ad

Published on December 2nd, 2014 by haberj. Filed under Advertising, New Technology, Video Games


In this ad for the new Microsoft Xbox One gaming console, the director employs several visual techniques meant to target the ad at a very specific population of consumers: young males. A successful advertisement is likable and memorable, and Microsoft’s “Immersion” ad achieves both for its intended audience.

First, the speed of the editing between the gamer’s virtual world and his reality is exceptionally fast, making the ad more dynamic and powerful to a viewer, particularly a male one. The virtual fight scenes are visually compressed into just a few frames, adding to the excitement.

Next, the camera angles chosen for the gamer’s moment of crisis also cause a viewer to identify personally with him. The camera is set behind the gamer, looking into a mirror; knowing the camera is showing a reflection, seeing the gamer’s close-up, fearful look after every apparent injury causes a viewer to experience the same panic that he does. Though this effect would likely be achieved better through subjective, first-person camera, the director’s choice of camera angle still increases the viewer’s level of engagement with the ad (and it therefore makes sense that a young male gamer was chosen as the protagonist).

The subject matter of the ad also makes it more likable for young males; the ad’s director chose a violent video game (and a rather gruesome advertisement) to demonstrate the realism of the Xbox One. Research shows that gamers, particularly youth and males, enjoy virtual violence.

Finally, the surreal nature of the commercial makes it readily memorable. The absurdness of the ad’s montage (the premise that one could experience in-game injuries in reality) enhances viewer recall, according to a 2012 study. Another study from the same year showed that absurdity in a commercial montage improved attitudes towards the ad among males.

It is important to note that the ad is not without its weaknesses. Most importantly, by targeting it so specifically at one population segment, Microsoft has likely alienated female consumers. Furthermore, the ad’s protagonist appears to be having an unpleasant experience switching between realities, which might cause an engaged viewer to draw a negative association with the gaming system. However, overall, this ad seems well-suited for its ideal consumers.


Copyright © 2019 visualinquiry