REDMOND: Microsoft has announced plans to offer a new kind of interactive TV ad for users of its Xbox Live service.

Writing on the company's blog, Shawn McMichael, the senior director of global advertising at Microsoft's interactive entertainment unit, said new ad opportunities were opened up by the general upgrade of the service, which took place on December 6th.

XBox Live is the online digital media delivery system for Xbox users, and can be used for gaming and web surfing as well as watching films and TV.

The interaction will work via the motion-sensitive Kinect technology, with users able to change features of the ads by gesture, rather than needing to press a button on a controller.

McMichael said that Microsoft had already had around 100 unique campaigns ready to serve to users, each using some form of the Kinect-powered "branded destination experiences".

The firm has also gained agency support from VivaKi, which has signed a deal to purchase all "in-content advertising" inventory for Xbox Live in the UK until March 2012.

Participating brands include Garnier Fructis, a haircare line. Viewers of the new female-focussed Garnier ads can use the controller to sign up for free samples or enter a competition to win a year's supply of the products.

"There has been a lot of talk about how Kinect voice and gesture controls have the power to transform TV and, in truth, the creative possibilities are endless," McMichael added.

"But we needed to develop formats to help advertisers take advantage of those possibilities and today I'm pleased to announce that we've delivered on that promise."

Microsoft Xbox Live will also offer advertisers the opportunity to sell standard non-interactive TV spots.

McMichael said: "Advertisers can use their existing creative, making it extremely easy to plug in Xbox Live to their overall media plan."

Since launching in 2002, Xbox Live has built a global network of around 35m subscribers.

Data sourced from Microsoft Advertising/Fierce Cable/GeekWire; additional content by Warc staff