Kinect is the new motion sensing device for Xbox 360, and many are enthusiastic about its potential for games. However, at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Microsoft showed off its potential for brands as well. The Chevrolet Volt factored largely into this and we talked with Mary Kubitskey, National Advertising & Sales Promotions Manager for Chevrolet, to get their half of the story.

How did the collaboration with Microsoft for the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival come about?

We were looking to launch Volt in a unique way; we were looking for different places to go with that because it’s an innovative car so we needed to innovate on the advertising side as well.  We love to talk to companies that do that same thing, and Microsoft really fit the bill.

I saw that the way that the Volt is unlocked in Kinect Joy Ride is by watching a video advertisement in the Xbox Live dash.

See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Initially, the people who are going to embrace that new Microsoft technology are going to be important early influencers, and they were looking for people who are a good match for that. Volt is also a leading edge technology, so it fit together perfectly.

Tell me about some of your mobile brand experiences you’re considering, like using Bing, reserving to test-drive a Volt and the Windows Phone 7 initiative.

What you saw in Cannes . . . was all preliminary. We’re looking to launch the Volt in September, so what we premiered in France was showing potentially what technology could be used to enhance the brand, so we had a lot of fun with it. Our thoughts were that you could interact with it everywhere, be it mobile, with Kinect, or Microsoft Surface, so we threw a bunch of ideas out there.

However, even if some of the creative you saw ultimately doesn’t end up happening, Volt will still be in Kinect Joy Ride.

The 2011 Volt, on what appears to be a putting green.

Tell me about the ability to examine the Volt exterior and interior and why you think this will be important for automotive purchases going forward.

The technology allows you to interact with whatever medium you’d like for a virtual test world. It’s great for Volt; using it, you could build your own car, try different colors, see how the seats and dash might look different. It’s something that you could do before you go down to the dealership and it’s better than a catalog or a website.

Talk to me about the potential to show off Kinect Joy Ride at Chevrolet’s promotional events and showrooms.

The two opportunities that stick out are with the dealership experience and at autoshows. Kinect technology at the events is great because it lets us get out the experience everywhere. It’s just like with some of the smartphone or PC initiatives; people could interact with a push of a button and get a screensaver or send an image to yourself.

Sounds like you’re bullish on the Volt being the face for the “new” Chevrolet as it were, being the model of the future for the brand.

That’s a big part of what the Volt will be for Chevrolet. The car is the most innovative GM has ever built. Most electric cars have between 80 and 100 miles in range. Volt can generate its own electricity using a gas engine, so it changes the game. It’s huge for the automotive industry. This is the first of probably several things that you’ll see from GM.

On a side note, will we see the Volt in Transformers 3?

The Volt was in Transformers 2, actually! He wasn’t one of the main characters, like Bumblebee as the Camaro. You will definitely see Chevrolet cars in Transformers 3.

Also, was there any truth to the rumors that Chevrolet was looking to abandon the Chevy nickname internally?

There’s no way we could stop Americans from using a beloved nickname like that!

Thanks Mary.