College campuses converse with kiosks

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Students interact for coupons, course offerings and event info

Students aren't the only ones headed to school this fall.

On Sept. 15 a kiosk named Ike will join students on 15 U.S. college campuses, offering university-related information as well as content from marketers including American Express Travel Related Services, The Wall Street Journal and Warner Music.

Ike, short for Interactive Kiosk Experience, will help marketers break the "campus bubble," said Irv Burnstine, president-CEO of Miami-based Interaction Media Corp., Ike's parent.

Interaction hopes to expand the test to 45 schools by yearend.

The 15 schools involved in the one-semester test--including Oklahoma State University, Arizona State University and University of Rhode Island.

Each has several thousand students, a diverse student body and strong student union facilities with heavy foot traffic, said Jeff Scult, Interaction's director of interactive marketing and a former account manager with Ketchum Advertising, San Francisco.

"What we've discovered is a way to get students the information they want, when they want it, and to speak to them in a language they love, which is technology," Mr. Scult said. "We're offering an access point that blends with their daily routine."

The nine-foot-wide, eight-foot-tall, three-panel kiosk has a telephone handset and six monitors. Two screens play continuous messages from marketers and lure students to touch-sensitive screens below that provide school-related information, such as campus maps, course offerings and events. Students also will be able to retrieve transcripts and financial aid information. Schools use software from Campus Interaction, the Interaction Media subsidiary overseeing the test, to enter new information on a daily or weekly basis.

For marketers, a built-in printer will generate bar-coded coupons. The system will track responses and provide a list of interested students to marketers whose content was accessed. The cost for marketers to participate in the test is less than $1,000 per school per month, said Mr. Scult. Schools get the kiosk for free.

Warner divisions Atlantic Records, Warner Bros. Records and Elektra Entertainment will allow users to sample new music selections. Ike's software application will allow Warner executives to custom-create their own images and repurpose content between digital applications. "It's a pretty compelling sampling device," said Sandy Smallens, director of multimedia at Atlantic Records.

AmEx, meanwhile, will use the system to electronically sign up new card members. "It's very important to get students brand-loyal early," said Mary Ann Fitzmaurice, senior manager-student marketing. "This seems to be the wave of the future. We're looking at this as an acquisition vehicle, as well as giving our students another medium for offers."

Other schools involved in the pilot launch include Oregon State University, University of Pittsburgh, Southern Methodist University, De Paul University, Southern Illinois University in both Carbondale and Edwardsville, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Kansas State University, University of Wyoming, Prince George Community College (Maryland), Catonsville Community College (Maryland) and Fresno State (Calif.) University.

A print campaign, developed in-house and themed "Just ask Ike," will run in campus newspapers.

Copyright September 1995 Crain Communications Inc.

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