M'M, M'M, INTERACTIVE: CAMPBELL TESTS KIOSKS

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Campbell Soup Co. is testing an on-shelf interactive kiosk in 75 grocery stores nationwide that offers coupons, suggests recipes, plays commercials and simplifies finding each variety with customized directions.

A product of InterMedia, Owings Mills, Md., CampbellVision will test for six months. The plan is to take the kiosks into 5,000 to 15,000 high-volume chain and independent stores if the test is a success. Campbell has a contract with InterMedia for six months' general exclusivity and three years in the soup category.

"We were looking at different things to be more effective at point of purchase and we were taken back by the potential for us with this," said Terrence Atkins, Campbell director of promotions-soup.

Mr. Atkins wouldn't project expected sales gains but said, "if we're in the neighborhood of even 2% to 3%, that's significant volume for us."

Campbell controls the $2.5 billion canned soup category with a share approaching 80%. Stores won't be paid for using the 13-inch screens, but will have to either enlarge the soup section or reduce space for rivals to make room.

Two stores have carried CampbellVision for two and four weeks but haven't yet calculated the unit's impact on sales or coupon redemption.

"Any time you can bring people into a section, it's good," said Al O'Connelly, assistant director at Super Fresh, Lumberton, N.J., a division of A&P. "We get crowds around it. It's a novelty item, particularly with kids."

But some consultants say the novelty cuts both ways. "How friendly and how fast it is will have an influence on its future," said Barbara Lawrence, co-president of Lubin Lawrence, a consultancy in New York.

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