U. of Kentucky Encourages Students to Check In via Facebook

College Tries Unique Marketing Effort Using Places

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Just weeks after Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook's location-based service at a press conference in Silicon Valley, a Places-based campaign has popped up on a Southern college campus. Literally.

University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. checks into Facebook Places.
University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. checks into Facebook Places.
The University of Kentucky has planted giant, wooden pointer thingies -- like the tab that marks the map in the Facebook Places logo -- on its campus to encourage students to check in at school.

"We're encouraging students to check in, so when they do, it'll show up in their news feed and maybe their friends still in high school will see it over and over again," said Kelley Bozeman, Big Blue's marketing director, adding that the university's marketing efforts are focused on undergraduate recruitment.

So far, there are two large pointers on campus, both nearly as tall as Ms. Bozeman. She says Facebook was not at all involved in the campaign. The university's ad agency, Lexington-based ad agency Cornett-IMS, came up with the idea after Facebook launched the service. The agency commissioned the statues to look exactly like Facebook's icon, except in the university's signature blue.

And, yes, with fleets of young coeds broadcasting their locations on campus, the issue of privacy did come up.

"We do think about privacy," Ms. Bozeman said. "But this is about check-ins during the day, when you're on campus, in the classrooms and going to athletic events. Adults use good judgment. It's not about checking in at home."

The university is now considering whether to make more wooden pointers, or opt for window stickers on the doors of campus buildings to remind students to check in.

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