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Going Interactive: JWT Helps Sprint Find Ways To Hook Up Directly With Customers By Daniel S. Levin

SAN FRANCISCO – J. Walter Thompson here is exploring several options with its client Sprint to integrate the use

JWT executives have presented an overview to Sprint on the advertising options available through new media that utilizes the merging of telecommunications, television and computers. In the next several weeks, the agency is expected to present specific proposals to Sprint designed to make use of the new technology.
Agency executives would not provide specifics on the proposal they expect to make, saying only that they will include interactive TV, where cable subscribers are wired with smart boxes that allow them to communicate directly with advertisers through the push of a button. Sixty such services are available in 20 test markets nationwide.
One such test under consideration is Time Warner’s in Orlando, Fla., where 4,000 homes are being supplied with printers and push-button devices connected to their TVs. Such an arrangement would allow an advertiser like Sprint to offer consumers a sample bill at the press of a button that would, for example, compare Sprint costs with others.
Sprint has already taken some steps in the direct of interactive media, albeit on a very basic scale. By calling an ‘800’ number, detailed information about Sprint’s small business plans are instantly faxed to the interested caller.
The company also expects to expand its use of the on-line computer service Prodigy.
JWT’s efforts grow out of a continuing new-media study group the agency established three months ago. The group, which is now completing initial research, will soon begin making individual presentations to agency clients.
‘There’s a ton of press about the technology as it relates to information and entertainment,’ said David Reimer, JWT vp/account director on Sprint. ‘Clearly there’s going to be a lot of money for cable systems and broadcasters, but the question is how do mass marketers tap into this.’
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