afaqs!

Microsoft's campus contest reaches out to 250 colleges

By Tarana Khan , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 24, 2008
The contest encouraged students to create websites for their colleges

For & #BANNER1 & # the last eight months, Microsoft has been focusing on college campuses to connect them through its Live services. To connect with the campuses, Microsoft launched the Go Alive Challenge across India, executed by below the line (BTL) agency Jagran Solutions. The contest asked participants to design a website for their campus using specific Live tools.

In an email interview, Rajneesh Chopra, director, Windows Live Commercial, Microsoft India, explains, "Students and faculty can connect online with customised email, share notes, chat, receive alerts on events in the college, set up forums for online discussion, and set up distinctive communities such as dramatics and debates."

Speaking to afaqs!, Ambika Sharma, national head, Jagran Solutions, says, "The campaign's main purpose was to empower students to build an interactive online environment and take online collaboration to a new level hitherto unexplored by most academic institutes in India. It included the insight that most campuses do not provide campus IDs for students to interact with each other."

The contest attracted more than 250 colleges in 74 cities and 3,50,000 students, claims the agency. The participation was mostly from non-metros such as Nashik, Surat, Bhubaneswar and Jamshedpur.

Though the product is online, the promotion of the contest involved a good deal of on-ground activation. Says Sharma, "In all the cities, we appointed a team of three-five students from each campus. Each campus cluster was managed by a relationship manager from our agency. These campus heroes spearheaded the contests on behalf of their campuses." The relationship managers also provided online support to the students.

The winning college, announced in September, was Babu Banarsi Das National Institute of Technology and Management, Lucknow, for its website www.bbdnitm.in. Now, Microsoft is gearing up for the second phase of the campaign.

In the next phase, Microsoft plans to connect the faculty and students with Go Alive Challenge Next. "It will focus on bringing students, faculty members, alumni, parents and the administrative department of the institute into one seamless virtual platform," says Sharma.

Chopra adds, "The new initiative encourages students to build on top of the assets that they had created in the earlier initiative - this time with an increased focus on challenging them to think collaboratively, encourage group creativity and implement as a team."

On-ground activities are essential for Microsoft as these help the company understand the specific needs of its customers, says Chopra.