Norwich Union backs sponsorship with desktop athlete

LONDON - Insurer Norwich Union has launched a desktop application to promote awareness of its sponsorship of UK athletics and the Great Britain team in the run-up to this summer's Olympic Games in Athens.

The Norwich Union "desktop athlete", developed by Skinkers Communications, provides sports news alerts and services, while leaping, jogging and stretching on users' desktops.

"We want to raise our profile of our athletic sponsorship," Matt Hampel, e-commerce marketing consultant of Norwich Union Direct, said. "The application allows us to communicate to people's desktops anonymously -- we don't capture data, but we can send information and alerts out."

Features on the application include links to an RAC route-finder, to be trialled for three-months; a calendar, and the ability to search the web directly from the alerts window. Users can download games, a screensaver of the GB athletics team, and enter competitions.

"We asked why someone would want to download something from the Norwich Union website -- so we tried to create as much functionality as possible," Hampel said.

He added: "The application helps to increase Norwich Union's brand perception and builds an emotional connection with customers and non-customers."

The desktop athlete will be distributed virally from the Norwich Union website, and pushed in an email marketing campaign to the Norwich Union database.

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