Virgin gears up to enter PEPs arena

Virgin’s joint financial venture with Norwich Union, Virgin Direct, opens this week with a £1m press campaign created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe.

The full-colour ads publicise Virgin personal equity plans (PEPs). Later this year, Virgin plans to extend its product line to general insurance and pensions and back it with a TV push.

Virgin will target knowledgeable buyers initially through the financial press, selling on value-for-money and superior customer service. An open letter from Virgin chairman Richard Branson will be followed by ads claiming Virgin PEPs are 40 per cent cheaper than rival offerings.

Ads will appear in non-financial sections later this year as Virgin begins to target first-time PEP buyers.

The new venture takes the Virgin brand to an older target audience than its previous extensions into vodka, cola and radio. “It is a challenge to convince these people to take Virgin seriously, but this is a serious product,” says Virgin Direct managing director Rowan Gormley.

Virgin aims to capture a ten per cent share of the PEP market before 2000 and has invested almost £30m in the new division.

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