Lastminute in link with Palm claims to be breaking new ground with so-called viral marketing, which relies on consumers to spread the word.

The website has developed a football game for Palm, the market leader in personal digital assistants. Palm-owning England fans will, from this week, be encouraged to play the “Extra Time” game, which can be downloaded from the website or beamed by infrared from one Palm to another.

The football game is the first of several sports-related initiatives over the summer. The idea is to show the company’s cross-platform availability, including the Palm, WAP and interactive digital TV. The campaign is also meant to reflect “extensive” sports-related offerings on the website.

The Palm’s infrared also allows the football game to be played by two players at the same time, which should act as further encouragement to pass on the software. head of UK marketing Carl Lyons says the campaign “takes PC-based viral marketing to a new level. Using new platforms as marketing tools reflects the way in which people use technology in their everyday lives.”

Lastminute has also signed deals to offer localised WAP services with two of Europe’s largest mobile phone operators, T-Mobil (Deutsche Telekom MobilNet) and France Telecom (Itineris).

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