P&O signs up to virtual golf guide

Carnival Corporation-owned P&O Cruises and sister brands Princess Cruises and Ocean Village are the first advertisers to sign up to a new CD-ROM-based golf course guide due to be launched this autumn.

The guide, Virtual Caddy, takes golfers on a hole-by-hole tour round individual courses. A dozen clubs have committed, including Wentworth in Surrey, with another 40 close to joining, according to Jim Martin, managing director of Virtual Caddy.

Each course guide combines low-level aerial photography, animated graphics and commentary by course professionals. The guides will run on PCs; alternatively, content can be downloaded to a mobile phone or a personal digital assistant. There is also a website, virtual-caddy.com, where golf fans can subscribe to an online version of the product.

All of the golf clubs involved will be given 2,000 CD-ROMs to distribute to existing and potential members, and Martin plans to sell 18 advertising breaks for each club-specific guide at £1,000 a break per course.

Viewers will have to watch a minimum of 15 seconds of advertising before being able to access information on each hole. The ads can run longer than that, but users will be able to jump straight to the guide editorial content after 15 seconds. Advertisers will also be able to include hyperlinks to 30 megabytes worth of other information stored on the CD-ROM, or, if the user is online, to a relevant website.

In addition to the Carnival Corporation-owned cruise brands, Martin says that Mercedes, MG Rover and Marconi are interested in the product.

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