Insurance giant hits the road to rebrand

DETROIT: UnumProvident, the insurance supercompany born out of the

merger of John Hancock, Provident, and Unum, last Tuesday launched an

11-city national trade show on wheels.

Dubbed the America @ Work Tour, it features a 4,500-square-foot

interactive exhibit hauled in a custom-designed 58-foot-long

tractor-trailer truck.

While trade shows in general are not unique, the $1 million-plus

UnumProvident venture is the first independent direct-to-customer

approach on this scale to be employed by a major insurance provider, the

firm claims.

Juliann Kaiser of Duffey Communications, the Atlanta-based PR agency

handling the tour, said that it's rare for large-scale commercial

efforts of this type to be limited to b-to-b audiences.

The America @ Work Tour truck will log 10,000 miles on its 10-week

cross-country journey, and is expected to attract more than 3,000

insurance brokers and corporate employee benefits managers to

invitation-only events.

The tour will make stops in Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, San

Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, New York, Washington,

DC, Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta.

The tour is intended to rebrand the merged entity to key constituents

and present analyses of workplace trends, as well as show employers how

to improve workplace productivity and benefits. "Insurance has been a

conservatively oriented industry, and (insurance companies) have not

been aggressive marketers," said UnumProvident VP of corporate marketing

Keith Hickerson. "We're selling intangible products a lot of the time,

and we wanted to show in a very tangible way what we're about and what

we're trying to do for our customers."

Following the tour stops in each city, Hickerson said the company will

continue to interact with attendees through an e-mail-based program.

Attendees will also receive a CD-ROM with a virtual tour of the company.

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