Almost unheard of Aviva has to spend fortune to change name

Aviva is to launch a £9m pound advertising campaign on Boxing Day to ditch the Norwich Union brand by June 2009 the company has told local businesses, local paper the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) reports.

The ads will star celebrities who have changed their name, such as Bruce Willis, Alice Cooper and Ellie Macpherson.

The EDP says John Kennedy, NU’s director of business development, told the Shaping Norfolk’s Future conference at the John Innes Centre that the campaign would be launched on Boxing Day, nationally, on TV.

“He said it was critical they got the rebranding right and that creating a global brand was key for the company, described as the fifth largest insurance company in the world, with £50bn annual sales,” the paper says.

The EDP says market research had shown that when asked to name an insurer 50% said NU and nobody said Aviva. When prompted, only one in five said they recognised the name Aviva but more than nine out of ten knew the Norwich Union name.

The paper claims the ads will also star Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey, Dame Edna Everage, aka Barry Humphries, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon actress Michelle Yeoh, formerly credited as Michelle King or Khan.

Of the 27 countries in which Aviva operates, only the UK, Ireland and Poland do not run under the brand.

Aviva was unable to confirm to Insurance Times how much would be spent on advertising or whether celebrities would be used.