February 4, 2010

Getting a career in insurance recognised as a profession may be a distant dream, but insurance people can still do what real professionals do and patronise Britain’s most upwardly mobile mainstream spectator sport, rugby union. And so they often do.

An astute move, then, for QBE to sign a four-year deal with the RFU to act as England Rugby’s official insurance partner (do they have an official pet food partner or an official sanitary products partner?)

QBE’s Helena Christensen said the deal “complements our existing portfolio within rugby union.” They already sponsor the Guinness premiership, which means logos on shirts (lots of shirts) and, as those Mancunian injury-time goal specialists well know, three letters look great on a shirt. Sorry to lower the tone by referring to the round-ball game.

Anyway, to celebrate this exciting opportunity to spend vast sums on brand awareness and hospitality, QBE projected a giant picture of Steve Borthwick, Lewis Moody and Jonny Wilkinson (the latter in his trademark prayer/paternity posture) on to the old flat bit (not the complicated tubular bit) of Richard Rogers’ landmark Lloyd’s Building, along with those words of encouragement so often and so tenderly no doubt mouthed by French model and actress Vanessa Perroncel over the last couple of years: “Stand Tall England.”

Helena Christensen said being the first “to project onto a building in the City is a real coup.” Without wishing to rain on anyone’s parade, Bankstone News feels obliged to note – as anyone who’s ever had the misfortune of finding themselves near Fenchurch Street Station late on a Friday night will surely attest – that projecting onto the side of City buildings is a lot more commonplace than she appears to suppose.

At any event, the sponsorship is clearly just what QBE needs at this point in its development. ”Despite QBE being one of the UK’s largest insurers of business risk,’ commented Steven Burns, chief executive of QBE European Operations, “we are not a recognisable brand.”

Good news too for all friends of QBE with a penchant for spending time with the Barbour-clad hoards as they traduce the memory of African American slaves’ historical aspiration to an eventual release from earthly suffering in a version of one of the few songs slow and simple enough to be mastered by English public schoolboys, complete with hilarious masturbatory hand gestures.

Any chance of a couple of tickets for England v France in Paris on March 20th?



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