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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Gamers fight to be living billboards
Scene from Turok
Adopt the name of a dinosaur-slaying American Indian
More than 6,000 people have responded to a marketing campaign that invites humans to turn themselves into billboards.

UK computer games firm Acclaim UK is offering gamers the chance to legally change their name to Turok - the title of their latest computer game.

"We've been staggered by the response," said Shaun White, UK communications manager for Acclaim UK.

"Naturally we are looking at it as an experiment in our marketing strategy. But we've been truly amazed at the reaction we've had," he added.

So-called identity marketing is the latest buzzword in a brand-saturated world, where marketers have seen new mediums like the internet fail to live up to their potential for advertising.

Financial incentive

It is the first time marketers have turned to living billboards and could signal a big change in advertising according to Simon Cantrell of the Institute of Science in Marketing who came up with the idea.

"There could be thousands of people called Pepsi, Brylcreem, Toyota and Yahoo happily going about their everyday lives while subtly communicating the virtues of their brand namesakes," said Mr Cantrell.

Dinosaur from Turok
The foes are bionically enhanced dinosaurs
The website - www.mynameisturok.co.uk - tells volunteer Turoks that they will have to opportunity of "being pioneers - one of just a few taking a brave step beyond the leading edge of marketing practice."

Candidates who agree to change their name to Turok will receive 500 and a Microsoft Xbox console.

According to a UK spokesman for the Institute of Science in Marketing, not everyone is doing it for the money.

"Some do it to have their bit of fame, some because they love the game and others because they like the idea in taking part in a new idea," he said.

So far 6,500 volunteers have applied since the offer appeared on the web but only five lucky Turoks will be chosen.

The name-change will be legally binding for a year, after which time the marketing guinea-pigs can change their names back.

"We are stressing that this isn't something that people can just pick up at the pub on a Friday evening," said the spokesman.

"They have to live with their new identity 24 hours a day and will need to change their passport, driving licence and e-mail address."

See also:

16 Jul 02 | Entertainment
23 May 02 | Entertainment
09 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
28 Jan 02 | dot life
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