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Akriga launches versatile electronic scratchcard technology

6th February 2003: Akriga announces the launch of LiveScratch, an electronic version of the familiar lottery style scratchcard that runs on desktops, laptops, and PDA's and the latest generation mobile devices. Already trialled in a range of different applications, LiveScratch has helped put the Wow! factor back into online marketing.

"For marketers wanting to build brand awareness, accelerate the move of customers to an online environment, increase website stickiness, provide incentives in a novel way or just inject some life and fun into information delivery, LiveScratch provides the perfect tool," explains Adrian Allen, Managing Director of Akriga.

Players use the mouse to scratch off a "top" image revealing another image underneath. The revealed image tells the player whether a prize has been won or not or gives them a lucky number. Alternatively it can simply display a message. The simplicity of the user interface belies the sophistication of the LiveScratch application which allows the competition to be carefully designed with winning ratios, prize allocation and even timing of awards to be preset. It also includes a fully featured back-end competition management system that can be installed within the user's IT environment or operated on behalf of users by Akriga as an Application Service Provider (ASP).

LiveScratch is currently available in two versions; LiveScratch Expo provides a great way of breaking the ice with visitors at trade shows and conferences. Asking visitors if they want to play a scratch card game puts them at ease and starts a dialogue. LiveScratch Expo can run on a standalone laptop making it easy to use and can be set up to capture visitors' details for post show follow up.

LiveScratch Custom is designed to deliver tailor-made web solutions and incorporates Akriga's back-end competition management technology. This enables a wide range of functionality including interfacing with existing systems to ingest the data that drives a competition, delivering lists of prize winners and prizes to a fulfilment house, interfacing to bespoke systems, such as a hotel booking system, to deliver prizes online and in real time.

LiveScratch has already proved its value in a number of carefully chosen trials.

The Abbey National Mortgage Marketing team scored a massive increase in mortgage applications when it ran a promotion last autumn to encourage applications to be submitted online. Mortgage introducers were invited to play an electronic scratchcard for every application they submitted; prizes included Compaq laptops and iPaq pocket PCs. In addition to the increase in business, Abbey National succeeded in effecting a change in working practice that has resulted in speedier processing of mortgage applications and lower transaction costs.

The need to improve its database of travel agents inspired Four Pillars Hotels, in conjunction with their marketing agency Marketing Team Direct as part of their overall strategy, to use LiveScratch Expo at exhibitions it attends. The scratchcard design is based around a photograph of one of the group's most photogenic hotels, Tortworth Court. Scratching away four of the windows reveals one of four prizes to the winners plus a lucky number that is entered into a draw, which required contact details to be registered. Winning odds were set according to a timetable to ensure a steady flow of excitement during the course of a show. At the first show it attended using LiveScratch, Four Pillars Hotels promoted the scratchcard in pre-show mailings and stand traffic was way ahead of the previous year as a direct result.

LegalConnect is the world's largest privately held Conference Call service provider and offers cost-effective, secure teleconferencing for the legal profession. With the objective of reminding potential customers of its services, LegalConnect in conjunction with their marketing agency Marketing Team Direct as part of their overall strategy, used LiveScratch to send each an electronic Christmas scratchcard with a chance to win a free half hour conference call and links to submit contact details or book a conference call., an information site set up to provide support for eczema sufferers and their carers wanted to promote information for managing eczema and also to run competitions on behalf of sponsors. In its first campaign, ran a simple scratchcard which when scratched revealed, on a random basis, one of 20 tips for sufferers. In a subsequent campaign, used LiveScratch to offer users a chance to win products from a sponsoring manufacturer by providing a number which was entered into a raffle.

"Almost every day someone comes up with a new way to use LiveScratch," concludes Allen, "The possibilities are huge and because LiveScratch can be implemented without having to involve the client's IT department, it puts marketers back in the driving seat."

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