Groupama 3 is a 32 metre maxi trimaran, built to go round the world in under 50 days and take the Jules Verne trophy.

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GROUPAMA SPONSORSHIP & MARKETING MANAGER, ROGER LAIR, TALKED TO MARIAN MARTIN AT THE LAUNCH OF THE MAXI-TRIMARAN

Marian Martin: How does Groupama quantify the benefits of sponsoring large trimarans?

Roger Lair: We quantify the exposure the boats have received in the media; newspapers, magazines, internet, TV, and calculate what that exposure would have cost. For example, for every hour on TV we can say “If we had paid for that in advertising time, it would have cost €X million.

MM: How do you value internet exposure?

RL: That is not so easy, but there is no doubt that internet exposure is very important and getting increasingly so. We are not, unfortunately, able to quantify this, because the internet is worldwide and it is difficult to know who is looking in our target markets. We have, of course, our own dedicated site for Franck and we want to grow the content.

MM: What about overseas exposure?

RL: Again that is more difficult, but we do know there must be impact though. For example the London - Nice event started with a parade down the river Thames and motorists could see the name from the bridges. We can’t quantify the impact, but we know it is there.

MM: Why a record breaking boat? The Jules Verne attempt will take less that 2 months, but a Volvo Ocean Race entry would be seen for 10 months.

RL: A Volvo entry is very, very expensive; far more expensive than our record breaking programme. Also, in France, which is at the core of our business, the Volvo Ocean Race is not very well covered by the media. So, although this was Franck’s personal choice, it also makes economic sense.

MM: What are your future plans?

RL:  We have a contract with Franck until 2011, so there will be many more races and record attempts.

MM: How do the members of Groupama feel about the money spent on large tris?

RL: They are our first supporters. Groupama keeps them well informed and they are totally behind Franck Cammas.

MM: Thank you Roger Lair.

In December 2006, G-Class afficionados got a shock, when the telecom giant, Orange, announced its decision to turn away from the Orange Sailing Team and focus on youth.

Orange has joined the circle of the partners of the Fédération Française de Voile, as Official Supplier, and became Official Partner of the French sailing schools. Orange says this will bring sailing into the daily news and enable it to help talented young sailors, who will become tomorrow’s professionals.