Scandinavian online gambling powerhouse Unibet is to launch its female-oriented Maria brand in the UK later this year.
Maria, whose poker team has led the operator’s push to increase the popularity of online poker among females in its Nordic and continental markets, will be the subject of a TV-led campaign supported by social media in the UK in late 2012. Maria.com will also unveil a new-look website and player interface to coincide with the UK marketing initiative.
The campaign will be the first concerted push of the Maria brand in the UK, despite having operated an English language of the site for a number of years, and will be handled by the WFCA agency. Creative director Greg Phitidis said the company always looked forward to being involved in a new brand launch “because you get to interrupt people’s expectations of a category. The creative for Maria.com was conceived to do just that.”
Swedish online gambling operator Unibet purchased Maria at the height of the online bingo explosion in 2007 for £54m in 2007, eventually taking out an additional credit facility in 2009 to bring forward the redemption of the €100m bond it used to fund the purchase, due to the huge costs of servicing the bond debt.
The female-focused brand offers bingo, poker casino and other games from Maria.com and other domains across Europe, including MariaCasino.dk, MariaBingo.com, MariaCasino.com and a number of white-labelled sites.
Maria Poker was until recently the sole qualification route to the Ladies Side Event at the Unibet Poker Open, but this was changed for this year’s Prague edition. The event was however still won by a Maria Poker qualifer, Asa Holmberg of Sweden.