Nationwide debuts second iPhone app

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Nationwide Insurance is introducing a new iPhone application. Called Cartopia, the app is designed to help consumers shop for new and used cars.

The application, which launched December 16, was designed by interactive agency Rosetta. Its goal is to acquire new customers by building the brand into the car purchasing experience.

“Our strategy was to create a very practical iPhone app for anyone buying a new or used car,” said Sue McManus, associate VP of interactive marketing for Nationwide. “We know that when anyone is shopping for a used car, their next step is an auto loan and auto insurance. We are giving a brand experience earlier in the process, which we think will put our name top of mind early on.”

App users can enter the make and model of a vehicle they are shopping for to find information on safety, pricing, trade-in value, a monthly payment calculator and quotes on loans. They can also find a local dealer based on their location, and take notes and photos of cars they have seen. The app also lets car shoppers enter the vehicle identification number (VIN) of used cars to get a free AutoCheck vehicle history score from Experian Automotive. Nationwide partnered with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Experian Automotive and IntelliChoice to help provide third party data.

To promote the Cartopia application, Nationwide will run display ads online and on the mobile Web, primarily on car shopping Web sites, beginning December 28. Nationwide's agency of record, North Carolina-based McKinney, is working on the campaign.

The application is Nationwide's second iPhone application this year. The first, Nationwide Mobile, which launched in April, let Nationwide customers locate information about their plans and file accident claims with photos from the iPhone. To date, that app has been downloaded more than 82,000 times, and 248 claims have been started through it.

The mobile strategy fits into Nationwide's overall marketing idea, which is to create utility for consumers. “In our marketing, we are tying to show that Nationwide is on your side and mobile apps are a way to show this in a very modern way,” said McManus.

At this point, Nationwide is only on the iPhone and iPod touch, but it is looking into expanding its applications to other devices.

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