French are trouncing Brits in race to find world’s greatest codecracker

15 May 2006

FRENCH ARE TROUNCING BRITS IN RACE TO FIND WORLD'S GREATEST CODECRACKER
· Countries compete in global online competition· Over 250,000 people visit www.jointhequest.com in search of prizes worth over €200,000
The French are emerging as the world's best codecrackers in the Eurostar Quest which is spreading across the world, ahead of the global release of The Da Vinci Code movie on May 19th.
More than half of all French players have cracked the first level of the competition at www.jointhequest.com, compared with barely a third of British entrants in the competition. In fact, Britain is lagging in last place, behind the Australians, Belgians, New Zealanders and Americans.
Eurostar, the high-speed train operator, has launched the Eurostar Quest with players from across the globe competing for a unique prize fund worth over €200,000, including free travel on Eurostar for life.
The French are also cracking into an early lead in round two, 24% of French players have already completed the second, more difficult, level.
Simon Montague, Director of Communications, Eurostar, commented: "French code-crackers have moved into an impressive early lead in the Eurostar Quest. Now it's time for the British to fight back. We want people in Great Britain to prove they are every bit as good as other nations at cracking the code. The competition has captured the public imagination across the globe and the British will want to prove they're as good as the best."
At the end of the competition, the five winning finalists will be brought to London for a one-night stay at Claridge's, London before travelling by Eurostar Leisure Select to Paris. Once there, they will stay at The Ritz, Paris and take part in the Grand Final, where the world's best codecracker will be crowned.
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The Eurostar Quest in detail:
3rd May - Level One and Level Two of the Eurostar Quest go live. There are 10 puzzles to crack. At the end of each level, players can choose to play a Prize Puzzle and win prizes such as the soundtrack of Columbia Pictures' The Da Vinci Code, Sony PSP games, a collector's edition of The Da Vinci Code book and Eurostar standard class tickets.
19th May - Level Three of the Eurostar Quest goes live. There are 5 more puzzles to solve and a further Prize Puzzle, where players can win Sony PSP consoles, Sony PS2 The Da Vinci Code games and consoles and Eurostar Leisure Select tickets.
25th May - The Grand Prize Puzzle is released. Five players - one each from France, Belgium, Great Britain, US and Australia/New Zealand - who solve the Grand Prize Puzzle in the fewest attempts will go through to the Grand Final in mid-June.
30th May - The competition to win prizes closes but the website stays open so that puzzles can still be played for fun.
Mid-June - The Grand Final of the Eurostar Quest is held in Paris. The winner will receive deluxe accommodation at The Ritz, Paris and Claridge's, London for five years; €180,000 to spend in London and Paris; €10,000 to spend in a "behind closed doors" shopping experience at Galeries Lafayette, Paris; €10,000 to spend as a VIP at Harrods, London with a personal shopper; and other bespoke experiences in London and Paris tailored to the winner's needs.
The Eurostar Quest Partners are:
Virgin Atlantic - will carry prizewinners to London from around the worldSony Ericsson - will supply mobile phones to winnersSony PSP - will supply consoles to winnersClaridge's, London - will supply luxury hotel accommodationThe Ritz, Paris - will supply luxury hotel accommodation and host The Grand FinalTransworld/Random House - will supply copies of the Illustrated Collector's Edition of The Da Vinci Code™ novel2K/Take Two - will supply The Da Vinci Code™ video game for PS2 to winnersDecca Records - will supply the soundtrack of The Da Vinci CodeHarrods, London - will supply a personal shopper and VIP treatment for the Eurostar Quest winnerGaleries Lafayette, Paris - who will close their store for the Eurostar Quest winner to spend in privacy
The Eurostar Quest was conceived by integrated marketing agency, space, and created by digital creative agency de-construct.
Editor's Notes:
1. Eurostar is the fast train service linking London, Ashford, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Avignon, Calais, Disneyland Resort Paris and the French Alps.
2. Eurostar has won the title of "World's Leading Rail Service" for the last eight years at the World Travel Awards.
3. Eurostar and Eurotunnel are two entirely different companies with two different management teams. Eurostar is Eurotunnel's largest customer.
4. In 2007, Eurostar will switch its UK operations to London's St. Pancras International. Journey times will fall further with London-Paris only 2h 15m; London-Brussels 1h 51m and London-Lille just 1h20m.
5. To book tickets for Eurostar, or to find out more information, go to www.eurostar.com, call 08705 186186 or contact your travel agent.
6. Columbia Pictures, part of the Columbia Tristar Motion Picture Group, is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found at www.sonypictures.com
For more information:Eurostar Press Office, T. +44 (0)20 7922 4494, press.office@eurostar.co.uk