General Motors is still confident in the $559 million investment it made to have the Chevrolet logo appear on the front of English soccer club Manchester United’s jerseys, despite the team’s underwhelming performance last year. The team missed out on major TV exposure as a result of them not qualifying for some of Europe’s major tournaments, which has led industry analysts to say the automaker overpaid for the prime real estate on United’s jerseys. The deal seemed even more fruitless after it was announced Chevrolet would pull out of Europe last year.
But Chevrolet’s top marketing executive, Tim Mahoney, asserts that the deal was done to help reach out and bring brand awareness to United’s fans, who are located all over the world with a significant concentration in Asia, where GM has core business ventures. The deal is also more than a logo on a shirt, Mahoney explained to Automotive News. The company is immersing itself in the club’s culture, connecting with its fans online and launching a global, soccer-related marketing campaign.
“We’re buying into the brand,” Mahoney said. “Any great brand has a whole history and a heritage behind it. We’re in it for the long haul.”
For example, the brand created a video for the launch of teams new jersey, or ‘kits’, showing United fans wearing the club’s various jerseys over the years. The video is available at www.ChevroletFC.com, where fans can also upload a photo of themselves wearing their Manchester United jersey. The company also offered test drives in vehicles and other attractions at the team’s game against MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy last week and will do the same when they play Spain’s Real Madrid at Michigan’s Big House next month.