Manchester United Means Global Reach For Chevrolet

For Chevrolet, the big play is getting its logo on Manchester United jerseys on Monday. But the automaker is executing against that in various ways, including the new video content. There’s also an app launching Monday. Paul Edwards, U.S. VP for Chevrolet, speaks to Marketing Daily about what the new jersey placement means and how the automaker is extending it. 

Q: How will having the logo on the jerseys directly build the Chevrolet brand and how long have you been working on the campaign around it?

A: We have been planing it for some time. We know the power of the potential Manchester United fan base: 651 million fans around the world. That shirt change brings increased energy; we see the advantage of that.

Q: Besides the video, how else are you activating against the jersey brand presence?

A: We are launching an app where fans can submit their likeness to be on Manchester United player [virtual] jerseys on the very first day. It’s as if you are on the Manchester United Club. You’ll get a video with your face embedded on a player. 

Q: Is the new video Web only or will it run on TV against matches?

A: The video is meant for online because the club’s not playing right now. But as the season starts or as we have “friendlies” that are broadcast [e.g., Manchester United versus Real Madrid in Ann Arbor, Mich.] we will be running that communication here in the States and then in other markets around the world if they do have contextually relevant media.

Q: Are you doing custom content around the relationship, whether it’s about team activity, or individual players? 

A: I would say our content across football overall is already very deep and very diverse, and there are additional examples with Manchester United. We have other TV or films under “What do you #Play For” but focused on the team. We have a Hispanic version running during the World Cup on Univision today, and we have global content around One World Futbol [a program to bring an indestructible ball to kids around the world]. So we have multifaceted content.

Q: Is Chevrolet going to have experiential components and vehicle displays at Manchester United matches?

A: We will have activation at Old Trafford [ManU’s home pitch], but the majority of our focus is leveraging the global fan base with content that can span the world or digital applications that are able to be used to connect fans globally, versus physical manifestations. 

Q: You’ve been sponsor for over a year now. What results have you seen?

A: Greater awareness of the Chevrolet brand in the markets that we looked to grow in the future, which is where the fan base is concentrated: China, Asia in general, for example. We have seen increased awareness and opinion. But that’s very early and based on somewhat limited progress. We hope to exponentially grow that now that we are the shirt sponsor and will have a much more direct connection to the team. 

Q: Is there U.S. benefit for Chevrolet?

A: Again, the real potential is global because they are, and we are, looking to grow. But that trickles down to each key market -- so yes, the global power is there, but even in the U.S., if you take the match at the University of Michigan in August, that’s a way to reach a fan base here that we haven’t connected with. And that game is already sold out. 

Q: I imagine the U.S.’s run at the World Cup has been a big boon for fandom here.

A: If you look at some of the ratings for premium matches, they are getting 20 to 25 million people watching. And the split between English and Spanish-language [media] is pretty eye-opening as well. It has almost been 50/50 English and Spanish.

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