NEW YORK — General Motors turned one of the most hotly debated sports sponsorship deals of recent years into an advertising reality today by launching a video that celebrates the Chevrolet’s “Bowtie” logo succeeding AON as Manchester United’s match-shirt sponsor.
The nostalgic 60-second spot by Chevy agency Commonwealth shows club legends and supporters singing their “Glory, Glory, Man United” fight song as they march down to Old Trafford football stadium.
Along the way, we see the fans putting on and taking off the club’s previous red jerseys over the years until they catch up to the present — when Man U.’s current stars including Wayne Rooney step forward to unveil the Chevy jersey. “The shirt belongs to you. Always has. Always will,” Rooney says.
Chevy is inviting fans to sign up for an app at www.ChevroletFC.com where they can virtually try on the Chevy jersey. The new campaign is part of Chevy’s global “What Do You #PlayFor” marketing effort.
“Our presence on the new Manchester United home shirt is a highly anticipated moment for the club’s more than 659 million followers around the globe, and for the Chevrolet brand,” Tim Mahoney, global chief marketing officer for Chevrolet, said in a statement. “From the beginning of our partnership with Manchester United more than two years ago, we pledged to bring fans closer the game. This celebration of the new shirt will honor that pledge by making them part of the unveiling.”
The timing works well for Chevy. With Team USA performing well at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, soccer’s popularity is rising in the United States Man U. will play its first match bearing the Chevy logo during the Chevrolet Cup July 23 at the Rose Bowl. The team is playing closer to GM’s Detroit headquarters against Real Madrid on Aug. 2 in Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
GM’s former marketing boss, Joel Ewanick, was roundly criticized for agreeing to pay $559 million over seven years to sponsor the club known as the New York Yankees of international soccer. GM has since decided to end Chevy’s presence in Europe by the end of 2015 to focus on its core Opel brand there.
He was dismissed shortly after finalizing the deal in 2012. But Ewanick publicly defended it as a “no-brainer” during an automotive conference in Las Vegas in 2013.