As a follow-up to my previous post, Bloomberg just ran the story that the reason for Joel Ewanick’s ouster as CMO at General Motors was his sponsoring of the Manchester United jersey, and the terms (read: cost) of that agreement.

It makes total sense for GM to be on the chest of ManU players. Fantastic global exposure and a very good brand defense strategy.

The real issue, in my opinion, is not cost, but the fact that Ewanick chose Chevrolet as the mark to appear on the jerseys. He made the right move, then completely ruined it by pairing a crappy automobile brand (I’m excluding trucks) with a hugely successful global sports brand.

Great idea! Wrong brand!!!

The right move would have been to put the GM logo on the jersey. Whether or not you like GM’s products, it’s difficult to argue with the company’s success as a global automobile manufacturer. Yes the company has fallen on tough times recently (as has Manchester United!), but in advertising we don’t discuss finance, we exploit emotion.

The money allows Manchester United to continue shopping for global talent (while the Glazers suck the club dry for money), allowing the club to continue asserting itself in domestic and international competitions. And as ManU’s games are broadcast internationally—a huge viewership!—GM will receive valuable brand impressions in both established and emerging markets.

A win-win, if you know how to play it right.

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