On Monday, General Motors finally turned one of the most hotly debated sports sponsorship deals of recent years into an advertising reality 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 kits 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 kit. "The shirt belongs to you. Always has. Always will," declares Mr. Rooney.
Chevy is inviting fans to sign up for an app at www.ChevroletFC.com where they can virtually try on the Chevy kit. 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," said Tim Mahoney, CMO of Global Chevrolet 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 fever is at its peak in the U.S. Man U. will play its first match bearing the Chevy logo during the Chevrolet Cup July 23 at the Rose Bowl.
Joel Ewanick, who held a global CMO post similar to Mr. Mahoney, 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.
He was dismissed shortly after finalizing the deal in 2012. But Mr. Ewanick publicly defended it as a "no-brainer" during an automotive conference in Las Vegas in 2013.