CMO details Aon's sponsorship of Manchester United

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Chicago—Phil Clement, global chief marketing and communications officer at Aon Corp., Thursday detailed the rationale behind the insurance brokerage's reported $120 million, four-year sponsorship of Manchester United, an English Premiere League soccer club.

Noting the powerful global reach of Manchester United, Clement said the club claims 333 million fans worldwide, which is more than the population of the U.S., Canada and Australia combined. Additionally, he pointed out that 88 million people a week watch the club on television and that its sponsor achieves high brand recognition in South Korea, which is the fastest growing insurance market in the world.

Clement said Aon plans to use the global reach of the sponsorship to accomplish three main goals:

  • Unite the company.
  • Maximize the efficiency of marketing spending.
  • Generate new business.
Aon has been built through about 450 acquisitions in its 23 years of existence. Clement is already using Manchester United as a rallying point. One slogan being used internally is “Aon United 2010.” Clement said this program is working and has inspired at least one employee, global creative director Eric Sawitoski, to get a Manchester United tattoo.

Clement said Aon has used numerous event sponsorships around the globe, from beer tasting events to dragon boat races in China. The Manchester United sponsorship unifies spending and makes it more efficient, he said.

And finally, the increased brand recognition alone may be enough to generate new business. When AIG first appeared on the Manchester United shirt, it made its first appearance on the Interbrand list of the top 100 brands, Clement said.

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