By Barry Janoff
March 16, 2014: Chevrolet is not the official automotive partner of FIFA and the World Cup, a distinction that belongs to Hyundai-Kia Motors.
But Chevy is partnered with a soccer club that lays claim to 659 million followers worldwide, Manchester United, and the division of General Motors plans to use that strong alliance to pump up its visibility in the months leading to the World Cup this June.
Chevrolet this week launches "What Do You #PlayFor?" a multi-media global campaign intended to "inspire and bring football fans closer to the sport than ever."
"The act of play is a fundamental human need that transcends cultures and impacts all ages," Alan Batey, General Motors evp-Global Chevrolet, said in a statement. "Joyful play is the fuel of ingenuity and imagination for children and adults alike, driving a sense of what is possible."
A launch spot plays out against a backdrop of kids and adults enjoying soccer in a variety of locations — soccer fields, school yards, playgrounds, a beach and even on a roof top — where they answer the question, "What Do You #PlayFor?" "I play to be different . . . for the love of the game . . . for a victory . . . to be my best . . . to be part of a family . . . for the passion . . . for my heroes . . . for honor . . . for my highlight reel . . . to reach my potential . . . "
The spot includes the Chevy campaign tag, "Find New Roads." (See the ad here.)
Via the Twitter hash-tagged "What do you #playfor?" the digital and social media-driven elements of the campaign direct people to a dedicated Web site, where they can share their feelings about soccer through video and share their comments about other videos on the site. Twitter, Facebook and other destinations support the effort.
The campaign comes as Chevrolet, which has been a Manchester United partner since 2012, prepares to replace AON as the club's primary and jersey-front sponsor, which begins with the 2014-15 season. The seven-year alliance was valued just short of $560 million by industry analysts.
It also comes on the heels of General Motors Co's decision to end the majority of Chevrolet automobile sales in Europe beginning in 2016.
According to Richard Arnold, group managing director. for Manchester United "Chevrolet's 'What Do You Play For?' campaign will stimulate global discussion and engagement amongst Manchester United's 659 million followers worldwide and create meaningful change around the world."ddsdf
Manchester United, which plays in the Barclays English Premiere League, said that data its fan base is well-entrenched worldwide, with nearly half of its 659 million followers in Asia, including 108 million in China; 173 million in Africa and the Middle East and Africa; 90 million in Europe, and more than 70 million in the Americas.
The club has more than two million followers on Twitter and 43.6 million-plus "likes" on Facebook.
The club is majority owned by Malcolm Glazer, who also is majority owner of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is listed as the second most-valuable sports franchise in the world, in excess of $3.1 billion, behind only Real Madrid.
Chevrolet and Manchester United also said that "club legends (would) be deployed this year to work with coaches and children in developing regions around the world" as part of Chevy's on-going efforts with the One World Futbol Project. To date, One World Futbol said it has distributed more than 1.5 million "nearly indestructible footballs to organizations working in developing communities" in more than 50 countries "affecting the lives of an estimated 21 million children."
Chevrolet said it is planning "several additional announcements and fan engagements around the world this year" regarding its Manchester United sponsorship and the "What Do You #PlayFor?" campaign.
In addition, the auto brand has targeted July, when World Cup fever will still be high, as the time it would unveil the Chevrolet-branded Manchester United match shirt,
Other Manchester United official marketing partners include jersey-front sponsor AON, Nike, Bulova, DHL, Epson, Thomas Cook, Aeroflot and Singha Beer.
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