From Football To Futbol

Americans are fascinated with Super Bowl advertisements. Some people go as far as to watch the entire game just for the commercials. Companies, especially in the auto industry, buy their 30-second spots up to a year in advance in anticipation of reaching roughly 110-115 million people. “CBS has sold more than 50% of its ad inventory for its 2013 broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII and could reach sell-out levels approaching 80% in the next few weeks,” according to the network’s head of sports ad sales (

General Motors (GM) regularly advertises during the Super Bowl but has decided to invest the advertising budget with a different sport. GM is trading football for futbol and is betting a five-year sponsorship of the Manchester United soccer club will bolster its Chevrolet line in the first test of the brand’s new global marketing strategy (

Ever since GM decided to choose UK’s media planning & buying specialist, Carat over Chicago based Starcom, industry professionals knew the company’s top priority was its global image and global sales. Of course Americans will be mad at GM after providing the company with a bailout, but what about this move as a business decision?

If GM is trying to reach millions of people, there may be no better way to do it than with the most recognizable soccer club in the world. “It’s clear that global football presented us with a significant opportunity to spread Chevrolet around the world,” Paul Edwards said, GM executive director of global marketing strategy. “We recognized that it’s not only the world’s biggest sport but also the world’s most engaged fans.”

As much as I would love to disagree with GM’s decision, I think it is a brilliant business move for the specific goal of making Chevy a global icon. Approximately 600 million people watch a regular season match between Manchester United and Manchester City. That far exceeds the 110-115 million people who watch the Super Bowl.

“GM declined to say how much the Manchester United sponsorship will cost. It allows Chevy signage in Manchester United’s stadium and access to the team for TV, print and other media for use worldwide, Mr. Edwards said. Manchester United games are broadcast in 1.15 billion homes — 80% of the world’s households with TVs, according to GM.” For GM to save $2 billion over five years and reach an exponentially  higher number of people worldwide, the company would be crazy not to.

If you were the CEO of General Motors, would you stick to Super Bowl advertising or expand into global markets and why?


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About promotionalguru

A marketing communications professional helping other marketing professionals, business leaders and marketing students gain a better understanding of trends in advertising and public relations as well as tips for being a successful marketer.

4 responses to “From Football To Futbol”

  1. Julia says :

    Stronger American companies creates a stronger America. Go Chevy.

    • promotionalguru says :

      While this is true, it’s also a double-edged sword because it takes business away from American companies (advertising agencies, production companies, television networks, etc).

  2. Tom says :

    Many company’s create super bowl commercial ads with high quality

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. From Football To Futbol « Promotional Guru | Fútbol al dia - June 2, 2012

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