Sponsorship is not partnership and a good example of this is the kind of brand partners and sponsors that the two in the English Premiership work with and how they do it.
Manchester City are not only top of the premiership they are leading the way in innovative commercial partnerships. Where Manchester United merely go after brand partners that have the most money no matter what the relevance (AON/DHL both being b2b brands marketing themselves to mass consumers through ManU sponsorship for example) Manchester City have taken a more creative approach.
Manchester City’s current deal with video game developer Electronic Arts (EA), maker of the FIFA series of football games, is an example of this.
EA has two staff dedicated to producing game-related content for Manchester City, while the club’s Etihad stadium is home to permanent installations of PlayStation and Xbox consoles, where fans can play the latest FIFA game on club match days in tournaments organised by EA. So both brands are linked physically, digitally and through marketing.
I also loved the way that Manchester City and EA used an in gaming video seen above to showcase their new kit (above), very innovative.
The club believes that it’s about getting the brand fit right and making sense to the fans not just creating sponsorships which means nothing to the fans but who have large chequebooks.
Contrast this with Manchester United’s cash wins everytime approach. AIG, AON and now DHL amongst other Manchester United
sponsors which 99.99% of the fans don’t use and can’t use. They’re all effectively B2B brands. DHL are a logistics company, the average ManU fan is never going to think of using them.
The fact that DHL get branding on all training gear and Alex Ferguson’s jacket during games gives them great media value but makes no sense to the fans watching who can’t see the connection and gain no benefits.
Is this because the senior DHL marketing people are all Manchester United fans and wanted to have the thrill of sponsoring their tours and getting their names on their training gear and gaining match hospitality by any chance? It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened…..
With the EA partnership for example by scanning the QR code in Manchester City’s smart phone app, unique content could be ‘unlocked’, for example, player avatars created in FIFA 12, which could be swapped or played with like trading cards. The aim is to transport the fan’s relationship with both the EA and Manchester City brands out of the stadium or TV and into a more social setting anywhere in the world and market both brands are global entertainment brands.
According to EA online players of FIFA 12 around the world choose to play matches both for and against Manchester City more than any other club or national team represented in the game. I find this hard to believe unless it’s just all the Manchester United fans in Asia playing against their new pretenders to their throne…..!