Vodafone in global drive to promote Man Utd link

Vodafone is kicking off an expanded worldwide media push to promote its sponsorship of Manchester United.

The mobile operator has appointed an external agency – Global Experiential Marketing (GEM) – for the first time, following a three-way competitive pitch, to capitalise on fresh PR opportunities from a renewed four-year £36m sponsorship deal with the club, signed in December.

Chief among these is the Vodafone Cup, the first pre-season football tournament to carry the brand name, which runs from 3-5 August.

GEM sports vice-president Andy Kenny said the agency had been charged with co-ordinating media relations surrounding the sponsorship with Vodafone’s in-house PR teams abroad.

In the case of the Vodafone Cup, it will set out the opportunities for media to cover the event in key markets of Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and two other unconfirmed European countries. The event will include a five-a-side game for children and adults, as well as chances to meet players, be a mascot and go to a VIP party during the tournament.

The strategy will target men and women aged 16 to 34 who represent the consumer side of Vodafone’s business, and ABC1s aged 30 to 54 who use its business services.

Technology, lifestyle, business and management press, as well as the sports sections of newspapers and magazines, will be targeted. GEM will also co-ordinate a strategy for player appearances throughout the Premiership season.

Kenny said: ‘With Manchester United, there are some fantastic assets available to Vodafone’s markets that allow it to talk to consumers in an engaging way.’

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