American taxpayers helped General Motors to the tune of $50 billion in a bailout from the government, and the auto giant has rewarded John Q. Public by spitting in the eye of the nation's biggest sporting event.
GM is dropping its advertising from next year's Super Bowl. Instead, Chevrolet agreed to spend that money as part of a five-year marketing deal with Manchester United, the legendary European soccer franchise.
Joel Ewanick, chief marketing officer of General Motors, tells the Detroit Free Press that spending money on the United Kingdom franchise is a better way to promote cars than advertising in America's Super Bowl.
"As we look around the world and ... we found a really great partner in Manchester United," Ewanick told the Detroit Free Press. "Manchester United is one of the most popular sport franchisees in the world."
Manchester United player and club legend Ryan Giggs is pictured at right at the Chevy unveiling.
In addition to dropping the Super Bowl ads, Chevrolet has decided to stop paying for ads on America's popular social network, Facebook. "What we hear from customers, they say it is a little bit distracting," Ewanick said.
Ewanick claims GM decided to drop its Super Bowl advertising because the ratings for the game aren't getting any higher, although the cost of commercials continues to skyrocket. He also boasted that the NFL has close to 400 million fans, while the Manchester United have 659 million fans alone.
"If our aspirations are to build global icon status for Chevrolet...soccer far and away is the world's biggest sport," Paul Edwards, GM executive director of global marketing strategy, told Reuters.
Chevrolet's logo will be displayed on Man U's benches and the company will have advertising in the team's stadium along with the creation of the Chevrolet China Cup. That will be included in Manchester United's 2012 Tour in July.
Edwards proudly says Manchester United has bigger TV audiences around the would than the Super Bowl.
Despite the company's negative views on Facebook and the Super Bowl, Ewanick claims that General Motors still plans to advertise during NFL regular season games. In fact, he believes the company will end up raising its total advertising during the 2012 season.
-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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