Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Chevy

What's good for
Manchester United
 is good for General Motors.
Fantasy Bob has learned that Manchester United have just signed a deal whereby Chevrolet will be the club's shirt sponsor for next season and beyond.

FB is by no means a connoisseur of motor cars and the truth is that he would recognise a Chevy if it were to knock him over in the street.  However he does acknowledge that the brand (or at least the word Chevy) is deeply resonant.  The Chevy conjures up images of 1960s teenage freedom that was part of the American Dream that FB's generation shared in - willingly or unwillingly.  It therefore came as no surprise to FB that in celebration of the marque's 100th anniversary last year a special radio channel was established which played only pop songs which made reference to the Chevy or Chevrolet.  600 such songs were on the playlist.  It may have been no surprise to FB, but when he tried to list them, he could get no further than 2 - American Pie by Don Maclean and  Elton John's Crocodile Rock.  FB is sure that his world wide readership can do better than he - and they will find the list of the Top 100 such songs on this link.

The Chevy is not the only US car marque to celebrated in pop music.  T'birds, Mustangs, Cadillacs the list is long. No British brand of car has been so celebrated - the names just don't cut it - would the Beach Boys have hit the top of the charts if they had sung 'and she'll have fun, fun, fun till her Daddy takes her Ford Anglia away'.  don Maclean would have struggled if he'd had to sing,  'Drove my Hillman Imp to the levee but the levee was dry'  More's the pity.

While there may be a surge in Chevy drivers in Manchester next year, it is just as likely that the market that General Motors are aiming for is world wide.  United are a world brand as are Chevrolet.

Chevrolet are big sponsors of cricket in S Africa where they sponsor 2 sides in S Africa: the Warriors who play in Port Elizabeth and whose playing roster has included such Test stars as Makhayana Ntini, Ashwell Prince and Lonwabo Tstotsobe; and the Knighrts who play in Bloemfontein and are skippered by Morne van Wyck.  But football is on the ascendant there following the Word Cup 2 years ago.



Man U are hugely popular in Asia, another target market.  Chevrolet tried cricket as a marketing base a number of years ago when they supported on Indian Channel Ten TV a programme called the Chevrolet Cricket Show.   It was made in Dubai and was a magazine format with pieces and interviews with all the big players in front of a live audience.  FB thinks it ran for a few years but may no longer be produced.

FB also read recently that soccer is on a growth spurt in India and significant investment is being made in the game there. There may be a long way to go before it supplants cricket's popularity, and it would be a tragedy if that ever came about, but Chevrolet's new deal may just play a small part in that process.  And in future years how many Bhangra songs will mention Chevy in the lyrics?

1 comment:

  1. Chevrolet was for many years the archetypal all-American transport - big, brash and available to the common man (those who couldn't afford a Cadillac or Lincoln Continental). For a youngster, driving a Corvette was the ultimate cool experience and, having driven one myself, I can see why. The brand is not what it was in Don Maclean's day, however. A little while ago GM took over an ailing Korean outfit called Daewoo and most of the cars we see on the roads now with Chevy badges are made far away from Detroit. So we end up with just another global brand but it's encouraging to hear that such an important American company is supporting such very un-American sports and good luck to them.

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