Man Utd selects first ad agency

Manchester United, the world’s richest football club, is understood to have appointed its first advertising agency, with a brief to devise a global branding strategy.

Cheetham Bell, one of Manchester’s biggest agencies, is believed to have picked up the multi-million pound account.

The agency is understood to have built up strong links with Man Utd chief executive Peter Kenyon and group marketing director Peter Draper. Both held senior roles at Umbro, a former Cheetham Bell client.

No one at Cheetham Bell or Man Utd was available for comment as Marketing Week went to press.

This week Man Utd announced a 25 per cent fall in full-year profits to &£16.8m, as a result of higher wage demands and its withdrawal from the FA Cup. Turnover was up five per cent to &£116m.

The club is also reported to have signed a world record &£300m kit sponsorship deal with Nike over 15 years. The current deal with Umbro expires in July 2002. Draper refused to comment on the deal.

Last week, Man Utd dismissed its PR chief, Alison Ryan, just days before was due to take up her role on a &£105,000 salary, after discovering she had lied about her career.

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