Aon looks to leverage Man U deal

Aon is to base all marketing activity on its sponsorship of Manchester United as the firm looks to leverage its new partnership.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Aon global chief marketing and communications officer Philip B Clement (pictured) says the partnership will inform “everything we do”.

The insurance, reinsurance and consulting company signed a four-year deal with the Premier League champions last week.

The firm will replace AIG as the club’s principal partner from the start of the 2010/2011 season after the US insurer decided not to renew its deal in the wake of last year’s bail-out by the US government.

Clement adds the agreement will focus its global marketing and sponsorship strategy and will be used to push a number of its services and divisions.

By illustration he says this could include a “teamwork” theme for its health and benefits division or perhaps using Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s image to promote Aon’s risk services division.

Aon hopes the deal will help it build its brand globally and help growth in emerging insurance and reinsurance markets, such as parts of Asia where the Manchester United brand is strong.

The agreement comes at a time when many brands are questioning the wisdom of long-term sponsorship deals as the global economic downturn puts the spotlight on what return on investment sponsorship can bring.

Clement says the sponsorship is an efficient and effective way of building the Aon brand, adding the company would have to spend significantly more on media to match the exposure the deal, reportedly worth about £80m over four years, will bring.

“It is a pretty good bet for a US firm looking for a global presence,” he says.

In addition to shirt sponsorship, Aon plans to develop “joint product marketing and services” for consumers.

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