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Chevrolet mobilizes soccer sponsorship with virtual shirt campaign

Fans can go to a mobile-optimized site to register their support for the club, which will unveil its new shirt on Monday and kick off Chevrolet?s seven-year agreement as shirt sponsor. By permitting the posting of supportive statements on their Facebook or Twitter sites, fans can virtually wear the new shirt.

?The use of Facebook and Twitter during the World Cup has demonstrated to the world that if anybody had any doubts that the social platforms are the dominant communication channel, that Facebook and Twitter are clearly that,? said Mark Tack, vice president of marketing for Chicago-based Vibes.

?Fans and consumers of all types share their point of view. They react to what they?re seeing on TV. The fact that the Brazil versus Chile World Cup match was the most tweeted event ever ? with 16.4 million tweets during the match, or 389,000 tweets per minute ? confirms that.?

Unifying fan base
Chevrolet and Manchester United did not respond to media inquiries. A number of Manchester United players are playing in the World Cup for their national teams. The initiative is part of Chevrolet?s What Do You #PlayFor?? global campaign, which brings fans closer to the sport and celebrates the passion for play around the game.

In March, the campaign?s objective was to rebuild soccer pitches in developing regions around the world and provide soccer balls from the One World Futbol Project and legendary Manchester United players to work with coaches and children in poverty-stricken places.

General Motors Co.-owned Chevrolet is seeing success with site growth and traffic since launching a series of mobile sites. Part of Chevrolet?s mobile push included setting up a mobile site devoted to highlighting ther brand?s partnership with Manchester United, available in six languages.

While social media are effective tools for building short-term engagement, the absence of more mobile-marketing tools is seen as depriving the project of the chance to build long-term fan engagement.

Ongoing interaction
?Social media is only one mechanism,? Mr. Tack said. ?The person who is using social media is usually using it for a brief and transactional purpose. You have something to say, you say it and go somewhere else. You have the social-media fan?s attention for a very short period.

?What is missing is a mobile media strategy that ties in SMS messaging, push notifications and mobile wallets,? he said.

Screenshot of Chevrolet-sponsored fan-support site.

?These are techniques that would allow a campaign like this to move from a one-point-in-time interaction to an ongoing interaction. It would seem with me that with some of the tactics that Chevrolet is doing with Facebook, they have the desire to turn this into a long-term, ongoing relationship.

?But the mechanism by which they?re doing it, mainly by going all-in on Facebook, will be limiting in their ability to execute on turning this one-time promotion into a long-time relationship approach, given the nature of the platform they?ve chosen.? 

Final Take

Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.