Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stand up for the champions

As a proud Manchester United fan, I was left shell shocked by the manner of our 2-1 derby defeat to Citeh – on the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air crash no less – but our local rivals were not the only winners that afternoon as the ‘sponsor-less’ commemorative jerseys worn by the United players seemed to magically spell out AIG every time I looked.

AIG paid in the millions to get their logo on Man U’s jerseys but if brand awareness could be considered the end all and be all of ROI then it was well worth it. As much as I hate how modern football jerseys look these days (with the huge logos of sponsors plastered all over the place), I have grown accustom to it – and the absence of it in Sunday night’s match kept reminding me that something was missing. It seems in my mind that AIG and the English champions go hand in hand – not a bad association to have for a brand. Too bad we played so badly!

Of course I know if I lived in the red half of Manchester then I would be amongst the minority to think so positively about AIG because of events leading up the match. A lot of fans were non-to-happy that AIG managed to get their logo onto a tribute graphic outside of Old Trafford.

Here’s what a Manchester United blog called Red Rants had to say about the whole incident.

I can’t help but cringe at the shallowness underneath it all that’s somehow made it up through the corridors of power that inhabit Old Trafford these days.

Doesn’t the appearance of the AIG logo stink? They got the shirt deal and all that. But it has been made clear everywhere that no one should be allowed to make any commercial gains from the Munich tribute. It is a tragedy that is meant to be beyond petty advertising and attention crabbing whores. It is for the families/players affected by the tragedy and for the fans.

And this is why the presence of the AIG logo, however inconspicuous they intend to make it look, concerns me. It shows a total lack of understanding on not just the part of the owners; we really don’t expect them to know too much, do we? But it is appalling that people like David Gill, who do have some say and understanding of the sentiments of fans, seem to have ignored this detail.

And not just that. How could they even get the words of United Calypso wrong? It’s okay if it was a typist rattling away on his keyboard trying to meet some article deadline. But in full blown panels that occupy the East Stand facade of OT that’s just unforgivable, and terribly negligent. It would certainly be grating for fans entering the premises.

Oh well AIG, I guess you can’t win ‘em all.

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