American Car Maker to Use European Soccer to Boost Global Sales

August 25, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. jersey (n.) 
[jur-zee] – a sports uniform where a team member’s name and number is indicated
Example: The club members wear their jerseys during important matches.

2. boost (v.) [boost] – to increase or to raise
Example: The company’s new advertisement was able to boost its sales.

3. logo (n.) [loh-goh] – a name or symbol that is designed for easy recognition of a product
Example: The organization gave free T-shirts with their logo on it.

4. awareness (n.) [uh-wair-nis] – knowledge that something exists or is happening
Example: Good reviews from magazines raised people’s awareness of the new cellphone.

5. high-profile (adj.) [hahy proh-fahyl] –well-known to the public
Example: Only high-profile families were invited to the politician’s celebration.

Read the text below.

General Motors (GM) recently signed a jersey sponsorship contract with the popular UK soccer team Manchester United. GM hopes to boost its global market share with exposure to soccer fans worldwide.

GM has been experiencing a huge decline in sales. The company’s share price decreased by 33% over the past year. In the first half of 2012, its US market share dropped by 2%, while its European market share went down by 0.2%.

To be able to strengthen its market shares, GM paid a surprising $600 million for its Chevrolet logo to be placed on the front of the soccer team’s red jerseys.

Manchester United could raise people’s awareness of GM’s brand. The soccer club is said to have more than 650 million fans around the world.

But while partnering with the soccer team seems an effective way to increase sales, some people think GM overspent on its sponsorship. The price GM paid for their logo to be placed on jerseys is as high as the cost of naming rights to the biggest stadiums in the US.

The value of GM’s sponsorship is also worth twice the amount paid by Manchester’s current sponsor, insurance company AON.

Further proof that GM may have made a bad decision is the firing of its high-profile marketing chief Joel Ewanick. He was fired after the company learned he did not properly manage the financial deal with Manchester.

However, some experts believe it is still too early to say that GM overpaid. GM still has a high chance of increasing sales through its investment with the soccer team.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think GM’s strategy will really help increase sales? Why or why not?
·         Do you pay attention to products or brands shown in sports games, TV programs, magazine, etc.? What would make you interested in a product?

Discussion B
·         How important are advertisements of products to companies?
·         If you owned a business, would you invest large amount of money in advertising? Why or why not?

August 25, 2012