Aon and Manchester United

Today’s article on Aon was supposed to be about the numbers, a dry analysis of the pros and cons plus the usual refutations needed for every major sponsor – no, they’re not selecting the team or picking who United can buy.

But then I woke up today and saw the Aon ad on and it was refreshing to see a company that has no clue about football manage to hit all the right notes in their launch phase.

It’s cheesy but effective – you can’t go wrong with using the diversity and team spirit of the Manchester United squad to show how big Aon is. It’s obvious once you see it, but it still takes some marketing nous to be able to align the Aon brand with United’s so seamlessly.

So they score an A on the branding scale, easily surpassing AIG (even allowing for the ‘digital age’ factor as Chris puts it). What about everything else?

Aon – The Numbers

We still have to do some numbers today, but only the interesting ones:

  • There is a 1 in 2 chance that your mobile phone was produced by an Aon client
  • Aon clients are responsible for designing and manufacturing 70% of the world’s 20 best-selling pharmaceutical products
  • In the UK, over five billion pints of milk a year are supplied by companies insured through Aon
  • Aon UK manages pension arrangements for over 1.5 million people – that is more than the combined populations of Glasgow, Sheffield and Bradford
  • In 2009, Aon placed film insurance for five of the Oscar winners at the annual Academy Awards. In total Aon placed insurance for 16 of the 26 Academy Award-nominated films
  • Aon has the largest share of the worldwide space insurance market
  • One in every 2 bananas in the world is shipped by a company insured through Aon
  • Seven of the world’s top 10 airlines are Aon clients


How Will Aon Help Manchester United?

The money is a no-brainer, but the immediate impact will be seen through Manchester United’s tour of the US this summer, which will be used to attract more corporate sponsors along with giving Aon a chance to further penetrate the local market.

Financial benefits aside, there’s the key goal of Manchester United dominating the US soccer market, something that AIG with all it’s troubles wasn’t able to help United with. Aon will be different, and we’re likely to see Manchester United focus on North America again with Aon’s help.

India / Asia

Aon and United will both benefit with greater shares of these massive markets and you can expect next summer to be an east-bound trip for United.

It’s worth pointing out that Aon have been quite open about what this partnership means for them – they want to use Manchester United’s global brand to enhance their own market share, and along the way they can help open doors for more / bigger commercial partnerships for United, not just in the US as mentioned earlier but across the world.

United want more fans, Aon more customers, but at the end of the day these are two powerhouses from very different industries pooling together their resources for mutual profit. Manchester United have the distribution, Aon the finacial muscle to make things happen so it’s a good match on paper, just like any celebrity couple.

Will it work? Better than AIG, I’m sure. They have the right idea on how to approach the club’s most important asset, their fans, and they’ve made a concerted effort to learn from the efforts of those American firms who have invested in the English Premier League before them.

Ultimately the club will be judged on the results they achieve on the playing field but given that that is out of Aon’s realm of responsibility, we can only talk about the financial side of things. And so far, they have done well (biggest shirt sponsorship ever), although the real test starts with the tour to North America.

Also see: Aon, Manchester United and Global Branding.

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