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Huawei sponsorship of Arsenal reaches full time

Michael Garwood
June 14, 2016

Official smartphone deal with Premier League side will not be renewed as manufacturer switches branding strategy 

Huawei will not be renewing its global sponsorship sponsorship deal with Premier League side Arsenal, after its two deal expired in May.

The Chinese manufacturer, who sold 108 million smartphones in 2015, teamed up with the North London side in January 2014 to become the clubs official smartphone partner.

Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, former Huawei executive vice president Mark Mitchinson, Lukas Podolski showcase the company’s P6 smartphone in 2014

The partnership saw the pair collaborate on a global level, with Arsenal’s officials and players taking part in Huawei’s communication and promotional activities both in the UK and overseas.

It also saw the Huawei brand displayed across the clubs Emirates stadium, media areas (including interviews) and even the club shop, with Huawei launching an official Arsenal edition of the Ascend P7 smartphone.

Huawei also used the sponsorship to grow closer ties with its customers and the media, hosting an annual five aside tournament, The Huawei Cup,on the Emirates pitch. Guest Arsenal players were also in attendance, including Ray Parlour and Ian Wright.

The decision not to extend is part of a new direction in terms of marketing for the manufacturer in the UK. Deals with European football sides, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid are understood to remain in place.

Ray Parlour (middle) with Huawei Cup media team, 2014

Huawei has recently begun its first direct TV marketing campaign for its new flasgship smartphone, Huawei P9. The device comes in three variants, P9 Light (£239), P9 (£449) and P9 Plus (£549, Vodafone only) and has become its most successful device to date, with all major operators and retailers (Carphone Warehouse) taking stock.

Huawei is also said to be in talks to sponsor a number of as yet unnamed UK festivals to help drive brand awareness.

Fashionable brand  

Fashion is also expected to be a key driver for the manufacturer having sponsored the ‘One For the Boys 2016 Fashion Ball’ catwalk event on June 12, in London. The charity event, aimed at creating awareness for male cancer was hosted by the charities chairman Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson (pictured below, right), and saw performances from stars Tinie Tempah and Nicole Sherzinger. url-1

Celebrities recorded and posted messages using the Huawei P9 through social media urging men to start talking about cancer. The campaign was called ‘One Minute of Talking’ and included the hashtags, #OO and #SaySomething.

Huawei Consumer Business Group’s UK Sales and Marketing Director Rhys Saunders explained: “One For The Boys 2016 Fashion Show helps raise awareness such an important and worthwhile cause so we’re delighted to help make a difference. The event appeals to a style-savvy audience so it was a great fit to reinforce Huawei’s position as a premium lifestyle brand.

“As a cultural technology company, proud of its design credentials, aligning ourselves with the world of men’s fashion in a global hub such as London, made sense. It’s a win-win-win as far as we’re concerned.”

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