Harry's Hot Lap

by Adam Peacock on Sep 20, 2011

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Marketing. I never quite understood.... Strategies, buzzwords and spin defy me.

But let me get this straight – and I’m not having a go at any individual, company, whoever or whatever. I’m just trying to comprehend...

There’s said to be a problem with Harry Kewell doing a hot lap in a car that is not a Hyundai. And he’ll be apparently spruiking that hot lap type of vehicle, Ford, in the future.

Yet I heard Matty White say it on the Channel 7 telecast - “Harry is back to play in the A-League this season”.

Precisely how many times has the A-League been mentioned on an afternoon of V8’s - one of the nation’s most popular regular sporting telecasts? A fangin’ big rubber-burning DONUT.

It’s a taste of what’s to come with Harry – attention from areas previously foreign to the A-League.

He will be at social events, sporting events, in woman’s magazines – as Harry Kewell, the guy who on the weekend plays in the Hyundai A-League, for Melbourne Victory.

People who don’t even know the A-League exists will have a face to put to the game’s name.

Apparently, Harry will be hooning (safely, of course) around in one of those hotted up Ford’s.

But how many people will see that? The majority of the time we’ll see him in person, in the paper or on the TV, Harry will be playing or training in a jersey with Hyundai on it.

Surely more exposure than without Harry?

Ok, there’s a Standard Player Contract which restricts what you can and can’t do and spruik as a player. But as the league expands, tries to grow, surely the boundaries on the spruiking bit have to move too.

And if the SPC is so vitally important in this whole Harry argument – why are we lead to believe he hasn’t signed it? We’ve had the glorious arrival, the welcome home parade, the jersey presentation... and... what? He hasn’t signed? So... the SPC is there for.... huh?

Yes, Hyundai has been the sponsorship backbone of the competition for the first 7 years, and a wonderful contributor to the game.

They are involved at every level of the game from grassroots (highlighted by the excellent Goals for Grassroots, which gives local clubs cash when A-League teams score goals) to providing players in the league with wheels, to getting behind our national teams. I hope they continue in the current role for the next 70 years.

But is it not a natural development, even a compliment, that others want a piece of their turf?

Have a look at the AFL, the standard in this country for corporate involvement. Toyota is the naming rights sponsor of the entire league. 5 other car companies are significant sponsors of 7 clubs. Hyundai is involved with 3 – Brisbane, Carlton and Fremantle.

Sure, Toyota hasn’t been there since day dot, and Hyundai may well have been club sponsors before their Japanese rivals became naming rights sponsors in 2004, but if they are comfortable enough to live with each other in one sport, why not another?

Ahhh... my head hurts trying to explain all this.

Leave it to the catchphrase gurus who float around the office in socks, bouncing off the walls with ideas to explain it with more clarity.

All I want is to see Harry Kewell playing football in my own backyard.