TWO YEARS ON...
Though much of Europe seems still to be in the grip of a snowy Spring, in other parts of the world Summer is still very much in evidence and Gulf’s 2018 Sporting programme already has some notable performances and additions over last year, on which we will report in this Gulf Sport.
Our partnership with Manchester United is now just over two years old and it was about this time in 2016 when representatives of sporting and lubricant media gathered at MUFC’s Carrington training ground to witness the launch of the partnership between Gulf and the world’s number one football brand.
It was a noteworthy occasion for both brands because, with the global partnership, Gulf launched another industry-first initiative. Frank Rutten and Manchester United’s then Commercial Director, Jamie Reigle were joined by members of United’s first team squad – including Club and National Team Captain, Wayne Rooney together with some true Legends of Manchester – and football in general – amongst them, Dennis Law (one of the trio immortalised in statue form in front of the Old Trafford Stadium) and another former Club and England Team Captain, Bryan Robson.
The media coverage the partnership launch generated was stratospheric and matters were further enhanced when Gulf Brand Ambassador, Indian Cricketing Legend, MS Dhoni revealed by video link that he too was an avid Manchester United fan and was incredibly excited about Gulf joining forces with the team he had supported all his life. His revelation sent Indian social media into a flurry and was India’s number one post on twitter for more than a day.
We had also just commenced Gulf’s first foray into the high-octane arena of World Superbikes with the launch, a few days earlier, of Gulf’s Technical Partnership with BMW’s manufacturer supported squad, Milwaukee BMW. By Year Two that had grown into a partnership with two manufacturer supported teams: BMW, in the shape of the Althea BMW squad, were joined by Aprilia, as Milwaukee BMW morphed into Milwaukee Aprilia – the Italian bike manufacturer’s full factory World Superbike Championship team.
Two years on and Gulf has established a real place in the sport. Gulf has an impressive presence in the paddock – to the extent where Gulf is now collaborating with championship organisers, Dorna as a technical supplier to one of their other championships. Both BMW and Aprilia teams have become habitual top ten race finishers and have long threatened a podium finish, which hopefully will come to fruition this season.
United in the meanwhile, have won three trophies – the FA Cup and League Cup in England and, in Europe last season, the Europa League.
It is easy to regard these partnerships – together with Gulf’s continuing World Endurance/Le Mans racing commitment and the other sports Gulf invests in – as simply another element in Gulf’s overall offer to the market. However, we should never lose sight of the fact that each of these programs is something incredibly special – something many other lubricant and fuel brands do not have in their armoury – and the major investment it takes simply to be there, is something that the Brand’s stakeholders have willingly undertaken. It behoves us therefore to look at all of the opportunities they offer and use them to the full, to the benefit of our businesses and our business.
2018 is of course, a landmark year in Gulf Sporting history as we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gulf’s first win at the Le Mans 24 Hours. However, as will be seen in this edition, 2018 also sees some exciting new sporting initiatives for Gulf, all of which means that this year has the makings of being even better than the previous two years.
Let’s make the most of what is on offer and make sure this comes about.
Wishing you good sport and great business!