Michael Phelps Gets $1 Million to Promote Mazda 6 in China
It would be logical to promote swimsuits or boats but Michael Phelps, the winner of eight gold medals in swimming competitions at the last Olympics is asked to be the brand spokesman for Mazda in China, the world's third-largest auto market.
According to Advertising Age, Mazda Motor Corporation has hired the American swimmer to help them relaunch Mazda 6, baptized Rui Yi for the Chinese market. Although details of the deal haven't been discussed so far, Phelps is expected to get at least 1$ million for his effort. Rumors say this agreement is going to be the largest single sponsorship deal for a Western celebrity in China.
Still, how come Mazda chooses an American idol to promote its cars to Chinese consumers?
Apparently, Phelps is a superstar in China and Mazda's sponsorship deal with him is "quite relevant because it shows where the [global car] market is at. I understand cutting back in other markets that aren't growing, but China is still growing. This is really the time to make more ground than you would normally. This is the best time to be aggressive," said Dan Mintz, the Shanghai-based CEO of Dynamic Marketing Group.
As if they have forgotten about their own athletes, the American swimmer's outstanding performance was highly admired by the Chinese. "His story and the height of his achievement is part of the height of China's achievement in modern times," Mintz said adding that "There is a huge connection there. Chinese took this individual and really made him one of their own."
Mazda's sales in China last year were amazing as it sold 105,000 cars from January through October, meaning up to 27% more vehicles than in the previous year.
So, Mr. Phelps has a tough mission as he seems to be expected to achieve outstanding sales performance.