Where next for Samsung and Chelsea?

Samsung D600 poster

The departure of Jose Mourinho from Chelsea is not good news from the perspective of Samsung’s multi-million, multi-year sponsorship deal (which still has a couple of years to run).

I don’t pretend to be able to judge Avram Grant’s ability to keep the team’s performance up — though an obvious comment would be that the abrupt change at the top could have an unsettling effect on the players. Clearly Samsung gets better value for money the better the team’s performance in the league and competitions, but a team’s fortunes come and go.

Mourinho’s departure brings to an end any hope of a repeat performance of a rather serendipitous sponsorship arrangement, whereby a year or so ago Mourinho could be seen on countless advertising hoardings advertising Samsung’s latest phone. And even, apparently, on TV:

Quite apart from his connection with Chelsea Mourinho was an ideal spokesmodel for a stylish mobile phone: rich, handsome, cosmopolitan, with an undoubted sense of style and taste, and with a celebrity status that means his face is widely known outside football circles. In fact it’s difficult to think of a more suitable male to front a campaign for a stylish fashion accessory. And of course until recently there was a perfect synergy with Samsung’s sponsorship deal with the club he so ably trained.

I can’t see the association continuing. But nor can I see anyone else associated with Stamford Bridge being capable of stepping into Mourinho’s place. Avram Grant simply doesn’t have the style to make people want to buy anything he might be hired to advertise, and his face isn’t really recognisable other than by Chelsea fans. And one would be hard placed to think of a player in any premiership side with the style, glamour and currency to front a product like this. The nearest is Thierry Henry, but he’s signed to Arsenal and Renault.

So who next will front Samsung Mobile? Much as readers of this site might want it, I can’t see Hyolee appearing in UK ads any time soon. But then, there’s a school of thought which says that with Abramovich’s cheque book, anyone could have made a success at Chelsea. Maybe this is Hyolee’s chance to diversify.

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