Estée Lauder and Manchester United team up amid football fever

By Julia Wray | Published: 21-Jul-2023

The heritage beauty brand hopes to engage with Manchester United’s extensive fanbase in China and the Asia Pacific

Estée Lauder is the latest, unexpected signing for Manchester United. 

The Estée Lauder Companies’ flagship brand has announced it is teaming up with the British football club as its first ever skin care partner. 

Starting this summer, the partnership’s inaugural campaign will launch with players from Manchester United’s first team, including Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Alejandro Garnacho and Raphaël Varane. 

Estée Lauder believes the deal will help it reach and engage with the club’s extensive fanbase in the Asia Pacific region.

The campaign, initially spotlighting Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Serum, aims to engage fans across Manchester United’s social platforms, which have a reach of more than 250 million in China alone.

“We are excited to collaborate with the world’s most popular football team on this first-of-its-kind partnership, and to expand Estée Lauder’s reach to new audiences of male consumers in an unexpected and groundbreaking way,” said Justin Boxford, Global Brand President at Estée Lauder.

“Estée Lauder and Manchester United are both globally recognised as best-in-class brands with incredible heritage with generations of loyal fans around the world, and a shared commitment to delivering peak performance.”

“As one of the most followed sports teams in the world, we understand the importance of educating fans on a healthy lifestyle, and skin care is an integral part of that process,” added Manchester United’s CEO of Alliances and Partnerships, Victoria Timpson. 

“In the same way our athletes prepare the night before a match with regular training rituals, healthy skin also requires a consistent and effective regimen. 

“We look forward to working with Estée Lauder in sharing the power of its Advanced Night Repair serum and encouraging our fans to start their skin care journey with us.”

Beauty strengthens its ties with sport

Estée Lauder and Manchester United’s announcement coincides with the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is sponsored by conglomerate Unilever’s brands in the first leg of an agreement that will also include the men’s FIFA World Cup 2026 and the esports FIFAe Finals.

An upswell in interest in women’s football has seen beauty brands including Procter & Gamble’s Gillette Venus and L’Oréal’s Garnier onboarding current and former soccer stars as ambassadors.

Oddity’s Il Makiage, meanwhile, partnered with the entire Arsenal Women team on its ‘Focus on My Game Face’ campaign.  

Another recent team-up, announced this week, will see UK gel nail brand Mylee partnering with England footballer Katie Zelem to put its ultra-long wearing gel polish to the test throughout the tournament. 

But, as the Lauder and Unilever deals demonstrate, the beauty industry is exploring marketing synergies with men’s sports too.

Earlier this year, Major League Baseball (MLB) player Shohei Ohtani – a household name in Japan and considered the greatest two-way player in MLB history – was unveiled as the new face of Kosé Corporation

Ohtani now acts as brand ambassador for the Japanese beauty giant’s Decorté and Sekkisei brands, promoting skin care and sun lotion products. 

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