The World Cup of Marketing Part 2: Volkswagen vs. Hyundai

Modern Marketing


With only Brazil, Argentina, Netherlands, and Germany left, many countries are mourning the end of the World Cup – but major brands are betting you aren’t over your futbol fever just yet. And if the ratings are any indication, we’re still runnin’ hot – in the U.S. alone, the Brazil/Colombia match pulled in more than 6.4 million viewers, making it the most-watched FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match across all U.S. networks to date.

In fact, according to a poll by GlobalWebIndex, fans all over the globe are not only watching the tournament in record numbers – we’re also engaging. An impressive 51% of Americans, 50% of Brazilians, and 44% of U.K fans are also turning to social media to see what other fans have to say.

This means brands still have ample opportunity to win the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere. So, in Part 2 of our World Cup of Marketing series, we’ll size up the battle between Volkswagen and Hyundai.

A Quick Look at the Facts

Hyundai is the official automotive sponsor of the World Cup – obviously, Volkswagen is not. Hyundai, along with sibling company Kia, actually has the rights to this sponsorship until 2022.

For a reported $25-50 million, Hyundai’s World Cup activities include everything from exclusive sponsorships of halftime shows on ESPN and Univision to more than 1,000 Hyundai vehicles providing ground transportation in Brazil.

So while, like Brazil, Hyundai is playing on their home turf, Volkswagen might be the Netherlands – they might not have the home field advantage, but they’re still a formidable competitor. Here’s how the two brands measure up.


Hyundai: Launched its #BecauseFutbol campaign in early June. This included two 30-second TV ads – “Boom” and “Avoidance.” Combined, the clever video shorts have just under 180K views on YouTube and will be aired a total of 98 times during halftimes.

Volkswagen: Boxed out of in-game ad space by Hyundai, the German car company leverages the power of real-time personalization to insert its “Gooooooooolf Celebration Videos” on and When goals are scored, VW’s digital banners (featuring VW GTI’s in colors to match the country that scored) pop up. Instead of the familiar cry of “Gooooooooooooal” you hear “Goooooooooolf.”

VW’s “Play by Play” ad hasn’t quite garnered the same online audience as Hyundai’s – it has just over 10K views on YouTube to date.

Social Media

Hyundai: Built its microsite,, on Tumblr. The site includes 120 pieces of original art created by Tumblr influencers and helps fans find places to watch the games as well as create or submit their own memes.

Volkswagen: Offers fans an exclusive version of the “Onefootball” app which features a live ticker as well as information on players, teams, detailed statistics, and access to the latest World Cup videos.

Star Power

Hyundai: Announced its official brand ambassadors in March –  Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Brazilian footballer Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, more commonly known as Kaka. Casillas and Kaka play a central role in Hyundai’s marketing – everything from television and print ads to onsite events.

Volkswagen: The company’s aforementioned “Play by Play” ad features Spanish-language sportscaster, Andres Cantor, famous for his signature bellowing of “Gooooooooal!” after a score in soccer.

So Who’s “Winning”?

In terms of share of voice on Twitter, Hyundai is currently the clear winner here – at 71%, compared to Volkswagen’s 29%. Hyundai also deserves kudos for their unexpected use of Tumblr. While it doesn’t yet pack the same punch as Vine and Instagram, the number of active users on Tumblr grew by 74% last year, making it a platform worthy of experimentation.

That said, Volkswagen’s “underdog” status has resulted in some of the most creative campaigns this year, and has helped them define their brand’s personality. We’re also impressed by Volkswagen’s use of cutting edge real-time personalization/targeting. We’re obviously biased when it comes to real-time personalization, but we’ve seen it help brands increase content consumption by over 100%.

So we’re calling this one a draw – after all, futbol is one of the few sports that can actually end in a tie. By leveraging two different approaches, both brands are making the most of their positioning.

So whether your team is out of the running, or still going strong, check back in with the blog for the next brand standoff. Which two teams will make the final round?