VW, boxed out of World Cup on TV, finds way to target fans in U.S.

Instead of "Gooooooooooooal," online viewers will hear "Goooooooooolf!"
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NEW YORK -- Volkswagen of America, seeking to get a U.S. marketing bump from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, is rolling out its ambush marketing plans for the Golf GTI against the games' official auto partner, Hyundai Motor America.

VW's ad agency Deutsch, Los Angeles, will dance around Hyundai's exclusive sponsorship of TV halftime shows on ESPN and Univision by inserting so-called "Gooooooooolf Celebration Videos" on ESPN.com and Univision.com.

When goals are scored, these digital banners will pop up. Viewers will see different-colored GTI's (matching the national colors of the country that scored) racing across the pitch. Instead of the familiar fan cry of "Gooooooooooooal" they'll hear "Goooooooooolf" to promote the performance-oriented GTI, which VW says is more popular with younger and Hispanic car buyers.

The company is also planning a homepage takeover of both ESPNFC.com on June 24 and ESPN.com July 4. In addition, VW is sponsoring the Univision Fan Forum, where Univision editors pose questions for readers.

Meanwhile, Hispanic agency COD is breaking a new TV spot called "Play by Play" starring Argentinian sports commentator Andres Cantor teaching his son how to drive a GTI. The famous play-by-play announcer sounds like he's calling a World Cup match as he instructs Junior behind the wheel. Edelman Digital will weigh in for VW with digital marketing on Twitter and other social media channels.

"We are delighted to align Andres' iconic status in the sports world with Volkswagen's global brand heritage," Vinay Shahani, VW's marketing vice president, said in a statement.

Sales of VW brand vehicles in the United States fell 12 percent through May to 150,317 vehicles in a market that rose 5 percent. Golf sales fell 37 percent to 8,941 units during the five months. 


You can reach Michael McCarthy at mmcarthy@adage.com.


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