VW Takes Over World Cup in Gooooooolf Campaign

The auto brand is airing a series of videos highlighting its Golf GTI model during live-streamed World Cup matches.

Volkswagen is attempting to insert itself into the World Cup conversation without paying official sponsorship fees through a series of digital videos, “Goooooooolf Celebration Videos.”

Featuring Volkswagen’s Golf GTI model, the videos show the car doing celebratory spins in the middle of a soccer field, screaming “GOOOOOOLF,” just like soccer fans scream “GOOOOOAAAAL” when their team scores, says a rep for ad agency Deutsch LA, which created the campaign.

The videos are running alongside ESPN.com’s live-streamed matches and on ESPNFC.com and are timed to run a moment after each team scores. The videos will also appear on Univision and on Twitter.

“We have a team that’s standing by during all the games and as soon as a goal is scored, they’re pumping them out,” says Pete Favat, chief creative officer at Deustch LA.

In addition, the videos are specific to the teams that are playing. So, for example, each time host country Brazil scores, a video will pop up with the team’s colors and the VW Golf screaming, “GOOOOOOLF,” to online viewers in Brazil’s colors.

According to the Deustch LA rep, there are nine variations of the core video and another 32 versions according to team colors. In other words, each participating country has nine video versions, which will rotate as they score. That means there are 288 videos overall.

Banner ads and videos ask viewers to follow @VWAmerica on Twitter, which then alerts followers to scores as they happen, Favat says.

“I’ve seen a lot of work that celebrates the World Cup, but never a campaign that informs us every time a goal is scored,” Favat says.

As of June 16, 37 goals had been scored so far.

“The production undertaking is impressive, if not efficient, with 288 unique assets, especially since many probably won’t be utilized,” writes Leslie Hall, president of digital video firm Iced Media, in an email. “From a content marketing perspective, variety between videos and interactive features that allow fans to customize the clips and share them in real time, would offset the possibility of redundancy, especially if one team is grossly outscoring another in any given game.”

According to Favat, the videos are tied to Volkswagen’s “Ready, Set, Golf” campaign, which is “going after a much younger, lifestyle-oriented target that wants to get the most out of life.”

In addition, Favat says, “We thought, ‘What could we do around World Cup?’ We’re not an official sponsor, but what can we do while it’s happening and of course the big, iconic statement is, ‘Goooooooooal,’ and we thought, ‘That’s pretty good. It sounds like golf.'”

Hall agrees.

“The clever concept of aligning the brand’s name ‘Golf’ with the excitement of a ‘goal’ is a creative way for VW to join the real-time conversation during one of the world’s biggest sporting events. The campaign is timely and the strategic partnership with ESPN is a smart way to reach qualified soccer fans, in a way that allows them to celebrate the individual pride fans have for their favorite teams, which many sponsors miss out on,” she writes.

“Overall it’s brave for VW to enter the World Cup arena without being an official sponsor. And the campaign is likely to garner buzz amid core soccer fans and if the sharing functionality is seamless it will prove a share-worthy asset for each scoring team’s fans to reinforce their bragging rights.”


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