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SBD/Issue 189/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing
Hyundai Pulls World Cup Ad Amid Criticism From Catholic Groups
Published June 15, 2010
Hyundai has "pulled a World Cup-themed TV ad after an outcry from Catholic advocates who called the spot sacrilegious and offensive," according to Sam Gustin of DAILYFINANCE. The 30-second "Wedding" spot, which aired during Saturday's U.S.-England game, features a church in Argentina that "apparently worships soccer." The commercial "depicts a church service with religiously charged imagery, including a soccer ball with a crown of thorns and worshipers kneeling as they receive pizza for communion." However, an attempt to be humorous "missed the mark -- widely -- outraging Catholic advocates and bloggers." Hyundai said that the spot is "based on an actual church in Rosario, Argentina, called Iglesia Maradoniana, which is dedicated" to Diego Maradona, now coach of the country's World Cup team. The Korea-based carmaker said that it "meant no offense but rather intended to humorously connect the 'passion of soccer fans with owner loyalty.'" A Hyundai spokesperson yesterday said, "We got enough of an outcry that we think we missed the mark. So we're going to do the right thing and pull it down" (DAILYFINANCE.com, 6/14). FOXNEWS.com's Greg Burke noted critics complain that Hyundai "mocks the Eucharist, which Catholics believe to be the body of Christ, by showing 'worshipers' on their knees receiving slices of pizza rather than the communion host" (FOXNEWS.com, 6/14).
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PART OF A BIGGER EFFORT: MARKETING DAILY's Karl Greenberg notes Hyundai Motor America is running "soccer-centric ads," via Innocean Worldwide America, during World Cup coverage on ESPN and ABC. The spots are scheduled to appear in "287 ad slots during games, in halftime positions," as well as during "SportsCenter," "World Cup Primetime," and "World Cup Live." Hyundai also is running ads in ESPN The Magazine, as well as on ESPN.com, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile and ESPNSoccernet.com. Hyundai Motor America VP/Marketing Chris Perry said, "We think the passion people have for it will carry though to a commitment to watching all of the programming on ESPN, which means seeing our advertising. ... I turned on ESPN today and I saw a team stepping out of a Hyundai-marked bus; there's Hyundai signage on the field. The fact that Hyundai is already invested in FIFA on a global scale has made it that much more appealing to us." Perry said the three ads Hyundai has developed for the campaign "tie the passion and loyalty people have for their soccer team to the loyalty people have for Hyundai" (MARKETING DAILY, 6/15 issue).
FOR MORE FROM SOUTH AFRICA: For more World Cup coverage, please see other stories in today’s issue on Dutch female fans being ejected for an ambush marketing effort, South Africa team merchandise selling quickly, viewership being up through three days on ESPN and Univision, ESPN’s on-air talent garnering positive reviews, AT&T Park drawing more than 20,000 fans for a public viewing of Saturday's game, police taking over security at two venues, FIFA citing tradition in not banning vuvuzelas and late-night talk show hosts discussing soccer.