The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) is up in arms over a Hyundai advertisement and we wonder: do they have a legitimate case? The South Korean car company is promoting an offer to extend its traditional five-year warranty on new cars sold between January 1st and July 13th to six if the host country’s national team Brazil wins a record sixth World Cup title. Hyundai is an official sponsor of FIFA’s World Cup.
CBF lawyers complain that the ad breaches its intellectual property and have asked the automaker to pull the promotion and related advertisements. To date, Hyundai has stayed mum on the issue.
As an official sponsor of this year’s tournament, is Hyundai out of bounds by referencing the Brazilian national team? The company has paid for the right to use branding associated with the tournament, yet the CBF says the latest advertisement crosses the line and that Hyundai cannot use references to the Brazil team in its promotion.
Hyundai’s sponsorship deal is directly with FIFA, and CBF would have a much better case if it weren’t associated at all with football’s governing body. CBF isn’t getting money directly off the Hyundai advertisements—FIFA is—and what better way to lodge a complaint, right or wrong, then to threaten a breach of property. As a tournament sponsor, Hyundai should be afforded the branding that comes with the tournament, which arguably could include the host country and its related team.
Let’s say Hyundai was offering the same deal if South Korea won the World Cup, would South Korea’s governing body be up in arms like the CBF? Not likely.
On its face, it seems like an innocuous case. But when big money is at stake, nothing is off limits.