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Brazil Soccer Federation Complains About Hyundai World Cup Ad

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Hyundai Motor Co. is an official sponsor of soccer’s world governing body FIFA and is allowed to use branding associated with the tournament, although the CBF says it can’t use references to the Brazil team in its promotion. Photographer: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg

March 11 (Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s soccer federation says an advertising campaign by Hyundai Motor Co., which promises new car buyers an extra year of warranty if the national team wins the World Cup, breaches its intellectual property rights.

A Hyundai advertisement playing on the word “hexa,” meaning “sixth” in Portuguese, promises the company will increase its usual five-year guarantee to six on new cars sold between Jan. 1 and July 13 if the host nation wins the competition this year for a record-extending sixth time.

The ad led to a complaint from the CBF, Brazilian soccer’s ruling body. Its legal director, Carlos Eugenio, contacted the carmaker and asked it to pull the campaign, arguing that it’s using intellectual property that belongs to the CBF. The soccer body’s official car partner is Volkswagen AG.

“Our lawyer went directly to Hyundai and told them they are using our property,” Rodrigo Paiva, a CBF spokesman, said by telephone. “It’s always a sensitive point but the CBF are the owners of the property.”

Hyundai spokeswoman Meeyoung Song said the company, South Korea’s biggest automaker, isn’t commenting on the matter. Volkswagen, the largest in Europe, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

‘HEXAGARANTIA’

The advertisement for the “HEXAGARANTIA” remains on Hyundai Brazil’s YouTube channel, and has been viewed more than 85,000 times. There’s also an official website for the promotion.

Hyundai is an official sponsor of soccer’s world governing body FIFA and is allowed to use branding associated with the tournament, although the CBF says it can’t use references to the Brazil team in its promotion. The Brazilian body made 235.6 million reais ($100 million) from sponsors in 2012, according to its latest annual report.

FIFA’s sponsors last year paid about $350 million for World Cup-related partnerships. The monthlong tournament, which is costing Brazil 25.6 billion reais, begins in Sao Paulo on June 12.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in Rio de Janeiro at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net Jay Beberman

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