Football icon Pele has been signed on by Volkswagen as brand ambassador. He will feature in the brand’s communication for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both of which will be held in Brazil.
The appointment has been made following Volkswagen turning 60 in Brazil earlier this year. Besides Pele, the brand has roped in yesteryear Brazilian footballers Rivellino and Rai, and current striker Neymar Jr.
The deal was negotiated by Legends 10, the firm managing Pele’s endorsements and MediaCom Sport.
A film titled 'InovaNeymar' features the lot together. It shows Pele’s legendary moves on the field from his heydays all the way up to him cheering Neymar Jr. as the latter walks into the arena in a Brazil jersey. The film features Volkswagen car models through the years on a parallel.
Thomas Schmall, chairman, Volkswagen Brazil, said, “In a successful company, you must have a clear business vision or, as they say in football, 'a precise and powerful kick’ and an ability to ‘dribble past your competition’. We are amazingly fortunate to have a winning team of engaged employees and appealing products: a cast of great stars that, like Pelé, has made and continues to make history in the world of football.”
Marcus John, global head, MediaCom Sport, added, “Simply put, no-one could represent 60 years of VW in Brazil better than Pelé, the greatest athlete of the century. By connecting Pelé to the world’s leading automotive company, we have brought together two global iconic brands.”
Responding to Campaign India, a MediaCom spokesperson clarified that the current deal with Pele was only for Brazil, given the country-specific nature of VW’s 60 year celebrations. The spokesperson added, “VW have an option to expand the relationship across the globe, and it’s something we will be exploring together. They have not yet indicated where they would like to expand this deal."
Volkswagen will feature Pele in an integrated communication strategy, straddling commercials, events and other initiatives aimed at connecting the brand with Brazil and its passion for football.
The German auto major has been a sponsor of the Brazilian national football team since 2009.