World Cup Watch: Budweiser Rises as One with Help from VICE

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With the World Cup in Brazil kicking off on June 12, brands are going into overdrive to capitalize on the growing anticipation.

Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the massive event, has embarked on a multi-faceted World Cup marketing campaign that includes a co-branded content web series—a first for the brand—in partnership with the Millennial magnet that is the VICE media brand these days.

The “Rise as One: Modern Stories” series started as a documentary on Fox and has been playing out in episodes on its YouTube channel as well as via its (age-gated) World Cup microsite, called (in line with its World Cup tagline), Rise as One.[more]

“On top of TV and the more traditional [parts], digital is the lead component of this campaign,” Ricardo Marques, Budweiser’s global advertising director, told Adweek. “One of the things that we wanted to ensure was that we understood the specifics of each platform and made sure that we have content tailored to each platform.”

Some of its digital plans include using Twitter Cards so the end users can place votes on favorite players during games. Every matchup in the Cup will have a winning player and Bud “will buy Promoted Tweets to drive traffic to the content,” Adweek reports. Bud will also purchase promoted posts on Facebook.

It’s also running a related web series titled “Rise as One: Hero Stories,” including this tale of Xia Yonghong, who decided to bring soccer to his hometown in the Chinese province of Hubei province, spending three hours every day for thirty years to build free, public pitches:

On the ground, meanwhile, Bud is taking a page from its Super Bowl efforts, when it opened the floating Bud Light Hotel, by taking over an existing hotel in Rio and renaming it the Budweiser Hotel. To kick things off at the hotel, Bud will throw a kick-off bash featuring Zedd and Major Lazer.

Another World Cup sponsor, Hyundai (provider of ground transportation), is focusing its advertising efforts on the passion of fans rather than the stars on the field. “The theme we’re working with is: as loyal and as passionate as fans are about their nation, or about their team, Hyundai owners are about their Hyundais,” commented David Matathia, Hyundai Motor America’s director of marketing communications, about its #BecauseFutbol campaign that breaks in June.

One of the campaign spots features a baby boom nine months after a big World Cup win. Another has a little girl letting her dad know the results of a big match after he’s done everything he can to avoid hearing the result from other sources.

Sticking with the love for fans, Hyundai is also unveiling a billboard in Times Square featuring a closeup of a fan with the text, “I borrowed my daughter’s makeup for my game face.” If that doesn’t make you want to buy a car, what could?

Official mobile sponsor Samsung, meanwhile, saw its new short film (teased back in December) for its Galaxy S5—featuring some of the world’s best soccer stars getting ready to battle aliens—zoom straight to No. 1 on YouTube’s viral video charts, as tracked by VidIQ for Adweek:

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