Company: Neymar Jr. (famous footballer)

Agencies: Loducca, São Paulo

Market(s): Global

Timing: April 27 – May 27, 2014

International football star Neymar Jr. used his social network clout to protest the rampant racism against black footballers.

BACKGROUND

More and more black football players have been attacked by the crowd in stadiums. Every week a case of racist abuse arises in a game around the world. Although everybody knows that racism in football is a big problem, people are becoming desensitized to this kind of story. It’s as if the problem is becoming a matter of fact. Therefore, the challenge was to find a powerful way to spotlight the issue of racial discrimination in football.

THE IDEA

To maximize global visibility, Neymar Jr. acted as the face of the campaign, and then the campaign was timed to launch right before the World Cup, as the whole world watched. The idea aimed to take away the “weight” of the message by using mockery and indifference to pre-empt racist attacks. The use of a banana — an icon of racism in football — was reclaimed, and the footballer reacted mockingly and indifferently to protest a racist act.

THE PROCESS

Although internationally famous, since Neymar Jr.’s arrival in Spain, he has been the target of racist acts. After yet another racist attack, agency Loducca set out to create a campaign against such racism. Their inspiration: “We are all monkeys”. During a match in Barcelona, a member of the crowd threw a banana at player Daniel Alves. The campaign launched immediately thereafter. As an international superstar, Neymar Jr. leveraged his popularity across social media networks to launch the “#weareallmonkeys hashtag (#somostodosmacacos), gaining the support of myriad other celebrities, including footballers, artists and even government officials.

THE RESULTS

The objective was to provide an answer to racist football supporters and start a debate around the theme. The campaign generated more than 6 million interactions, led by Neymar Jr. on his social networks. The eventual campaign made cover headlines of several newspapers and magazines around the world. On TV, several commentators demonstrated their support for the campaign by eating bananas during their shows.