A round of applause for Alves and Neymar’s #WeAreAllMonkeys! This excellent social marketing campaign has achieved incredible quantitative results, as well as criticism from the usual anti-marketing quarters. Let’s take a closer look, now that the criticism has started to drown out the praise.
Barça football player Dani Alves has continually been the target of racist insults, monkey noises from the stands, and bananas launched onto the field during breaks in play. Throughout his 11 years playing in Spain, Alves has been calling for greater awareness and measures against racism.
Actions speak louder than words: During a match on 27th April, Alves picked up a banana that had fallen at his feet and took a bite. His friend and teammate Neymar subsequently launched the hashtag #WeAreAllMonkeys. The quantitative results on the Internet speak for themselves. Let us add our qualitative analysis:
- Criticism: It’s not original – Pa Dembo Touray ate a banana during a match 10 years ago. Solidarity is not the same as fixing the problem, and awareness is not enough. (These critiques are heard in the non-profit and public sectors, which firmly believe that marketing is negative and trust only their brainy public policies.) The hashtag is wrong – it should say #weareallhumans. And the worst: It’s not spontaneous; there’s an advertising agency behind this; it’s a professional job.
- My professional recognition. These two professional football players are not just mindless poster boys. They decided to act when no one else would. (Two years ago, the Spanish football federation chief declared that “racism does not exist in Spain”.) Theirs is a simple campaign that has been professionalised (by Loducca Publicidade) to ensure excellence: the simple gesture of eating a banana is the essence of a global viral phenomenon. And what’s more, it works.
Studies show that young people see racism as a stigma on a par with suicide or drugs. They conclude that no adult is willing to intervene. And they dream of global multimedia campaigns in the popular media featuring the testimony of bystanders. We happily overlook the Samsung product placement in selfies posted by celebrities, but if Neymar hires an advertising agency, it strikes us as pre-planned. Neymar and Alves are bystanders who knew how to kick-start a social media campaign.
Have you done anything this big or this useful?