BT releases new ad 'Hope United' to combat online abuse in football
Branding agency Nomad is back again with another campaign, this time in collaboration with Saatchi & Saatchi. For this outing, the pair has focused on kicking hate out of football.
Called 'Hope United', it has been made for BT and includes a TV ad and a video featuring top footballers coming together to discuss the consequences of online abuse. It's reported that one in 10 footballers has received online abuse in the past year. To explore this unfortunate statistic further, the campaign gives audiences the "digital skills needed to tackle online hate".
Recently during the Euros 2020, England football stars Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho received online abuse after missing their penalty shots in the final against Italy. In light of recent events, the campaign feels poignant and necessary. The abuse thrown at the three black players was so extreme that a Marcus Rashford mural in his hometown of Withington, Manchester, was defaced. However, the hate was met with love as fans and supporters rallied around and covered the mural with heartfelt messages for the 23-year-old player. The residents of Manchester certainly proved that love can override hate. In response, Rashford told his 11.6m Instagram fans he was: "Overwhelmed, Thankful. Lost for words".
The whole Euros ordeal has stirred a much-needed conversation around racism on and off the pitch – and, more importantly, what we should be doing to stop it.
The 'Hope United' campaign includes a bold logo, football kit, and graphic identity for the footballers involved. The campaign has provided online resources, including videos that can help to educate people on the toll trolling can have on footballers, in particular footballers of colour. The theme is purple with a dash of neon green, aligning with BT's signature branding.
In recent weeks players like Saka, Rashford and Sancho have spoken out against the hate, all in different ways. However, the conversation around safeguarding players has taken on a new life of its own. In particular, the onus seems to be on the social media companies that allow hatred, contempt, and ridicule to live on their sites.
You can get involved with the 'Hope United' campaign by downloading the pledge, reading the manifesto, and sharing it on your social media. The manifesto reads: "Hate has no place in our lives, on our timelines, our newsfeed, or in our sport. So it's time to unite as a nation. Unite against negativity, unite against abuse, unite against indifference. It's time to speak out and do more. Hope can beat hate if we all stand together."
The expectation is that the message of love and support will make its way around the internet. The campaign's hyper-digital approach and strategy make it easy to share and accessible to anyone. The logo is distinctive and acts as a marker to let people know that you are against racism and or discrimination of any kind, particularly within football.
The campaign features Jordan Henderson, Lucy Bronze, Rio Ferdinand, Jesse Lingard, plus many more. You can explore the site and stand up to online abuse with the team here.