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Goals Beyond the Game presented by Rakuten and FC Barcelona

RAKUTEN, INC., Tokyo / RAKUTEN, INC. / 2018

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Overview

Background

Rakuten is a global leader in internet services that empowers individuals, communities, businesses and society, but is less-known in Europe. By partnering with FC Barcelona, we aim to raise brand awareness.

The “Goals Beyond the Game” showcased Rakuten and FC Barcelona’s shared support for the Social Development Goals (SDGs) created by the UN for a better future without poverty, inequality and pollution. The objective was for millions of fans globally to associate our brand with these values as well as to embody our corporate slogan, “Believe in the future”.

The campaign included a website in 5 languages, where fans were encouraged to make a pledge for a better future. The campaign selected eleven children as “Young Ambassadors” of the SDGs. At the final game of the season at Camp Nou, the children brought the SDGs to life by walking the players onto the pitch wearing t-shirts specially designed by Rakuten.

Idea

We aimed to introduce Rakuten to fans and the wider public as a company that empowers communities not just through our services, but also through our partnerships. We wanted to engage FC Barcelona and their fans to be part of the responsible movement for our planet, which goes beyond the usual scope of both brands, thus the campaign name “Goals beyond the Game”.

The campaign page was available in 5 languages and openly accessible globally, which represented Rakuten as a truly global brand, at the same time highlighting the importance of the SDGs as a shared goal.

“Young Ambassadors”, or children selected by fans walked the team onto the pitch wearing the special SDG t-shirts. Their appearance created a concrete symbol of hope for a better future, and emotionally connected both brands and fans with the mission for sustainable development.

Strategy

Rakuten aimed at strengthening the emotional connection with the Barça fans by portraying Rakuten’s community-driven philosophy and values we stand for through the SDGs, to assert Rakuten as an empowering and relatable brand.

To bring the SDGs closer to the fans, Rakuten called out to consider how individuals could make a difference and create concrete pledges for a better future by choosing an SDG of their choice. We created the campaign page in 5 languages to reach and engage fans not only in Europe, but also in Asia and Latin America.

Besides the online campaign, Rakuten created on-site activations. Bringing children to represent the SDGs as “Young Ambassadors” made the intangible nature of sustainable development more concrete and easier to relate to, backed by our corporate slogan. We also educated fans on the SDGs and how Rakuten and FC Barcelona are collaborating to support this cause at the Rakuten Booth.

Outcome

Online: The web campaign resulted in over 1,500 pledges, most of them being from our key global markets. On Rakuten and FC Barcelona’s social media channels, the videos of the Young Ambassadors successfully created an emotional connection with fans, reaching 6.6 million and creating 283,000 engagements.

Onsite: Rakuten selected ten best pledges to be displayed at the Camp Nou LED signage during the break, increasing fan interest and affiliation with the SDGs, resulting the Rakuten Innovation Booth welcoming hundreds of visitors on the day, with fans taking photos with placards showing the SDGs they support.

Rakuten’s unique approach for sustainable development portrayed through the “Young Ambassadors” elevated the campaign beyond general sports marketing. The activation pushed out empowering messages that went beyond Rakuten’s business interests, depicting us as an organization that is passionate about sustainable development, and demonstrating that we can all be united under a strong purpose and mission.

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