Cannes Lions

Missing Fans

VMLY&R BRAZIL, Sao Paulo / SANTOS FUTEBOL CLUBE / 2019

Presentation Image
Demo Film
Presentation Image

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Every hour, 2 children disappear in Brazil. Despite this huge number, the missing person issue is not on the top of the local government’s agenda. Most of the cases remain unsolved for decades. Mães da Sé (Mothers of Sé Square), a group of mothers whose children have disappeared, is the biggest missing person’s organization in the country. Its goal is not only to find their relatives, but also to bring visibility for the cause. As a non-governmental organization, it has no funds to invest in media campaigns.

Idea

Few Brazilians are aware of the missing persons issue. But there’s one thing that the whole country does watch: soccer. Mães da Sé partnered with one of the biggest soccer teams in Brazil – Santos Futebol Clube – to change soccer fans’ perception.

Every missing kid is also a soccer fan. Since Santos’s – and any other teams’ – fans have a huge sense of brotherhood, we presented these children as missing fans: one more reason for fans to care about them. Then, we gave posters of missing persons an exclusive exposure: the backdrops of Santos’ press conferences. Sponsors’ spaces were given away for the cause and we displayed missing children’s faces instead.

Thanks to the massive news coverage Santos always has, we talked not only to the team’s supporters, but to the whole audience of dozens of TV channels and digital platforms that broadcast Santos’ players and coach interviews.

Strategy

Soccer fans from the same team have an emotional bond and mutual concern even without knowing each other. By presenting missing children as missing soccer fans on the media, we gave one more reason for soccer lovers to care about the cause.

At the same time, soccer gets huge press coverage in Brazil, especially one of the biggest and most traditional teams like Santos.

So, our key message was to show that, during sports broadcast and the news, one of the biggest teams in the country is searching for its little missing fans.

Execution

Our special backdrops will be featured in regional (São Paulo state) and two national (Brazil’s Cup and National League) competitions, at press conferences that take place after practices and games.

The first time it went live was during Santos’ final interview before an important match in Brazil’s Cup.

But we wanted to make it in a natural, organic way. That’s why we surprised journalists with the special backdrop without warning them in advance. At this point, the agency’s press team, along with Santos’ marketing department, sent a release to all relevant media players explaining the campaign.

This move was important not to interfere in the press conference format, so it would remain relevant for the audience, while creating a specific PR around the missing person cause.

Outcome

In the first week, which included two press conferences:

Our photos had 00 million impacts during the live broadcasts alone.

Over 00 relevant media channels, including TV, print press and the Internet, talked about the activation.

Nearly 00 million dollars in earned-media.