Arsenal football stars will appear in an advert for this year’s Rainbow Laces campaign from Stonewall and Paddy Power as a host of brands sign up to help drive a change of attitude towards LGBT people in football.
The activity follows last year’s ‘Right Behind Gay Footballers’ campaign – which garnered support from football clubs, players and broadcaster BT Sport – and to support it this year, Metro will fill an entire paper with brands backing it.
The ‘Changing Room’ campaign was created by Lucky Generals and M2M and brands pledging support include Premier Inn – which will rebrand to Premier Out for the day – HTC/Carphone Warehouse, Playstation, Sega, Relish Broadband, KLM, Heineken, Pepsico, Lastminute.com, Dr Martens, BT Broadband/BT Sport, Starbucks, Fiat and Jersey Tourism.
This year the focus of the campaign has shifted to promote the need for a fundamental change in mind set among football clubs and fans to ensure attitudes improve in the long term.
Arsenal stars such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud take part in the campaign advert, which launches on cinema screens on 5 September and TV screens on 6 September.
The activity will build up to the weekend of 13/14 September, when footballers across the country will be encouraged to done rainbow laces on their boots to show support.
Paddy Power said: “We love football but it needs a good kick up the ass. In most other areas of life, people can be open about their sexuality and it’s time for football to take a stand and show players it doesn’t matter what team they play for.”
Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall, added: “Last year’s Rainbow Laces was a great start but there’s still a long way to go to tackle homophobia both on and off the pitch.
“The clubs and players supporting the campaign and lacing up this weekend are taking a powerful stand against homophobia in our national game.”
Last year’s Rainbow Laces campaign saw 54 football clubs take part and this year it has the backing of the Premier League, the Gay Football Supporters’ Network and football clubs such as Arsenal and Manchester City.
The 2013 activity prompted more than 500 media stories and 320 million Twitter impressions in the space of a week.