'The worst marketing I've ever seen' - Mastercard's World Cup children's meals campaign stirs debate

Mastercard's World Cup campaign

Mastercard has scored a potential own goal in its bid to portray itself as a purveyor of social good as its social media campaign to provide thousands of meals to children misses the target with some on social media.

In an attempt at creating empathy with football fans, the credit card brand has announced that for every goal scored in the World Cup and any further competition over the next two years by Lionel Messi or Neymar, it will provide 10,000 meals to starving children.

However such a gesture has led several high profile social media users, including football writer Henry Winter and former England striker Ian Wright to criticise the gesture.

Through Twitter, Winter questioned why the brand didn’t just feed the children rather than create a marketing campaign out of it, while Wright questioned how the idea was sanctioned in the first place.

Other elements of the campaign will see the equivalent of one school meal donated by Mastercard for each is of the #JuntosSomos10 campaign hashtag, and a further 10 meals supplied for every donation made through the website.

In a statement, MasterCard explained: “For each goal scored by Lionel Messi or Neymar from now until March 2020, Mastercard will donate the equivalent of 10,000 meals to the World Food Programme to fight childhood hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Messi was also quoted of his involvement: “I’m proud to be a part of this campaign that will help change the lives of thousands of children in my country and other regions of the world.

“I hope this initiative gives as many smiles as possible to all the children.”

Many on Twitter debated the efforts, either cynically believing that it was not a subject that should be included in marketing, or standing up for the brand for at least addressing the issue of child poverty.

At the time of writing no one from MasterCard had responded to The Drum for comment on the criticism.

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