Mastercard scores own goal with World Cup CSR initiative

As excitement for the World Cup grows, we’ve been keeping a close eye on what brands are doing to get involved in the conversation or utilise their sponsorship of the competition. One campaign that has most definitely caught our attention is Mastercard’s World Cup initiative with the World Food Programme.

The premise is simple – For every goal Messi and Neymar score in the tournament, Mastercard has pledged to donate 10,000 meals to children in the Caribbean and Latin America.

We always admire a creative campaign at The PHA Group, and how brands can piggyback off an event to be topical and part of the news agenda, but we feel Mastercard may have missed the mark (or goal) with this one.

Mastercard’s heart would have been in the right place, however the execution raises more than a few eyebrows. The backlash on social media says it all – from keepers becoming public enemies for saving shots, to the pressure on the players and why Mastercard doesn’t just give meals to children in the first place instead of it coming down to a game of chance.

Even Ian Wright has got involved in the conversation, calling it the worst marketing campaign he has ever seen – questioning how this idea was green-lighted after rounds of sign off. To be fair, he makes a good point.

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