Mastercard is facing a backlash on social media after launching a campaign promising to donate the equivalent of 10,000 meals to malnourished children for every goal scored by Lionel Messi or Neymar in this summer’s World Cup.
The campaign was publicised on Mastercard’s official Twitter account for Latin America and the Caribbean. One of the images accompanying the campaign reads, “for each goal scored by Messi or Neymar Jr 10,000 children will receive a meal.”
Many of the Twitter users responding to the campaign criticized Mastercard for leveraging child hunger to promote its brand. One Twitter user stated, “How on earth did someone persuade MasterCard to perpetrate this tasteless stunt?”
Meanwhile another user accused the credit card company of placing the burden of child hunger onto World Cup goalkeepers, “Neymar steps up to take the penalty. Gives the ‘keeper the eye and says ‘if you save this, you’re taking food out of the mouths of 10,000 hungry children…’”
To date, Mastercard’s post has been retweeted 129 times and the majority of responses appear to be critical.
In an official press release on its website, Mastercard states, “The goals scored by Messi and/or Neymar Jr. will now take on a new meaning. Over the next 21 months, each goal represents an opportunity to unleash the power of a meal”.
According to the announcement, the campaign is called “Priceless” and the donations will be made to the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP). The campaign launched on 10th April and is being promoted under the #TogetherWeAre10 hashtag.
Commenting on the campaign, Lionel Messi stated, “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.”
Meanwhile, according to Janet Rivera-Hernandez, Mastercard’s VP for Communications, the campaign is an example of how companies can “do good.”
“The #TogetherWeAre10 movement is an example of how companies can do well and do good to drive a more inclusive society,” she said.