Global sports franchises are in a special position where they can use their fame among fans to try and do something positive in the world. Many franchises will associate themselves with at least one charity to help to make a difference that way. AS Roma, the Italian soccer team playing in Serie A, uses the exposure it gets from signing a new player to help try and find missing children. This is how they do it.
Creating a buzz
Many soccer teams across Europe and the rest of the world take to social media to announce a new player to their fans, and beyond. It is an announcement which, over the years, has developed into a ‘viral moment’ that for a very brief period has plenty of people’s eyes focused on the club.
The ‘moment’ has developed over time into a pretty special event and reveal, with AS Roma being particularly known for doing this well. Any time Roma makes a signing, people are intrigued to see what reveal the club is going to do. In 2019, the soccer club from the Italian capital decided to do something a little different.
Finding missing children
Roma made the decision to help organizations around the world find missing children they are looking for. The idea was to use missing children from the countries they were signing their players from, so when Roma signed Chris Smalling from Manchester United, the club targeted British kids.
Roma officials figured if the club was signing someone from the United Kingdom, then people from the country would be more interested in that player transfer than those elsewhere. That’s why they featured missing children from the United Kingdom in a video alongside the reveal of English star player Chris Smalling.
Reaching over nine million people
In total, AS Roma’s viral videos featuring missing children were watched over nine million times. That’s a lot of people suddenly becoming aware of a missing child, and so, the tactic proved to be successful in some cases. Roma’s head of strategy, Paul Rogers, got the idea from a music video by the band Soul Asylum from the 1990s, when they featured missing children in it.
He thought this was a great idea and approached several missing children charities from the United States, United Kingdom, Kenya, and Belgium. The video the club showed after making its first signing featured over 100 cases of missing children in over 70 videos from 12 different countries.
It was a success
After Roma’s videos went viral, there was an amazing phone call made to Rogers from a missing person’s charity. The head of strategy was informed that one of the children featured on the viral video had been found.
In fact, over the course of the summer in 2019, five children featured on those videos were found. Two kids from the UK were found, another two from Kenya were also found, while a fifth from Belgium was also reunited with their family.
Sadly, not every child featured on the videos made by the soccer club were found. Despite this, helping those charities to find even one missing child has to be considered a success.