Mastercard Stops Meals-For-Goals campaign with Neymar, Messi
Credit card giant, MasterCard has scrapped a charity initiative to donate 10,000 meals to hungry children for every goal scored by Argentina forward Lionel Messi and Brazil counterpart Neymar after facing an escalating backlash from the people and on social media.
Under the scheme, every time the Brazil and Argentina strikers scored, 10,000 meals would be donated to the United Nations World Food Programme.
The campaign was criticized online as a stunt ahead of the World Cup, where rival credit card giant Visa is the official FIFA sponsor.
Goals that changes lives: for each goal scored by Messi or Neymar Jr. Mastercard will donate the equivalent of 10,000 meals to @WFP to fight childhood hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean #TogetherWeAre10 #StartSomethingPriceless https://t.co/URfIp77ElN pic.twitter.com/Ckq61oJgld
— Noticias Mastercard (@MastercardLAC) May 31, 2018
Brazil coach, Tite, whose team is sponsored by Mastercard, expressed frustration with the campaign that it would be even bigger if the donation was made every time a goal was scored by all the athletes from Brazil and Argentina instead of the two players.
Having spent the weekend defending its “goals change lives” advertising on social media, Mastercard said on Monday it “heard the comments about our campaign in Latin America” and was withdrawing it.
“We don’t want fans, players or anyone to lose focus on the critical issue of hunger and our efforts to raise support for this cause,” Mastercard said. “Based on the feedback, we are adjusting this campaign to replace the 10,000 meals donation per goal by Messi and Neymar Jr. with a contribution of one million meals in 2018. This is in addition to 400K meals we have already donated as part of the campaign.”
Among the tweets to Mastercard, Andrew Stroehlein of Human Rights Watch called the campaign “a PR own goal. Priceless” — alluding to the company’s slogan.
“We want to reinforce that Mastercard’s global commitment of delivering 100 million meals by the end of this year goes beyond any one campaign,” the company said. “We are grateful to our brand ambassadors who will continue to play a critical role in helping us raise awareness of the cause.
“Mastercard will continue to be one of the many players engaged in reversing the cycle of poverty globally.”