BT's creepy ad depicts online hate as a shadowy boogeyman

Soccer-themed campaign for the U.K. telecom giant via Saatchi London drops ahead of Euro 2020 championships

Published On
May 26, 2021

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U.K. telecom giant BT is tackling online hate ahead of the Euro 2020 soccer championships in a campaign that includes a creepy, horror-themed ad as well as an initiative rallying together a diverse "team" of professional players, "Hope United."

A cinematic film, directed by Matilda Finn of Stink films, imagines online hate as a shadowy boogeyman who creeps into every crevice of people's lives. It ends with a call to action, "Help us beat online hate," asking viewers to join Hope United. The ad ran on Tuesday night, during the UEFA Europa League Final on BT Sport. 

Hope United brings together a "squad" of 20 male and female players including Marcus Rashford, Gareth Bale, Lucy Bronze, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson and Demi Stokes, managed by former England captain Rio Ferdinand together with former player Karen Carney. The team will speak out about online hate and the trolling they themselves have experienced, and they will also appear in a series of content videos giving people "tech tips" about how to protect themselves online from trolls and be better digital citizens. 

“My work, both on and off the pitch, has taught me that there is no hiding place from social media abuse,” commented Rio Ferdinand in a statement. “Passions run high during big football tournaments and having seen the devastating effect that can result from online hate first-hand, it is more important than ever that sport unites to combat it.”

Saatchi & Saatchi London developed the brand identity for the team, along with the creative aspects of the campaign including social media content, TV, outdoor and press ads.

The campaign also includes films in which the squad explain their own experiences of online hate (see below). Saatchi & Saatchi also partnered with design studio Nomad to design the Hope United kit, as well as Digitas to develop the team website and Publicis Poke on retail display and activation, with PR by Pitch Marketing Group

"Everything about this has been collaborative and integrated from the start, with BT, with the players, with the partners we worked with, covering the development of the idea, the identity, the kit, TV, comms, influencer outreach, social media," said Guillermo Vega, chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi. "Bringing all of those elements and people together to unite in one powerful message during one of the biggest moments in the football calendar is significant. The influence and power this team, and this campaign, can have to drive positive change in the game and beyond, is huge."

 

Credits

Date
May 26, 2021
Client :
BT Sport
Agency :
Saatchi & Saatchi-London
Manager :
Rio Ferdinand
Manager :
Karen Carney
Coach :
Robbie Savage
Coach :
England :
Jesse Lingard
England :
Jordan Henderson
England :
Marcus Rashford
Wales :
Gareth Bale
Scotland :
Andy Robertson
England :
Lucy Bronze
England :
Demi Stokes
England :
Trent Alexander-Arnold
Scotland para-footballer :
Rebecca Sellar
Scotland :
Liam Palmer
Wales :
Ethan Ampadu
Wales :
Dan James
Wales :
Helen Ward
Northern Ireland :
Jamal Lewis
Northern Ireland para-footballer :
Charlie Fogarty
England :
Lauren James

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