EE's new Hope United ads tackle homophobia in soccer with 'GayVAR'

The telecom brand tapped TV star Tom Allen to appear in content

Published On
Feb 23, 2023

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The U.K.'s EE is taking a stand against homophobia in soccer in its latest "Hope United" campaign, after previous campaigns by the BT-owned mobile brand tackled misogyny and online trolling. 

Agency Saatchi & Saatchi tapped well-known gay TV host Tom Allen to appear in the content opposite former England player Joe Cole. In the launch film, seen here, the pair discuss why the word "gay" is still used as an insult against players and specific moments.

The series will encourage fans to take a stand and call out online homophobic hate when they see or experience it online, calling out such behavior with so-called "GayVAR" (a play on VAR, or Video Assistant Referee, playbacks which are now common in games.)

EE Hope United will monitor social media across three Premier League game weeks, with GayVAR content posted in response to specific moments that have been found to generate spikes in online homophobic abuse, such as bad individual player performances, bad goalkeeping, dives and losses. The short videos will highlight the ridiculous nature of homophobia, and will be shared across EE’s social media channels.

“With GayVAR we wanted to flip a format football fans are familiar with, and use it to highlight the real homophobic abuse that happens around the game, said Will John, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi, in a statement. "There’s a line and if you cross it, it calls it.”

Further members of the EE Hope United squad will feature in a free online video content series, sharing digital skills to educate users on how to challenge and report online homophobic abuse. Research commissioned by EE revealed almost three quarters (71%) of Brits agree homophobia is a problem in soccer, which rises to nine in 10 (88%) among LGBTQ+ respondents. 

The campaign was created in collaboration with interational organization Football v Homophobia.






Feb 23, 2023
Client :
Agency :
Saatchi & Saatchi-London
Franki Goodwin
Executive Creative Director :
William John
Creative Director :
Ali Dickinson
Copywriter :
Sarah Heavens
Art Director :
Neil Ritchie
Head of Art :
Rodrigo Castellari
Executive Design Director :
Nathan Crawford
Designer :
Kris Miklos
Designer :
Marco Balducci
Designer :
George Colledge
Planning Director :
Ophelia Stimpson
Managing Partner :
Jon Tapper
Business Leader :
Sophie deGraft-Johnson
Account Director :
Elliot Handler
Senior Account Manager :
Maddie Williams
Agency Producer :
Jack Robinson
Agency Producer :
Lauren Pickard
Agency Producer :
Gabriela Nieto
Media Buying Agency :
Media Planner :
Lillie Norton
Production Company :
Director :
Glenn Kitson
Production Co-Producer :
Gloria Bowman
Editor :
Rachael Spann
Post-Production Company :
Electric Theatre Collective
Post-Production Producer :
Alex Carswell
Sound Engineer :
Mark Hills

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