By Chris Wright
A report published in Spanish newspaper AS has claimed that the ‘We are all monkeys’ campaign that swept social media in the wake of the banana taunts quite literally tossed at Dani Alves at the weekend was pre-planned well in advance by a group of marketing firms.
The campaign saw scores of footballers, coaches and television personalities from around the world post photos of themselves eating bananas on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in support of Alves’ reaction to the racist taunting he received at Villarreal – though it seems that the whole thing had been in the pipeline ever since Neymar himself was racially abused during the Catalan derby at Espanyol back in late March.
Of course, Alves had no idea that a banana was going to be hurled at him during the Villarreal game, but the social media reaction to the abuse was pre-ordained months in advance.
This via ESPN FC:
“A group of marketing firms were asked to develop a campaign which could draw attention to an issue which has blighted Spanish football for years.
“Alves did not know the banana would be thrown onto the pitch at Villarreal on Sunday, however, he and Neymar had decided that if an incident occurred, one of them would make sure to eat the fruit on camera. That moment could then be used to kick-start a social media campaign, with professional backing already in place to help ensure maximum impact.
“Within minutes of the incident occurring Neymar, who is currently recovering from a foot injury, had posted images of himself and his young son with bananas to his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
“Other high profile players including Sergio Aguero, David Luiz, Hulk, Mario Balotelli and Roberto Carlos have since followed suit, while non-football figures including Brazil president Dilma Rousseff have also offered support for the campaign online.”
The marketing firms responsible for the campaign have since made themselves known, with advertising agency Loducca, Brazilian marketing strategists Meio e Mensagen and Neymar’s own people all taking credit.
Guga Ketzer, a publicist for Loducca, told AS:
“Actions speak louder than words. A gesture needs no translation and what we’re seeing is that this has gone viral, globally. The idea was for Neymar to eat the banana, but in the end it was Alves, and that works just the same.
“The best way to beat prejudice is to take the sting out of the racist action so it isn’t repeated. We created #somostodosmacacos and #weareallmonkeys, with the gesture of eating a banana, and it has been turned into a movement.”
According to AS, there was a “carefully prepared commercial aspect” to the campaign as well, with t-shirts adorned with the #somostodosmacacos (“we are all monkeys”) hashtag and an image of a banana almost immediately being put on sale by a Brazilian company for €25 a pop.
And now we don’t really know what to think.