Brazilian sportswear brand Penalty – which is both a sponsor and kit supplier to leading Rio de Janeiro team Vasco Da Gama – has unveiled a third kit for the new season which bears a powerful anti-racist message and a handprint.
The kit and its message leverages the team’s history. Back in 1923, Vasco da Gama took a stand against racism by pulling out of the Rio football league after five of its rival clubs demanded 12 of their players leave the club and the competition because of their ethnicity.
To commemorate that day, the new kit and the message, Penalty has created a social media strategy, including a Facebook page Orkut app to enable club supporters and football fans to demonstrate their own anti-racist beliefs.
The ‘Eu abro Mão’ app, a Portuguese term meaning ‘raise your hand to show support for a cause’, offered people the chance to print their palms on the walls of the Sao Januario stadium.
After clicking ‘like’ Penalty on the social network, users could then use their webcams to take a picture of their hand. The first 1,923 people who uploaded images had their hands and names pressed on to the stadium’s walls.
To promote the initiative Penalty created a YouTube video outlining the events of 1923 when Vasco eventually won the Rio Championship.
This initiative includes both a club-wide and an individual fan approach and engages the community in a cause that aims to cement engagement with game, club and brand.
Attaching itself to a cause gives Penalty a reason to interact with people on social networks and in return creates a reason for people to Like the brand for something more worthwhile than simply playing a game or unlocking some branded content.
But does the 1,923 handprint limit unnecessarily restrict the breadth off the campaign?