Neymar and Daniel Alves were sick to the back teeth of being racially abused in various Spanish stadiums and so together, and with the help of the ex-Santos striker’s team of advisers, they came up with a plan to respond to the ignorant abusers.
The wave of anti-racist statements that have filled the internet since Sunday, when Alves ate a banana thrown at him from the stands in Villarreal’s Madrigal stadium, is a marketing campaign that’s been planned for several weeks.
After the game against Espanyol, when Neymar was the victim of monkey chants, the Brazilian met with his father and advisers to discuss a way of responding to the racist abuse.
That’s when they came up with the idea of eating the next banana that was thrown from the stands. “Actions speak louder than words” said Guga Ketzer, partner in advertising agency Loducca, who organised the marketing campaign launched in Brazil after Alves’ banana munching protest in the game against Villarreal. “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 Brazilian wing-back had already made several statements against the racist abuse he’d suffered, but according to Ketzer, “the angrier you get, the more they tease you”. “The best way to beat prejudice is to take the sting out of the racist action so it isn’t repeated. We created #somostodosmacacos #weareallmonkeys, with the gesture of eating a banana, and it has been turned into a movement”, said the publicist to Meio e Mensagen, a Brazilian web specialising in marketing and publicity.
As soon as Alves ‘launched’ the campaign in Villarreal, Neymar’s team put up his photo eating a banana on social networks and the response was immediate. Footballers and celebrities the world over copied the gesture and put up their own banana eating photos, including Brazil’s president Dilma Roussef.
On Monday afternoon, the clothes brand of Luciano Huck, Brazil’s most popular television presenter and a personal friend of Neymar, was selling t-shirts with the hashtag #somostodosmacacos and a banana image for 25 euros.