Summer signings used by AS Roma to focus attention on missing children

01 Jul 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

AS Roma, has launched a new social media campaign partnering with missing child charities the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the United States and Telefono Azzurro in Italy.

Making the most of the interest around their summer signings, each time Roma announce a new player they will include photos of missing children in their announcement posts.

Children from both Italy and the USA will feature in the images, running through Roma’s official social media channels, which are reminiscent of the milk carton campaigns used in the United States to drive awareness and publicity around missing children.

Paul Rogers, Head of Strategy at AS Roma, said: “The idea for the new transfer announcement initiative actually came from reading an article about the 25th anniversary of Soul Asylum’s ‘Runaway Train’ video, which famously highlighted actual cases – with photos and names – of children missing at the time.

“Taking inspiration from the use of milk cartons to display a photo of a missing child in America, the band’s video director Tony Kaye decided to use the medium of a pop video played on MTV and music channels globally to try and help find 36 missing children. In the end, I think they helped locate 21 children.”

“With Roma, we thought, we could try and do something similar but updated for the social media generation. We have a massive social media following and our announcements generate incredible reach and awareness, all over the world, so we thought that at the exact moment when the world’s attention is on the club’s announcement, we could use our social media channels not for self-promotion but rather to help both the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Telefono Azzurro find missing children.”

The club plans to release two videos per player signing, one featuring Italian children and one featuring American teenagers. Juventus' Leonardo Spinazzola's transfer to the Serie A side launched the campaign this week and featured seven missing children. 

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and Telefono Azzurro form part of the Global Missing Children’s Network (GMCN), an international group that helps government agencies and non-profit organisations across five continents find missing and abducted children throughout the world. 

Ernesto Caffo, president of Telefono Azzuro, added: “We are thankful to AS Roma for creating this opportunity to shine a light on the serious issue of missing children, a cause that too often receives little coverage in mainstream media.”

Roma are also in talks with a British charity about providing information on more missing children across Europe.