Russia’s performances at the 2018 FIFA World Cup have raised £170,000 for LBGT+ rights, bookmaker Paddy Power has revealed as the tournament wrapped up in Moscow.
The World Cup final, which saw France lift the trophy for a second time in the Luzhniki Stadium, also brought the curtain down on Paddy Power’s ‘From Russia with Equal Love’ campaign, which has sought to throw a spotlight on the host nation’s poor record on LBGT+ rights.
The Synergy-crafted campaign, delivered in partnership with Attitude Magazine, involved Paddy Power pledging a charity donation of £10,000 for every Russian goal in the tournament.
The hosts enjoyed an unexpectedly strong run to the tournament's quarter finals before bowing out in a dramatic penalty shoot-out loss to finalists Croatia. The players' exploits ultimately delivered a £170,000 pot, which will now be invested in causes helping to fight LBGT+ prejudice in Russia, including educational programmes and support for players in coming out.
Paddy Power's campaign enjoyed high-profile support from LBGT+ icons, sport stars and celebrities including Caitlyn Jenner, Mark Foster, Keegan Hirst and Louie Spence, who all “came out” for Russia at the World Cup. Sports Minister Tracey Crouch joined fellow MP Penny Morduant in giving further heavyweight backing.
Synergy claims that ‘From Russia with Equal Love’ made Paddy Power the UK’s most talked-about brand on social media during the tournament, generating more than 84 million impressions from 12,000 posts with 92% positive or neutral sentiment.
Lee Price, head of PR at Paddy Power, said: “When it comes to LGBT+ campaigns we wanted to do something that would genuinely make an impact. The moment Synergy pitched Rainbow Russians to me, I knew it was perfect.
"It was so simple - every time Russia score, donate to LGBT+ causes. It was brilliant, clear, and legitimate.
"Once we engaged our various in-house teams, the idea exploded into life, far beyond a mere PR campaign into a business-wide one: across social, editorial, retail, press, TV, and just about every touchpoint of our marketing department.
"We’re delighted that the Russian football team raised £170,000 for LBGT+ causes - and sure they’re full of pride, too.”
Greg Double, creative account director at Synergy, added: “Annoyingly we couldn’t get football come home, but we did play a role in helping football come out.
"When World Cup fever takes hold, one of the many symptoms is to forget about everything else – including the human rights record of the hosts. I’m proud that this campaign helped keep the focus on the hosts and that Russia became such a willing, albeit unwitting, ally of the LGBT+ community.
"While other brands were changing their logos to rainbow colours, Paddy Power put their money where Russia’s boots were. Other brands should take note.”