Barcelona football club player Dani Alves caused a storm that worked in his favour after a racial incident that saw him hailed a hero and sparked social media activism for #NoToRacismInSport. Whilst the footballer was about to take a corner kick in Barcelona’s fixture against Villareal on April the 27th, a Villareal fan threw a banana on the pitch – a famous symbol for racism that means ‘people of colour are monkeys.’ Dani Alves proceeded to pick up the banana and ate it before delivering the corner kick. The Brazilian went on to score a goal and set-up 2 others.
What transpired after the incident has been pure social media storm:
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) April 29, 2014
While Alves’s humorous reaction poked fun at the racism situation, the social media family quickly threw its weight behind him with messages of support and an anti-racism campaign started. See below for the tweets:
— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) April 28, 2014
Utterly brilliant reaction from Alves. Treat the racist berk with complete disdain!
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 27, 2014
— Sergio Kun Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) April 28, 2014
As the graphs below show, the banana incident sent “Alves” mentions into Twitter overdrive,
…and he (@DaniAlvesD2) benefitted handsomely as a result.
What can companies learn from this chance event that turned into a positive social media experience?