Intense backlash prompted MasterCard to scrap a World Cup charity campaign that sought to donate 10,000 meals to hungry children for every goal soccer superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar score.
A MasterCard tweet from late last month featured Messi and Neymar embracing each other on the pitch as the multi-billion-dollar company vowed to feed malnourished children in Latin America.
Brazil coach Tite, whose team is sponsored by MasterCard, expressed frustration over the campaign, saying he’d rather the company make a donation if any of the teams’ players scored.
Social media users were also outraged over the idea.
“So, MasterCard clearly have the money. But the hungry, malnourished children only get the food if Messi & Neymar have a good World Cup?!?!?” one Twitter user wrote.
“What marketing genius, utterly devoid of humanity, came up with this?” another said. “@Mastercard’s way of donating food to starving children: they’ll do it, but only when one of these two score during the World Cup. Goal saved? No food. Revolting.”
MasterCard released a statement to the Associated Press announcing the cancelation of the marketing campaign and vowed to contribute one million meals over the rest of the year.
“We don’t want fans, players or anyone to lose focus on the critical issue of hunger and our efforts to raise support for this cause,” MasterCard said. “Based on the feedback, we are adjusting this campaign to replace the 10,000 meals donation per goal by Messi and Neymar Jr. with a contribution of one million meals in 2018. This is in addition to 400K meals we have already donated as part of the campaign.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.