A new direction for Roma transfer videos is social media reach used for good

The start of July heralds the start of the summer transfer window, when contracts are signed and players snapped up. In recent years gone by, it has marked the start of a deluge of new signing videos on Twitter, each more risque than the last.

Football clubs would fall over themselves to outdo their rivals, leading to viral videos invading our timelines and a sense that we’d somehow gone too far.

Those days may not be totally forgotten by now, but the phase has certainly died down, even if one or two over-the-top attempts still manage to filter through. By now, football clubs have stopped searching for the shock factor when announcing their new signings, preferring to be a little bit more understated with the output – though that doesn’t mean clubs have foregone creativity altogether.

One club that’s been synonymous with being at the forefront of social media trends is AS Roma, who pioneered the announcement video and started the craze before then parodying its excesses and mocking the whole thing entirely.

But the thought behind creating a signing video hasn’t changed. This is the time of the year when traffic soars – both for clubs and for publishers – as fans stay on the lookout for news of their team’s latest signings. Paradoxically, with no actual football to worry about, this is always one of the busiest times of the season.

Better still, for Roma – who are now well and truly known around the world for their transfer announcements – their Twitter account is now a destination page for tourists, interested not in the club or how it performs, but in how they’ve announced their latest transfer.

So that interest in Roma’s signings, coupled with the reach that their transfer announcement posts can garner meant that this year they wanted to do something useful for it:

By teaming up with National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States and Telefono Azzurro in Italy, as well as UK charity Missing People, the club are attempting to use the reach their platform gets to spread the word and try to find missing children.

Paul Rogers, Head of Strategy, 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,” said Paul Rogers, head of strategy at AS Roma.”

“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. There were four versions of the video made, two for the United States and one each for the UK and Australia.

“With Roma, we thought, we could try and do something similar but updated for the social media generation, which didn’t exist when Soul Asylum released their video. We want to use the viral nature of social media transfer announcements to help raise awareness for missing children.”

Roma were at the forefront of the initial buzz around transfer announcements, and have garnered massive reach on social media through community building and harnessing an engaging tone of voice – often bringing music and pop culture (particularly 90s rap!) into the social media feed. That has proved a hit, but the tie-in is being taken to new levels with the new partnerships.

“We have a massive social media following and our announcements generate incredible reach and awareness, all over the world,” said Rogers. “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.”

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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