While sports rivalries around the world can often get heated, they can be downright dangerous when it comes to soccer in Brazil.
According to Leo Burnett Brazil, the nation has the world’s highest rate of football-related deaths, with 144 violent fights around stadiums last year that resulted in 19 deaths. So to help protect fans as they leave the stadium, Leo Burnett Brazil worked with Esporte Clube Bahia to develop “camouflage” jerseys that automatically hide the emblem when fans leave the stadium.
To create the jerseys, the agency used something called chromosonic technology, which allows material to change using heat and sound. When someone wearing the jersey leaves the stadium, geolocation technology embedded triggers a process that begins hiding the logo before the fan arrives on the streets. They also added a thermochromic pigment to the sublimated polyester jerseys that, upon interacting with heat, hides the logo to change the jersey to neutral colors.
Because only a few dozen were made, the project is more of an awareness campaign than something for a stadium full of fans. However, after the jerseys created a lot of interest beyond the Brazilian journalists and influencers that received the first run, Leo Burnett is working with the team to sell more of them as a “very limited edition” collectible item. All profits will be used to finance anti-violence initiatives.
“We wanted it to be the catalyst for a broader discussion that is absurd in our football,” said Wilson Mateos, executive creative director of Leo Burnett Brazil.
Mateos said Bahia initially asked the agency to do a traditional marketing campaign. However, he said the increased violence and deaths among supporters was something that needed to be addressed, and a regular campaign would likely be ignored.
“The buzz has been so positive that many major teams and players have been endorsing the message, and we paid nothing for it,” he said. “That’s how successful this idea is: We put rival teams together to address this issue that otherwise was a taboo. We broke some boundaries. We opened a serious discussion and the search for solutions. A [traditional] campaign would never do that.”