BT and EA give online hate the red card with in-game digital Hope United kit

The campaign and concept was developed by BT's advertising partner Saatchi & Saatchi.

BT and Saatchi & Saatchi have teamed up with EA Sports to tackle online hate by bringing BT’s Hope United kit to the digital realms of Fifa 22 Ultimate Team – a game mode in video game Fifa 22.

BT's initial campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi was created to run ahead of Euro 2020. Players including Marcus Rashford and Gareth Bale sported the Hope United kit to raise awareness of online hate aimed at football players.

Now, with the “Hate has no place in any game” campaign, the unique kit will be available for free via Fifa Ultimate Team's season objectives until April with a goal to encourage gamers to champion the fight against online hate.

Saatchi & Saatchi also created a TV ad to raise awareness of the movement, which was released yesterday (8 February) on BT Sport as well as on live streaming platform Twitch, accompanied by social ads across Facebook and Instagram.

The concept illustrates how online abuse goes further than just the players on the pitch, and how it can also be rife on gaming platforms. The ad depicts a gamer facing online abuse from their opponent after winning a match, mirroring the abuse professional footballers can receive throughout their careers.

As well as the ad, BT is initiating a new tech tip to provide gamers with information from footballers Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Danielle Carter and Michail Antonio on how to stand against hate by reporting abuse via the gaming platform.

BT Sport will also host a "Hope United Fifa challenge", where footballers Declan Rice, Michail Antonio, and Trent Alexander-Arnold will play against the four of the top Fifa esport players: Tekkz, Lisa Manley, FUTcrunch and Ebru, in a battle to lift the Hope Cup.

The two teams will be shown battling it out on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport’s YouTube channel today (9 February) at 6pm.

William John, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, said: “Last year we brought the UK’s biggest tech company together with the nation’s biggest footballers to create Hope United in an effort to combat online hate.

“In 2022 we’re taking things even further by launching Hope United’s kit into the biggest sports video game on the planet, continuing our fight against toxicity and reaching more people than ever before in order to continue driving cultural change.”

Pete Jeavons, marketing communications director at BT, said: “We are delighted to work alongside one of the industry’s leading developers, and one of the most popular game series of all time, to showcase the Hope United initiative and continue to shine a light and fight back against the online abuse people face every day.

“We hope this campaign will remind people that hate has no place in any game, and what they can do to combat it.”

James Salmon, EA Sports' Fifa marketing director, said video games should be fun and safe for everyone to give players the most enjoyable experience possible.

“We take our responsibilities seriously, providing tools and helping players understand how to use them effectively,” Salmon added. “That’s why we’ve joined forces with BT Hope United and stand alongside them in asking our players to tackle online hate together.”


Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to , plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free