Mastercard enables virtual live soccer excitement for children in cancer treatment
By M4G Bureau - June 20, 2019
The unique initiative brings together young cancer patients with their Soccer idols using robots during a friendly match between Brazil and Honduras
In a unique initiative aimed at offering support and joy to children undergoing cancer treatment, Mastercard, in partnership with Hospital de Amor, the largest philanthropic oncology institution in Brazil, helped the children underdoing the treatment enjoy the virtual live excitement of entering a Soccer field with their idols. Mastercard, an official sponsor of Brazil's soccer teams, with the help of telepresence technology, enabled the children to on field experience with the help of robots during the friendly soccer match between Brazil and Honduras, in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Robots the size of a child joined the Brazilian soccer team players, representing two boys undergoing treatment at the Hospital de Amor, in Barretos (SP), and transmitted live, through an LED screen, all their reactions. At the other end, inside the hospital, the children could experience some of the excitement of being a player escort and being "inside" the field.
One day before the Sunday match, during the last training session, Mastercard took the robots to the field and made a live transmission. The players and the technical team had the opportunity to learn more about the story of the children who would enter the field with them the following day.
“Entering the field with soccer players is a dream for millions of children around the world. It seems to be impossible for many of them, especially for those who are in the hospital. We bring these children closer to their idols. This action is part of our campaign for Conmebol Copa América 2019, which has as motto the word "Aproxime" (get closer), which is an invitation for people to approach each other and start what is priceless through football," explains Sarah Buchwitz, Communications and Marketing Vice President at Mastercard Brazil and Southern Cone.
According to the National Cancer Institute (INCA), evidence from experimental studies suggests that psychological stress can affect tumor growth. Therefore, being close to family or friends can reduce levels of depression, anxiety and even symptoms related to illness and patient treatment. According to the Institute, Cancer affects about 12,000 children and teenagers annually in Brazil, representing an average of 32 cases per day.
“We are very pleased to make the dream of many children in cancer treatment come true with Mastercard’s action. Being able to enter the field with their idols and live the emotion of the fans. Surely, these children will feel that the greatest cheer is for them, for their health, for their happiness, to be victorious for every challenge they face. We are sure that all the fans who are in the stadium or in their houses will have their lives transformed forever by participating in this beautiful project. More than attending a match, the perspective brought by MasterCard’s project leads everyone to participate in a moment of love for each other," says Henrique Moraes Prata, Social Responsibility Director at Hospital de Amor.
"Entering the field with one of the stars of the Brazilian National Team is a unique experience for every child, it is unforgettable. In Mastercard’s unprecedented action, we are making true the dream of those young people who cannot be here. It is a way to contribute a little at this moment, with strength and positive energy," says Giberto Ratto, Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) Marketing Director.
To develop this project, created by Mastercard with WMcCann’s and MediaMonks’ collaboration, there were many challenges, both technical, and operational. Due to the uneven surface of the field, it was necessary to develop robots capable of walking on the grass, dealing with obstacles and resistant to rain. In addition, streaming software developed especially for the action, had to handle possible interferences in the radio frequencies and TV transmitters, because the robots are remotely controlled.
In the initial design for the robots development, the concept design and 3D detailing served as a basis for mold production, and later the final production of fiberglass was finished with automotive paint for more durability. For the process of piloting, pilots went to the stadium and had the direct feedback in auxiliary screen. In addition, throughout the project, the partners ideated together on the extent to which they would have to adapt to the protocols of the games and the solutions needed to address the logistics challenges.
"Undoubtedly this is a daring project, combining aspects of electronics, software engineering, infrastructure and envelopes with quality craft. This action demonstrates how technology is at our service and how it can be used to do good things," said Tato Bono, WMcCann Production Vice President.