True to their fun-loving and risk-taking characters, Brazilian superstars Neymar Jr and Nazario Ronaldo are making headlines in the poker world once again – this time combining their passion for football with poker in a fun PokerStars campaign. The #RaiseIt initiative started with Neymar Jr releasing a video in which he makes an impressive shot into the boot of a car. Ronaldo then steps it up with a video depicting his own difficult shot into a moving vehicle. Next, the two footballers challenge each
other to a ‘drone battle’. Neymar posted a video that shows him destroying a flying drone with a single kick, whilst Ronaldo obliterates his own drone with a golf shot.
The footballers challenged their 65 million combined Facebook fans to have a go at the playful one-upmanship, with some truly incredible – and also some downright embarrassing – videos trending under #RaiseIt as a result. Even some notable athletes have joined in the fun, with golfer Sergio Garcia and tennis pro Stefan Bojic bringing their own tricks to the table. The Brazilian footy icons are loving the diversity in the videos, even retweeting and sharing their favourites. “It really pushes the boundaries with encouraging people to try crazy new tricks and hone their skills,” says Neymar Jr.
How exactly does this connect to poker? “The #raiseit campaign encourages individuals to up the stakes by outsmarting a friend, a hero, or even a stranger. Poker skills transcend to many areas of life as reaching any personal goal takes patience, focus, determination and courage. We’re used to seeing poker players #raiseit on the felt, but the essence can be applied to any scenario or talent,” says Simon Tilbury, Director of Advertisement at PokerStars.
The connection might seem a little far-fetched, but the enthusiastic response and high level of engagement from social media has made the PokerStars campaign a huge success. Whether Neymar Jr, Ronaldo and everyone else joining in on #RaiseIt are really “playing poker without the cards and chips”, as Tilsbury claims, it’s certainly true that the thrill and confidence which comes from following up on a dare can be felt at the poker table too.
Last year, Neymar Jr promoted PokerStars when he live streamed a home poker game which helped raise $100,000 for the footballer’s own charity – the Neymar Jr Institute, an organisation which provides Brazil’s underprivileged kids with access to education and safe accommodation. The widely watched charity game followed shortly after the Neymar Jr and Ronaldo had already been featured in a stylishly shot ad campaign for PokerStars, in which they can be seen enjoying the cultural and social aspect of poker. There’s no doubt PokerStars are benefitting enormously from the promotion Neymar Jr and Ronaldo are allowing them, further establishing the brand as one of the most popular online poker rooms right now. One thing’s for
certain – the football legends seem to be having fun in the process.