For soccer players, taking your shirt off during goal celebrations is frowned upon–in fact it is a mandatory bookable offense. Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimović thought the sanctions were worth it when he tore off his shirt to reveal 50 new (temporary) tattoos in support of the United Nations World Food Program at the weekend.
The Swedish soccer star had the names of 50 people etched on his body before the French Ligue 1 game versus Caen. When he scored in the second minute Ibrahimović revealed his striking body art. The 50 names are of real people who are currently suffering from hunger.
The stunt was dreamed up by Swedish ad agency Forsman & Bodenfors and forms the centerpiece of an awareness campaign for the UN World Food Program called “805 Million Names,” after the number of people calculated to be suffering from hunger today.
The campaign website hosts a film, directed by Gustav Johansson through production company New Land, in which Ibrahimović goes into detail about why he is taking part.
“Wherever I go people recognize me, call my name, cheer for me,” he says. “But there are names no one cheers for. If I could, I would write every single name on my body. But there are 805 million people suffering from hunger in the world today.”
The idea is for the player to be the physical embodiment of the campaign. He says: “So, whenever you hear my name, you will think of their names. Whenever you see me, you will see them.”
The website also tells the stories of the real people whose names were used for the tattoos alongside information on the World Food Program, which says it reaches more than 80 million people in 75 countries with food assistance each year. The wider campaign includes seeding and spreading social content as well as traditional PR.
Ibrahimovic’s manager at Paris Saint-Germain, Laurent Blanc, seems to have been in the dark about the player’s plans and was reportedly less than impressed. With a match coming up against Chelsea FC in the last 16 of the Champions League, Blanc has warned Ibrahimović not to do it again. As a result of his exploits the player will miss an upcoming Ligue 1 game against Monaco.