Rogers: "We didn't do it to receive a pat on the back, we wanted to do some good and to show that football can be good"
Friday 23 August 2019 15:49, UK
Roma's head of social media Paul Rogers says it was "an incredible moment" when the club's Twitter campaign helped find a missing girl in London.
This summer, Roma partnered up with organisations such as Missing Kids in the UK, Telefono Azzurro in Italy and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US by accompanying every new signing's announcement video with pictures of children reported missing to raise awareness of the search for them.
On Thursday afternoon, the club announced that a 15-year-old girl that the club featured in the announcement of Turkish centre-back Mert Cetin from Genclerbirligi was found "safe and well" in London and was brought "back where she should be".
"It was quite an incredible moment, actually," Rogers told Sky Sports News. "We've been doing this all summer, and obviously it's really hard to find missing people - children go missing for any number of reasons, there was no guarantee that any of the children we promoted would ever be found, we were just trying to do our bit and highlight these charities.
"I don't believe that the campaign would have been a failure if no child would have been located, we knew what we did was the right thing to do and we would have had no regrets. But when I took the phone call and informed the rest of our team, people in our digital team and across the whole club were just so, so happy. It was quite emotional."
Over the past couple of years, the Serie A club's account in English language has stood out by posting funny content gone viral, including quirky announcement videos, engagement with fans and other clubs and snippy memes with self-irony.
The inspiration behind the campaign comes from rock band Soul Asylum's 1993 song Runaway Train, whose music video doubled as a call to action by showing missing children around the world and urging viewers on channels such as MTV and VH1 to help find them.
With their wide social media presence and their seven summer signings, Roma put to good use the viral wave of transfer announcements, one of the most popular times on social media when posts get a lot of traction, taking that moment and using it for social good.
"This is a cause that we certainly believe in, and it can unify football fans as well because social media has become so toxic," Rogers said. "You've seen it this week with racism against a player in the Premier League just for missing a penalty.
"We thought it'd do something good, it doesn't matter whether you're a Roma fan, these people can still engage, share this content and help. We had messages from families thanking us because it gave them some hope - and some really really heartwarming messages overall.
"It's quite a simple thing for us to do but it had impact and meaning for a lot of people. We didn't do it to receive a pat on the back, we wanted to do some good and to show that football can be good. It's a credit to not just Roma fans, but fans of all clubs and all media who supported this as well.
"It's united the football world in a way for a good cause, and it would be great if other clubs and organisations could jump on this, just think of the impact that some of the clubs with an even bigger following than Roma would have."