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The Banana Selfie Campaign Against Racism Was Actually A Planned Marketing Stunt

But people are still tweeting #WeAreAllMonkeys anyway.

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So, it turns out the banana heard around the world was really a preplanned marketing scheme.

On April 27, Brazil-born Barcelona soccer star Dani Alves wowed audiences when he mockingly ate the banana a racist fan threw at him during a match — and then kept on playing. Soon, other soccer players, Brazilian politicians, and fans worldwide were uploading photos of themselves with bananas using #WeAreAllMonkeys and #SayNoToRacism to protest the racist incident. Police apprehended the suspected banana thrower, identified as 26-year-old David Campaya Lleo, BBC reported.

It was a feel-good Twitter moment — until Spanish news reported that Alves, his teammate Neymar, the marketing firm Loducca, and Brazilian marketers Meio e Mensagen had orchestrated the whole affair. Loducca started planning the campaign after Alves and Neymar, who is also Brazilian, were racially abused during a game in March, Spain's AS sports newspaper reported.

Guga Ketzer, a Loducca partner, told AS News, "Actions speak louder than words," Metro news reported. Ketzer continued: "A gesture needs no translation and what we're seeing is that this has gone viral, globally. The idea was for Neymar to eat the banana, but in the end it was Alves, and that works just the same... We created #SomosTodosMacacos and #WeAreAllMonkeys, with the gesture of eating a banana, and it has been turned into a movement."

The reaction online was mixed. Many kept tweeting photos using the sponsored hashtag, seemingly unaware that the stunt was actually not a spontaneously generated campaign against racism.

I know I'm late #SayNoToRacism #weareallmonkeys

Some knew about it, but didn't mind anyway.

Incredible! The #weareallmonkeys campaign was "planned by marketing firm". Genius if true http://t.co/KnE0iXe1ec

Massimo Marioni@MassMarioni

Incredible! The #weareallmonkeys campaign was "planned by marketing firm". Genius if true http://t.co/KnE0iXe1ec

05:51 AM - 30 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The timing of the campaign against racism was perfect! http://t.co/MkE26tzSyl #pr #sm #marketing #Neymar #weareallmonkeys

George Diamantis@diamantisgeo

The timing of the campaign against racism was perfect! http://t.co/MkE26tzSyl #pr #sm #marketing #Neymar #weareallmonkeys

08:01 AM - 30 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Who cares if Alvez and Neymar planned the #weareallmonkeys campaign in advance? It was clearly needed.

SILV3R@SILV3R

Who cares if Alvez and Neymar planned the #weareallmonkeys campaign in advance? It was clearly needed.

10:03 AM - 30 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Glad to see bananas are getting the marketing attention it deserves #WeAreAllMonkeys

Tasneem Kabir@tzkabir

Glad to see bananas are getting the marketing attention it deserves

#WeAreAllMonkeys

10:19 AM - 30 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Others in the sports community were less amused.

apparently the whole #weareallmonkeys thing was all pre-planned by a marketing company. Takes the shine off the whole thing.

George Jones@georgejjones

apparently the whole #weareallmonkeys thing was all pre-planned by a marketing company. Takes the shine off the whole thing.

10:52 AM - 30 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Ha, typical Barca. "@102greatgoals: #WeAreAllMonkeys & Alves eating banana was planned by PR firm [AS] http://t.co/TPVTaCGkQq

Beyomi@CFCBo

Ha, typical Barca. "@102greatgoals: #WeAreAllMonkeys & Alves eating banana was planned by PR firm [AS] http://t.co/TPVTaCGkQq

07:02 AM - 30 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

No longer fun.... "@br_uk: Apparently #WeAreAllMonkeys planned by a marketing firm. http://t.co/uoPTLzvSQ1 ”

T.O@Alextobechi

No longer fun.... "@br_uk: Apparently #WeAreAllMonkeys planned by a marketing firm. http://t.co/uoPTLzvSQ1 ”

06:05 AM - 30 Apr 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Former BuzzFeed World Reporter, Current BuzzFeed News Contributor

Contact Miriam Berger at miriam.berger+done@buzzfeed.com.

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