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The best move on the transfer market - How Roma are using new signings to highlight search for missing kids

17:00 GMT+3 15/07/2019
Roma Missing Children Campaign
The Serie A club have been using their transfer announcements to help raise awareness of missing children in countries worldwide

In 1993, American alternative rock band Soul Asylum released 'Runaway Train', which became a radio hit all over the world and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1994.

Aside from its commercial success, the song had a lasting impact due to its innovative music video, which interspersed scenes of the band with photos and names of missing children. There were four versions made in total: two for the United States, and one apiece for the United Kingdom and Australia.

The two U.S. versions featured 36 missing children, 26 of which were later found. 

Over 25 years later, the 'Runaway Train' video – which was inspired by the photos of missing children on milk cartons in America – is still making a difference.

Roma have over two million Twitter followers between their Italian and English accounts and are known for their quirky videos and graphics on social media.

However, they have gone down a more serious route with their latest publicity campaign, with the Serie A side using transfer announcements to help try to locate missing children around the world.

During every transfer window, the Giallorossi's biggest social media posts are always the announcements of new arrivals.

So, this summer, every time Roma sign a player, they post a video which also shares a video containing the names and photos of missing children, as well as a contact number should anyone watching have information.

They partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States and Telefono Azzurro in Italy to launch the initiative in June, and have since brought Missing People from the UK, Missing Child Kenya and Sosdesaparecidos from Spain on board to further raise awareness.

The first two transfer announcements generated more than two million views.

“The idea for the new transfer announcement initiative actually came from reading an article about the 25th anniversary of Soul Asylum’s ‘Runaway Train’ video,” Roma head of strategy Paul Rogers told the club's official website.

"With Roma, we thought, we could try and do something similar but updated for the social media generation, which didn’t exist when Soul Asylum released their video.

"We want to use the viral nature of social media transfer announcements to help raise awareness for missing children.

"We have a massive social media following and our announcements generate incredible reach and awareness, all over the world, so we thought that at the exact moment when the world’s attention is on the club’s announcement, we could use our social media channels not for self-promotion but rather to help both the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Telefono Azzurro find missing children.”

Since launching the campaign, Roma have featured 34 different missing children from across the world, with the campaign being well received by fans of the club as well as football fans everywhere. It has also generated a lot of publicity.

The latest signing announcement was for goalkeeper Pau Lopez, who joined the club for €23.5 million (£21m/$26m), with the English-language social media post featuring four British children through their partnership with Missing People. A new video was also created in Spanish thanks to their new partnership with Sosdesaparecidos, as well as in Italian on their main Twitter account.

For more information on Roma's missing children campaign, click here.