Iceland is known for having one of the best team spirits, the country is one big family and ever since the European Championship 2016, they have been playing themselves into the hearts of soccer fans around the globe. In 2018, they made it to the World Cup tournament for the first time in history. Unfortunately, Iceland is on top in another field: The island of sons and daughters is the number 2 in the world when it comes to Parkinson's Disease and has the second highest mortality rate caused by Parkinson’s. Unlike expected, even young people are affected by the disease - 1 in 10 patients is under 50years. To fund the first Parkinson’s center in Iceland, the Parkinson's Foundation Parkinsonsamtökin needs attention, partners and financial support / donations.
How do you get an entire country to support a good cause? With the help of the Icelandic national soccer team we made the first step and created a campaign across national borders to draw attention to our cause. The Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinsonsamtökin and the Icelandic Football association KSÍ turned the national players into ambassadors – the Sons of Solidarity. Gunnarsson, Finnbogason, Kristinsson are the most popular sons of the country. The campaign used the unique player surnames that all end with –SON plus the worldwide hype around the national soccer team to cause solidarity with the unknown sons of Iceland – the PARKINSONS. Under the name "Sons of Solidarity", the Icelandic national team campaigned for Parkinson's sufferers. We used the national team as the most famous Ambassadors of Iceland and played with a national feature - the surname of the players that all end with a -SON. To launch the campaign we used a publicity stunt during the last international match before World Cup 2018 and took advantage of the power of the most emotional moment. The live broadcast guaranteed attention and further media coverage. During the World Cup 2018 the players and celebrities used social media to support the campaign. In addition to donation hotlines and online donations, funds were also generated through the sale of Parkinson jerseys in the webshop. The jersey accompanied the World Cup 2018 as a cult object in Iceland. Numerous reports and interviews on TV channels, news shows and other classic media followed. The campaign was kicked-off by a publicity stunt on June, the 7th 2018: In the last international match before World Cup, Iceland didn’t just fight against Ghana, but mainly against the Parkison’s disease by wearing a football jersey with the name PARKINSON on the back. Additionally the players were accompanied to the pitch by Parkinson’s patients instead of mascot children. A specifically produced trailer informed the fans in the stadiums and at home about the campaign. A microsite shared the stories of patients. Trailers, patient portraits and online activations by celebrities and politicians also attracted attention during the World Cup. Funds were raised through donation hotlines and online donations, as well as through the sale of the Parkinson jerseys.