Sara Toussaint, Wells Fargo
Sara Toussaint knew it would be edgy to get Landon Donovan to promote Mexico’s national soccer team for sponsor Wells Fargo this summer at the World Cup. While the U.S. team was not in the tournament, it still was a bold move, especially given the political dynamic between the two countries.
“We had been sponsoring the Mexican national team for four years and felt we hadn’t really moved the needle in that space,” she said. “Given the political climate in the U.S., we wanted to give this message of sportsmanship and inclusivity and cheering on a team that is our neighbor.”
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago, Toussaint conceded that she was slightly naïve and underestimated the vitriol the campaign might spark.
She felt bad for Donovan, because he received the brunt of the online hostility, including accusations of treason.
“It was hard to see that being hurled at him,” she said. “That was the worst, seeing people question his allegiance to the U.S.”
“I read every single comment, every single post in response to Landon’s posts, in response to our posts … and I would say maybe a third was negative,” she said. “But the Hispanic fans loved it, loved it, loved it.”
And that ultimately is Toussaint’s mission, to market to Hispanics and target millennials, using Wells Fargo’s soccer sponsorship, including MLS and the Mexican team.
— Daniel Kaplan