Mastercard slammed for 'sick' hungry kids football campaign

Mastercard's pledge to donate meals to starving children only if two of the world's top footballers score goals has been called a PR disaster.

On Friday (local time), the company tweeted that for every goal scored by Lionel Messi or Neymar Jr in any official tournament until March 2020, they would donate the equivalent of 10,000 meals to the World Food Programme (WFP).

Mastercard said the stunt would help to "fight childhood hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean".

"Over the next 21 months, each goal represents an opportunity to unleash the power of a meal," the company said in a statement.

But the idea didn't go down well among social media users, with many calling the idea "sick", and comparing Mastercard to villains from The Hunger Games.

British football legend Ian Wright labelled the campaign "easily the worst marketing I've ever seen".

"This seriously got through the different levels of management, and you all said go ahead," he wrote.

In defence of the idea, Mastercard said the campaign was a small part of the company's "global commitment" to delivering 100 million meals to those in need.