New ads highlight the positive role of migration in England Euros team

Created for the Migration Museum, the stark campaign aims to tackle anti-immigration sentiment in the UK, which was prominent in the recent general election campaign

Migration Museum Euros campaign

As England prepares for its semi-final match against The Netherlands in this year’s Euro 2024 football tournament this evening, a campaign highlighting the contribution made to the squad by players from migrant backgrounds is making its way around social media.

The campaign, which is also appearing in OOH and was created by Wonderhood Studios, highlights what ‘England without immigration’ would look like by crossing out the names of players such as Bellingham, Kane and Saka. In the end, only Foden, Stones and Pickford remain.

In fact, 15 out of the 26 man England squad could have played for other countries, either because they were born outside the UK or because they have parents or grandparents of other nationalities. Despite this, immigration remains a polarising issue in the UK, and was a significant talking point by the major parties in the recent general election. England players also regularly suffer racist abuse during major tournaments.

“The strategy was to get England fans talking more positively about migration, by asking them to consider what might have happened to the England team without it,” say Jack Croft and Stacey Bird, deputy ECDs at Wonderhood. “From the announcement of the starting lineup, to our incredible five penalty takers, you can’t deny that migration is a success story for our mostly loved (and sometimes loathed) national sport.”

Currently based in Lewisham in south London (and due to move to a central London home in 2027-28), the Migration Museum stages exhibitions, events and campaigns exploring how the movement of people to and from the UK across the centuries has shaped who we are today – as individuals, as communities, and as nations.

“Migration is often seen as a divisive issue, but in reality it’s a story that connects us all,” says Matthew Plowright, director of communications and engagement at the museum. “It’s time to put migration at the heart of our national story – and with tens of millions of us watching the Euros this summer, where better to start than with football.”

Migration Museum Euros campaign

England is not the only team to raise awareness of the politics of migration during this year’s Euros: over in France, Kylian Mbabbé, who was born in Paris to parents of Cameroonian and Algerian heritage, and others in the French team spoke out against the rise of the far-right National Rally party ahead of recent elections, urging younger voters to reject “extremists”.

While this may seem a particularly urgent issue at this year’s Euros, the same point was made about the England team during the 2020 tournament (which took place in 2021 due to the pandemic), with the Migration Museum sharing a similar graphic about the team at that time.

Creative Agency: Wonderhood Studios
Creative Team: Jennifer Ashton, Oliver Short
Deputy Executive Creative Directors: Stacey Bird, Jack Croft
Head of Art: Simon Elvins
Designer: Tommy Spitters