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Mastercard is helping to protect the Amazon rainforest by harnessing the universal appeal of play to raise awareness of deforestation among gamers and the wider public.

‘Play for the Jungle’ sees the payments provider team up with online game League of Legends from Riot Games to invite gamers to log in to support the planet.

Devised by ad agency WMcCann, the piece shows there is still all to play for in the Amazon basin after recent Mastercard-commissioned research found that 85% of Brazilians have become more environmentally aware since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taking the form of a special match broadcast across YouTube, Twitch and NimoTV, the event saw 10 celebrity gamers battle it out to win control of the jungle from monsters and safeguard its resources.

Carlos Antunes, esports director at Riot Games, said: “The map’s jungle is a critical spot in League of Legends. Therefore, stopping players from accessing this spot as part of their strategy is a legit way of making people reflect on what we see happening with the environment.”

Sarah Buchwitz, vice-president of marketing and communication at Mastercard Brazil, added: “... through ‘Play for the Jungle’ we are inviting the League of Legends community to listen, learn and act, contributing to the recovery of some of the most threatened forests in the world and at the same time taking part in an unprecedented match. 

“Using the game’s jungle to connect the virtual and the real world allows us to reach a critical audience. The LOL community is also the generation who can change the world and solve urgent issues such as climate change.”

Conducted as part of the Priceless Planet Coalition, the event works with reforestation partners by planting 100m trees in five years across the Amazon, Kenya and Australia.