Online poker giant PokerStars has launched a new advertising campaign on Facebook featuring football megastars Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr, ahead of a new TV ad campaign which the operator has described as the biggest PokerStars marketing campaign in history.

The players’ Facebook fans were given an exclusive preview of the videos, which can now be viewed on their Facebook pages, two weeks before the commercials air for the first time on television globally.

PokerStars said that it will look to maximise the impact of the campaign by utilising the enormous popularity of Ronaldo and Neymar Jr via Facebook.

Portugal’s Ronaldo is Facebook’s most popular public figure with more than 104m fans, while Brazil’s Neymar Jr has more than 53m Facebook fans, and won the Spanish league title, domestic cup and Champions League with FC Barcelona in the 2014-15 season.

Tarquin Henderson, head of EMEA gaming sales at Facebook, said: “People come to Facebook to discover things that matter to them, whether it’s photos from their friends and family, videos from brands they love, or posts from their favourite celebrities.

“PokerStars’ campaign combines the best of this – fresh, engaging content from two of the biggest footballers on the planet. And thanks to Facebook’s scale and unparalleled targeting tools, these videos will reach the most relevant audience, from poker and gaming fans to football aficionados.”

The footballers star in short videos produced by acclaimed commercial and music video director Vaughan Arnell which were shot on location in Madrid and Barcelona. Arnell has worked on TV commercials for brands including Levis and Dove, as well as the likes of Robbie Williams and One Direction.

Each video features poker as the centrepiece of the footballers’ evening with friends, and highlights the fun, social and competitive aspects of the game.

“This is the biggest PokerStars marketing campaign in history and we are excited to launch with exclusive distribution on Facebook,” said Michael Hazel, interim CEO of PokerStars owner Rational Group. “Both videos show how each of the stars love the game of poker in their own unique way.

“The vast numbers of fans who engage with both stars make Facebook a great platform to reach a big audience.”

Hazel noted that the combined fan base on Facebook for both footballers is 157m, which is just under the estimated global TV audience for the recent Champions League final of 180m.

To coincide with the global TV launch on August 17th , PokerStars will also be running a separate promotion called Dream Team Collection. This involves online poker challenges and puzzles that incorporate Ronaldo and Neymar Jr, giving fans and poker players a chance to win various prizes plus a chance to win $1m.

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