Euros 2016: a digital debrief

BIG Partnership Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Rochelle Adie, analyses how the digital landscape was used throughout the Euro 2016 tournament and which brands made a big impact without seeking major sponsorship deals.

The harsh reality about the Euros is that many countries will not remember it fondly, other than the winners Portugal, and perhaps underdogs Wales and Iceland (and this isn’t just the opinion of a girl).

Despite the perfect location, sold-out stadiums and some of the world’s top talent, the tournament was fairly mediocre with the odd exciting moment!

The same can’t be said however for the digital landscape throughout the tournament, where brands demonstrated fierce competition for the title of ‘best campaign’! Online activity, including short films and world-trending hashtags, caught the eyes (and hearts) of fans all across the globe and highlighted the huge opportunities for brands to engage with a worldwide audience during a major event.

What became more apparent than anything else throughout the tournament, including Ronaldo’s potential to be a great manager, was the fact that brands no longer need to invest in major sponsorship deals to capitalise on global events. Previously, big brands paid millions of pounds to enjoy exclusive association however; today, social media enables any brand to attach itself to an event or tournament without breaking the bank.

Official Sponsors

#OrangeSponsorsYou received 663,985 mentions, making it the most mentioned worldwide partner campaign throughout the tournament (Futuresport).

#OrangeSponsorsYou – Eiffel Tower

In partnership with the City of Paris, Orange created a digital match between fans everyday throughout the tournament by illuminating the Eiffel Tower with the countries colours who received the most support on social media that day. Orange achieved major success by building on fans’ passion for their national teams.

The brand’s strategy allowed them to drive engagement world wide and ensured that fans continued to participate throughout the entire tournament. Alongside an advert featuring Zinedine Zidane on a quest to find the world’s biggest football supporters, Orange created an immersive and empowering campaign, with fans at the very heart of it!

Ambush Marketers

While the official sponsors did not fail to impress us, it became clear very early in the tournament that they would have to compete with some sneaky brands hungry for unofficial sponsorship.

#ComeOnIceland contributed to 3,360 new followers for the Iceland Foods account throughout the tournament and outperformed official sponsor, Carlsberg, by 8,350 mentions (Digiday).

The supermarket chain set up hashtag #ComeOnIceland after securing a deal to sponsor the Iceland national side and incentivized their campaign by offering a year’s supply of Iceland shopping. Their witty tweets in reaction to match results gained them global attention.