With the competition in the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament gearing up for the semi-finals round, we take a look at some of the more creative, smart, prestigious and controversial marketing campaigns from the competition’s big-budget sponsors and advertisers.



Paddy Power relies on the viral nature of risque outdoor advertising and social media profiles.

Unfortunately for the betting brand, its Friday stunt – parking a a lorry emblazoned with Jamie Vardy’s ‘catchphrase’, ‘chat sh1t, get banged’, outside the Russian embassy – coincided with the start of terrible hooliganism in Marseille.

Such coincidence could surely have been anticipated, and leaves Paddy Power looking slightly jingoistic.

Is this a problem? Not at all – the brand’s whole strategy revolves around ‘bantz’ and the tension that goes with it.

Paddy Power’s Twitter account is particularly strong on this count, using absurdist or barbed humour to get a response.

With hundreds of tweets about the action on the pitch so far, the brand is doing very well indeed.

Elsewhere, in paid media, Paddy Power has a TV advert focusing on the Scots’ absence from the tournament – though there’s a clear joke throughout, it does seem rather irrelevant.


Copa 90, the global football fan network and publisher, has created a chatbot for Euro 2016, to keep fans abreast of news (just go to Messenger and search for Copa 90).

The content comes in the form of a guide to Euro 2016 as well as latest and trending articles.

It includes social content sourced from the community and is therefore engaging for the fan who may want more than dry match updates.

The screenshots below show the style of editorial.

Granted, Copa 90 is a football publisher, so this bot isn’t marketing per se, but it still merits inclusion for its ingenuity.

During a tournament when big broadcasters and news outlets will be trying to monopolise attention, messaging platforms are the perfect way in via the backdoor for smaller publishers.

It should be noted also that Copa 90’s approach to social media has included an uplifting tone, in the face of bad behaviour from a small minority of fans at the tournament.


As usual, through a combination of endorsements and huge above-the-line budget, Nike has probably been the success of Euro 2016 so far.

In creating a five-minute advert and using paid media to encourage fans to watch the full spot online, Nike is being truly confident and, dare I say it, boldly multichannel.

It knows its audience inside-out and the ad has been watched 26m times in four days on YouTube alone.

There’s nothing much more to add – Nike has taken the playground idea of being a star footballer and brought it to life with drama and humour and Ronaldo. Bravo.


Orange is one of the big sponsors of Euro 2016 and in that regard it has used a familiar playbook, including free ticket giveaways and branded match scoreboards.

However, Orange has tried something altogether more impressive with a social media campaign and the Eiffel Tower.

Analysis of each day’s tweets reveal which nation’s hashtag was used the most and the tower will then be lit up in that team’s colours.

The results are mixed. Undeniably, the customised Eiffel Tower has looked mighty impressive so far, sitting in front of one of the fan parks and providing memorable experiences for fans in Paris.

But Orange hasn’t succeeded in tying this success to the brand – a confused hashtag (#orangesponsorsyou) isn’t necessary for fans to take part.

Orange has though announced a fan of the day on Twitter, each day of the tournament so far, which is a nice touch, if not entirely far-reaching.

And the brand’s big TV ad focuses on the fans, too. It is snappily soundtracked and features a legend of French football, but doesn’t seem to have a clear narrative or pay-off.

The video has been live on YouTube since the end of May and has a mere 12,000 views at time of writing.

All in all, Orange really stands out amongst the sponsors, but probably hasn’t quite nailed it.


Adidas’ ad campaign continues, with Pogba in the limelight (he shared the sportswear company’s pre-tournament ads with Suarez and Ozil).

I’m still very impressed by Adidas’ creative. It’s an incredibly natural portrait of the French midfielder – some feat given the usual wooden cameos by sportsmen.

Though the ad arguably targets a smaller audience than Nike’s, it is aligned not just with football and brand – fashion and style features, too, making it clear that Adidas is also a lifestyle brand.

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