UEFA Euro 2016: The New Advertising War

The 2016 UEFA European Championship has started a few days ago. The 15th edition of the prestigious international football competition is being held in France from 10 June to 10 July. It isn’t only a big field for many soccer players to show their skills and snatch glory, big sports events are representing a great opportunity, but also a great challenge for brands who intend to use their potential for self-promotion.

“My number one advertising principle, if I have one, is to wake up the consumer.” –  Phil Knight, Nike founder.


For the first time, the European Championship final tournament will be contested by 24 teams.

people will take part in organising the event

million visitors are expected in the fan zones and 2,5 million are expected inside the stadiums

What Can We Expect Through a Month of Football Spectacle?

We can expect a multitude of diverse and rich ways of promotion and as one of the most prominent forms of advertising are expected to be commercials. Millions of viewers around the world are a real lure for big brands which will not miss this chance.

We can say that the production of commercials for big competitions like this European championship is a kind of a race or war of brands that are fighting for the attention of sports fanatics. With some of the best examples, brands like Nike already booked their place history. Almost the same credits can be given to brands such as Coca-Cola and Adidas. Giants of the automotive and beer industry, as well as the ones from Online betting and gambling sites, showed that we can add them to the previous sentences as well.

“The Secret Tournament”

Good advertising will prove to be greatly beneficial in the long run. An example can be drawn from one of the most famous commercials that we associate with football competitions – Nike’s masterpiece titled “The Secret Tournament”, which had it’s a sequel named “The Rematch”.


The campaign, involving big names such as Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Edgar Davids, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Roberto Carlos, as well as many others, has proven so successful that is still used as an ideal example for the production of the quality commercial. It gave an interesting story that captured the imagination of football fans. The commercial was filled with dynamic, attractive, effects and as we previously indicated – known names.

This masterpiece was the work of Terry Gilliam and it marked the advertising war we witnessed in 2002 during the FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan.



The first three minutes are showing “The Secret Tournament” and they are followed by the “The Rematch”.

million spectators are expected to follow each game live

time France has hosted the competition

Mutual Benefit        

Commercials aren’t just beneficial for the brands that launched them. The good one will serve as a great promoter of the competition, the country / city in which it is held and of the athletes who participate in it.

They raise awareness about the competition and are connecting the one with the fans. Commercials can encourage various discussions and often become the main topic of conversations among the fans of the most popular game in the world. With everything mentioned earlier, we can conclude that a good commercial greatly simplifies the job of promotion to the organizers and hosts.

Euro 2016

The battle for the European Championships in France began weeks before the opening and some of the most interesting commercials that will mark this competition can be viewed below.


As expected, Nike stole the spotlight  one more time. “The Switch”, with Cristiano Ronaldo and few more stars, became a hit with reason.

“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” ― Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks

million views in just 3 days for "The Switch" commercial on Nike Football's YouTube channel

Conclusion – What Makes a Commercial Memorable And Effective?

We have already concluded that quality of commercial does not bring the benefits and good results just to the brand itself. It’s recognizability and popularity helps in the promotion of the competition during which it has been introduced.

For the creation of successful product, in this case, the one that is linked to a large sports competition, its creator should consolidate as much as possible factors such as good story, innovation, fan involvement, the appearance of celebrities, creativity and humor which is one of the most powerful weapons for getting attention.

With these factors , selection of music, location and things like special effects can most certainly help in getting that ‘WOW’ effect which will make it effective and memorable.

Remember, the successful story will be remembered and it might create the connection between the brand and its consumer. With that being said, one day you could have a loyal army of consumers that won’t need new ads to stay attached to you.



Nikola Popović

Nikola Popović

Overtime Sports Marketing

If you have any questions about sports marketing, feel free to contact me at ni.popovic@outlook.com.

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