Humorous Euros advertising ‘hits top corner of the net’

Euros.24The UEFA European Football Chanmpionships might not have provided much to laugh about for England fans – and for Scots fans it has been even worse – but according to a new analysis by System1, humour is not only alive and kicking in the advertising around the event, it is set for the golden boot by scoring higher than any other technique.

System1’s Test Your Ad platform tests consumers’ emotional responses throughout an ad, assigning creative a score of 1.0 to 5.9 stars based on long-term brand-building potential. Ads that make people feel intense, positive emotions like happiness and surprise score high on the scale. Usually only 1% of ads secure a 5-star score.

At the 2021 Euros, ads averaged 2.4 stars, with the top spot scoring 3.6 stars by Kopparberg. While sports advertising typically aligns with the UK norm of 2.4 stars, this year’s Euros advertisers have achieved an average of 3.0 stars among a nationally representative UK audience. Emotional intensity has also risen, averaging 1.35 compared to the UK norm of 1.10, a notable +0.25 increase.

As the number of brands advertising during the Euros has doubled since 2021, so has the success rate, with two ads reaching the coveted 5-star rating and another two achieving 4-star performances among a UK nationally representative audience.

In addition to surveying the general public on how they felt about the ads, System1 also conducted testing with sports fans.

Recent research from System1 and Fuse, a sport and entertainment agency owned by Omnicom Media Group, found that sport sponsorship assets have the power to perform as well as the world’s best advertising and often achieve even greater effectiveness among sports fans, an phenomenon they call “The Sport Dividend.”

Testing Euros ads with a custom audience of ‘football fans’ yielded an impressive average Star Rating of 4.4 stars, a +1.4-increase compared to the nationally representative sample.

The top UK Euros ads for 2024 are:

1. Paddy Power – ‘Europe’s Favourite’ – 5.9 Star-Rating (Sports betting custom sample)
Paddy Power humorously explores England’s Euro relationship, earning a top score of 5.9-stars from sports betting fans. This ad stands out with Paddy Power’s witty and genuine approach, leaning into humour, stereotypes, and Danny Dyer’s endorsement to authentically connect with its audience, the report states.

2. Irn Bru – ‘Optimism is Back in Scotland’ – 5.0 Star-Rating
Scotland, having qualified for the European Championships again after their return to Euro 2020 (held in 2021 due to Covid) anticipates a surge of optimism thanks to Irn-Bru’s latest ad, blending humour with national pride and cultural insight, resonating beyond Scottish borders with its trademark irreverence and wit. (Shame about the results on the pitch.)

3. Adidas – ‘Hey Jude, You Got This’ – 4.5 Star-Rating (Sample: Football Fans)
Adidas strikes a chord of initial apprehension and uncertainty, deftly transitioning to a tone of joy and camaraderie with the nostalgic Hey Jude soundtrack by The Beatles. The ad poignantly recalls past setbacks to illustrate fans’ resilience and ignite the Euro spirit, rallying behind England’s Jude Bellingham in a unified uproar of support. (To be fair, this ad seemed doomed until the 95th minute of the game against Slovakia, although his “balls grabbing” goal celebration may yet scupper it again.)

4. Lidl – ‘We’re on Your Team’ – 4.4 Star Rating (Custom Sample: Football Fans)
Lidl’s humorous campaign shifts the spotlight from the Euros to the everyday challenges faced by parents of football-mad children, underscoring football’s broader significance to the nation. By tapping into the passion that drives young fans and showcasing football’s deep roots in local communities, Lidl’s advert combines humour and pride to football fans.

5. BBC Sport – ‘More Twists, More Turns’ – 4.1 Star-Rating
BBC Sport’s standout ad from Euro 2024 features exaggerated caricatures of players in a gamified setting. By immersing viewers in the excitement of the game and humorously shifting agency from players to fans, the ad creatively engages audiences, placing them in the gaming seat for a unique viewing experience.

6. Budweiser – ‘Official Beer of England’ – 4.0 Star-Rating
Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser has boldly bucked the trend of this year’s tournament advertisers by resurrecting memories of England’s 1966 World Cup victory in their Euro 2024 ad featuring Geoff Hurst. Budweiser’s nostalgic approach stands out as a notable exception in this year’s advertising line up, which has been centred on fan experiences.

System1 chief customer officer Jon Evans said: “England’s performances on the field may not be a laughing matter, though plenty of tongue-in-cheek wit in ads is helping to boost the scores this year. We’ve seen humour make a come back at the Cannes Lions, driving a positive shift in ad effectiveness. This trend continuing into the Euros, raises the question – is humour here to stay?”

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