In October 2015, Poke was tasked with helping Orange activate its UEFA EURO 2016 sponsorship. Our biggest challenge: the telecoms brand would be competing to cut through the noise of the games against other official sponsors traditionally associated with football such as Adidas or Carlsberg.
To grab football fans’ attention and boost the visibility of the brand we had to take a different approach. By flipping the dynamic of typical sponsorships, we created ‘Orange Sponsors You’ - a new global comms platform that looked to shine the spotlight on the fans and reward them for their passions.
By working closely with the Orange team and Publicis Conseil we delivered a truly integrated campaign. From Zinedine Zidane helping us recruit the best fans around through to lighting up the Eiffel Tower with the colours of the most passionate nations, the activity drove fan engagement, business value and local market efficiencies right across Orange’s global footprint.
UEFA EURO 2016 was Orange’s biggest sponsorship activation to date, covering the entire brand footprint for the first time, with global rights across the world.
It also presented the perfect opportunity for Orange to launch its new sponsorship strategy of creating powerful and impactful experiences around consumer passion points.
But we had tough competition to beat. With 10 official sponsors fighting for fans’ attention (and other brands ‘ambushing’ the tournament) the noise surrounding a high-profile event such as EURO 2016 was going to be substantial.
In a world where traditional sports sponsorships focus on giving players and athletes the star treatment, we wanted to do things differently.
We wanted to focus on the real stars of the tournament: the fans.
Orange would be there to celebrate and reward them at every stage of the tournament – shining the spotlight on them and giving them the credit they deserve but very rarely get.
‘Orange Sponsors You’ was born. By turning the spotlight on the fans and rewarding them for their passions, we created a global comms platform that formed the basis for the strategic and creative vision for UEFA EURO 2016. It defined the language, tone and structure of our activity to ensure a coherent story across each touch-point of our integrated campaign.
This platform shaped our core social activations and provided the creative foundation for the global TVC, several local market activations as well as the fan experience in stadium.
The campaign kicked off with a global TVC activated across Orange’s footprint, (created by Publicis Conseil under the ‘Orange Sponsors You’ concept), where football legend Zinedine Zidane took on the role of Orange’s chief recruiter, scouring the globe for the most passionate fans around.
The story continued in digital with an immersive 360° film created by Poke, where the viewer took the leading role - starring as the real hero after their recruitment by Zizou as ‘the greatest fan in the world’. This flip on the usual football scout role landed the concept of the fans as the real stars and helped set the scene for what was to come.
Research shows that sports viewers over-index for all second-screen activities, particularly with 40% of FIFA fans checking social networks while second screening.
Social engagement had to play a key role in our campaign. We encouraged fans to show their support for their team by posting their image/video clip on social throughout the tournament using #OrangeSponsorsYou. We rewarded fans who shared their passion using the hashtag and listened for organic conversation to surprise and delight too. With rewards such as UEFA merchandise, personalised content and tickets to the games, we generated authentic engagement with local audiences – reinforcing the idea that any act of fan passion, no matter how big or small, deserved to be put in the spotlight.
Partnering with the City of Paris, Orange gave fans control of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks, with the fans showing the most passion for their team in social seeing their nation’s colours and messages of support light the Eiffel Tower.
Tracking social conversation and creating a real time data visualization of fan support, every match night we revealed the winning team, receiving the most hashtag mentions, in a live stream of a spectacular Eiffel Tower lightshow - proving that ‘Orange Sponsors You’ wasn’t about what was happening on the pitch, it was all about what was happening off it.
EURO 2016 has been hailed as a clear sponsorship success for Orange.
Our activity spread like wildfire in social, even to non-Orange markets, where the activity was not actively being promoted. From coverage on Croatian national TV to Turkish football fans joining forces online to light the Eiffel Tower with the colours of their team, this was a truly global campaign.
Independent press and industry reports positioned Orange as one of the leading sponsors of the tournament, with our focus on fans resulting in real cut-through.
Orange was the most effective sponsor according to the Brand Agility Index study by PR firm Waggener Edstrom Communications, securing a score of 167 points with its closest competitor, Hyundai, scoring 138 points.
Following its success, ‘Orange Sponsors You’ is set to become the new long-term comms platform for delivering future Orange sponsorships. And we can't wait to see what's next.
“Your fans are your biggest advocates, and are the most willing to spread your message and interact with your content. Instead of basing their campaign around the players on the field, Orange showed support for the fans, whom they describe as the The Real Stars of EURO 2016”.
“Orange has done a very good job to drive engagement, personalisation and originality through a campaign whose call to action #OrangeSponsorsYou is asking for fan selfies – this in turn ensures that Orange’s brand is being closely intertwined with fans on tournament stories”.