ITV resumes interrupted competition for free Euro 2020 airtime

Prize offered for most emotionally engaging ad.

Ian Wright: footballer appears in work to promote ad competition
Ian Wright: footballer appears in work to promote ad competition

ITV Commercial is resuming a creative contest for brands advertising during football's European championships, Euro 2020. 

The contest offers a free ad slot during the final of the tournament, which will be held on Sunday 11 July this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic derailing the event last year. 

The prize will be awarded to "the most emotionally engaging and enjoyable spot" during the tournament. Ads can be any length between 30 and 120 seconds and must be submitted before the deadline on 27 June. 

Each entry will be assessed by ad testing agency System1 against criteria including emotion, story arc, soundtrack, brand recognition and characters. Viewers' responses can be gauged in advance via System1's predictive ad test.

The five highest-scoring ads will be shortlisted, before a research panel of selected ITV viewers will be enlisted to choose “the most liked advertisement in the context of Euro 2020”. 

The competition is accompanied by a video starring former Arsenal forward Ian Wright as he explains that “football games aren’t just won on the pitch”.

Wright goes on to give a “team talk” to industry members, describing the competition as “your chance to be remembered forever on the most powerful platform of all”. 

“Get out there and show me what you got,” Wright declares as the work comes to a close.

“At a time when people are increasingly looking to TV for entertainment and escapism, but when creative effectiveness is in decline, there's never been a better or more important opportunity for advertising to engage and entertain viewers – this competition is a small step to help make that happen”, Kate Waters, director of client strategy and planning for ITV and ITV Commercial, said .

“System1 is the perfect research partner for ITV as we begin our search for the brand that has the ambition, vision and creativity to produce an advert that will be at the forefront of one of this year's largest live sporting events and greatest cultural moments.”

Jon Evans, chief marketing officer at System1, noted that while “Euro 2020 is a golden opportunity for brands to score with the public”, research from the brand found that “half the ads on TV” do not resonate with viewers.

Evans added: “Effective ads don't just give people a lift, they benefit the bottom line. We're over the moon to be helping ITV reward effectiveness, new ideas and enthusiasm with this competition. 

“It's a chance for creative brands to showcase their work on one of the most coveted stages in UK advertising. May the biggest feelings win.”

This year’s Uefa Euro 2020 will be sponsored by TikTok.