Which brand will win Euro 2016? The Bravery Index reads emotional reaction to reveal the tournament's top scoring campaigns

Paddy Power's Euro 2016 spot

Who will win this Euro 2016? We’re not talking about the results of Europe’s biggest football event, but something just as competitive – the ads of the official and unofficial partner brands competing to steal their share of the glory this summer.

To find out just that, The Drum has partnered with the creative agency, Brave for the third installment of its Bravery Index, as it did previously to scope out the top Christmas ad offerings and super-premium Superbowl commercials.

The ads in questions were subjected to three days of biometric analysis, tracking the emotional reactions of thirty volunteers in real-time - combining galvanic skin response, facial coding and eye-tracking with unique algorithmic intelligence.

So with high profile brands forking out millions to become official sponsors, we ask the question – will it be an official partner or an opportunistic brand that comes out top?

Here Dave Lawrence, Brave’s head of planning, takes us through the top six results.

6. Coca-Cola

Despite being an official sponsor of the tournament, Coca-Cola’s ‘Taste the Feeling’ might have struggled to make it past the group stages.

The response was extremely passive, with 68 per cent experiencing neutral emotions, and just five per cent experiencing positive emotions such as joy.

Responses were pretty flat and subdued throughout the advert with no specific scenes standing out.

In the depth interview post testing, many panelists (perhaps spoilt with an industry that typically creates ads specifically for UK audiences) expressed annoyance at the international nature of the Coke advert.

5. Mars

Considering the high £5m cost of the Mars’s #Believe campaign, it’s performance was somewhat disappointing since it could only muster second from last position amongst the six ads tested.

While emotional engagement rose well during the cinematic opening sequence, it did not managed to maintain this level and petered off very quickly. The most prominent emotion recorded was frustration and the ad scored a mere 12 per cent for joy.

A spike in anger and a decline in joy were experienced at the introduction of the swimmers crossing the channel, and at this point, emotional engagement began its rapid decline.

Many of the panelists explained that this reaction was due to an unease created by the parallels drawn with the current refugee crises, something pre-testing of the advert could have unearthed.

4. Carling

Despite releasing their advert at the end of May to coincide with the beginning of the Euros, Carling is not an official partner.

As an opportunistic piece of creative re-purposing, they re-introduced their ‘mission impossible’ office escape execution. Perhaps as a result, the emotional response of the panel (of which 29 per cent stated that they had previously seen the advert) was fairly muted, with 62 per cent experiencing neutral emotions and 22 per cent feeling downbeat.

​Its saving grace however was the well-received comic moment at the end, when the main character walks into the glass door having finally escaped his boss. This saw a spike in both galvanic skin response, and joy through facial coding.

3. Carlsberg

Carlsberg, as the official beer of the Euros 2016, have attempted to drive pub footfall with a ‘united through patriotism’ campaign theme. Throughout the monologue there were multiple peaks of engagement, particularly with the line ‘pack the pubs like we did in 96’.

The rousing sentiment resulted in Carlsberg being the only ad that managed to build a steady increase of engagement throughout the ad, leading to a peak at the end.

One issue however was that this serious, heartfelt tone appealed more to women than men, with the former scoring 18 per cent higher in uplifting emotions. For an advert starring men, targeting men, this gender divide in effectiveness might not be the result they were hoping for.

=1. Lufthansa

Lufthansa has been disruptive in its approach by choosing the on-going football rivalry between England and Germany as the inspiration for their advert. Its bold move to poke fun at England supporters resulted in a significant amount of positive online discourse, and its joint first position in our test further validated the emotional resonance of the work.

This ad received the second highest joy percentage of the six tested and was the only one to achieve an equally positive reaction between the men and women. High peaks of emotion were witnessed in response to the comment ‘we’re flying with the Germans?’ and during the final scene whereby the main character awakens from his dream, only to find the same German child still mocking him.

This was a classic example of adherence to the peak/end rule, which indicates that the memorability of an experience is determined by both the height of the peak of engagement and the level of engagement at the very end.

=1. Paddy Power

Paddy Power have also taken a disruptive approach during the tournament by focusing not on its support for England but instead turning their attention to a country that actually failed to qualify – Scotland.

The tongue-in-cheek creative has paid off for them with the advert scoring the highest proportion of upbeat reactions at 32 per cent, dominated by strong and consistent sentiments of joy.

The creative work was punctuated with a number of comic moments such as ‘Scotland’s got a bet on you to lose’, all of which prompted strong peaks of joy, building to a very effective and engaging treatment.

Despite the fact that Paddy Power is not an official sponsor, it has managed to bag itself the EURO trophy, and an unfair share of footie fans’ attention.

Takeaways

Despite the high costs involved, official sponsorship of the EUROs is not a guarantee of success. By the very nature of the challenge involved, un-official brands typically take greater risks, which from the evidence of this test, can clearly have a strong result in connecting emotionally with consumers

The two most successful ads in our test have taken the football theme and found a unique and disruptive position on it – supporting the countries that haven’t made it, or poking fun at the supporters.

Whilst it is tempting to tap into the highly charged emotions of supporters during sports events, there are inherent dangers in doing so. By its very nature it can be divisive (gender, home nation support and so forth) and can even elicit negative reactions if the creative is in any way misaligned.

As always the use of humour can be a powerful and successful way to engage an audience with advertising, and in this case seems to have served by Lufthansa and Paddy Power very well.

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