ITV launches competition for free ad space during the Euro 2020 final

ITV launches ad competition at Palooza event

ITV is the latest media owner to launch a Channel 4-style competition to win free ad space, this time for a prime slot during the Euro 2020 final to the advertiser with the “most emotionally engaging campaign".

The challenge was announced during the broadcaster’s annual ‘Palooza’ event this week (12 November), where commercial managing director Kelly Williams outlined how it was trying to make buying ad space during the tournament easier.

This will include tailor packages of airtime to suit budgets across linear and online as well as the introduction of a fixed, discounted Cost Per Thousand metric that would put a ceiling on the price advertisers pay for a slot.

But the broadcaster hopes a competition for free ad space will also improve the quality of the campaigns that run during the major football tournament. Commercial director Simon Daglish said it will work with an “independent research company” to judge the most “emotionally engaging” campaigns from a brand or agency.

“We’re going to make the Euros easy to plan and buy. We’re also on a mission to improve creativity in advertising, and we want to throw a creative challenge over to you,” Daglish told the ad industry audience at the event.

“We are going to offer the advertiser with the most emotionally engaging ad in next year’s Euros a free spot in the final. We want more advertising to be remembered for years to come. In short, this is a call to make your brand a part of culture next year.”

A spokesperson later confirmed to The Drum that it will contact agencies and clients directly to outline the opportunity.

They declined to comment on how much the ad slot is worth but said “it is obviously one of the biggest advertising opportunities in the UK next year".

The final, held at Wembley Stadium, will air on 12 July 2020.

It’s similar to a competition that has been run by rival broadcaster Channel 4 for the past four years.

Its annual Diversity Fund offers £1m of airtime to a “brave” idea from an advertiser and their agency, usually relating to a specific theme which in the past has included disability, LGBTQ+ and female representation. Past winners including Mars, Lloyds and Starbucks.

Meanwhile, last month Transport for London (TfL) also offered up £500,000-worth of free ad space across its network for an ad that can successfully challenge the “sometimes superficial” representation of the capital’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

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