Cannes-Do Festival Banner

ITV revives competition for free Euro 2020 ad space

By John Glenday | Reporter



UEFA article

February 16, 2021 | 5 min read

ITV Commercial is offering one lucky advertiser the chance to get a kick out of this summer’s postponed UEFA Euro 2020 final.

What’s the deal?

  • Commercial broadcaster ITV is reheating its stalled plans to run a creative contest around the European tournament.

    Euro 2020

    ITV has revived its free Euro 2020 ad space competition

  • First unveiled in November 2019, the competition dangled a free prime time slot to the advertiser with the ’most emotionally engaging campaign’.

  • With 2020 proving to be a washout, ITV was forced to mothball this initiative but with the event now back on track, it has dusted off its plans.

  • Once again partnering with System1 ITV is searching for advertisers, creatives and media agencies to craft a communication piece which can wriggle into the soul of viewers.

  • The specialist ad-testing agency will bring an element of science to the occasion by objectively measuring each ad contenders emotional engagement using a simple star system that has been validated by the IPA.

  • Applicants are invited to submit their work for evaluation ahead of a 27 June deadline. The winner will then be duly revealed on 7 July ahead of the 11 July main event.

    The latest marketing news and insights straight to your inbox.

    Get the best of The Drum by choosing from a series of great email briefings, whether that’s daily news, weekly recaps or deep dives into media or creativity.

    Sign up

What does ITV want from brands?

  • Speaking at the time of the initial launch Kate Waters, director of client strategy and planning at ITV Commercial told The Drum: “What we’re talking about internally is how to use the tournament to create our own UK version of the Super Bowl.“

  • 12 months on the importance of the TV screen as an escape from the dramas of real life has become ever more alluring, encouraging ITV to hype up the contest as an opportunity to engage audiences and address the decline of creative effectiveness in the process.

  • Waters added: “This competition is a small step to help make that happen. System 1 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, said: “Euro 2020 is a golden opportunity for brands to score with the public – but our research shows half the ads on TV leave them flat. 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!”

  • ITV hasn‘t been idle over intervening months, last year identifying seven ‘creative territories‘ for advertisers to explore to be in with a chance to win.

  • Using prior successful campaigns as a yardstick ITV recommends showcasing adverts that are made in Britain or which feature examples of ‘reliant heroism‘ and ‘everyday underdogs‘ to tug on the heartstrings of sports fans.


Content created with:

ITV, as an integrated producer broadcaster, creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. We operate the largest commercial family of channels in the UK and deliver our content through traditional television broadcasting as well as on demand via the ITV Hub.

Find out more

More from Media

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +