England’s national identity is rooted in its positive memories; it doesn’t like to address any painful incidents in its past. So it’s only natural that for Paddy Power’s latest campaign, centered around the ongoing Euro 2020 tournament, the brand should have lent into that aversion by spoofing England’s past failings.
The campaign features footballers Teddy Sheringham, Sol Campbell and Peter Crouch reminiscing about a non-existent victory in Euro 96. They’re joined in misremembering the tournament by the actor Shaun Williamson in a short mockumentary, which takes liberties with the truth.
A spokesman for Paddy Power said: “With England playing most of their games at home this tournament, there are many similarities to Euro 96. So we’ve all been hampered with tale after tale of a tournament where it didn’t actually come home at all.
“The delusion from Teddy, Sol, Peter and Shaun is laughable, but us Irish will let them believe what they want to – as long as it doesn’t actually come true this time around!”
It follows another tongue-in-cheek ad from VCCP and Paddy Power before the tournament kicked off, in which Crouch took a grass-is-always-greener approach to the Euros, in addition to the other social work Paddy Power has created around the football.
Other brands have taken a more straightforward tack with ads around the Euros. Specsavers and Tangerine Communications launched a billboard mimicking the brand’s recognisable eyecharts, which instead of random letters featured a fond refrain among the England hopeful. Adidas, meanwhile, put a Glasgow spin on the same phrase with an ‘It’s Coming Hame’ billboard.
Paddy Power rival Ladbrokes has also gone for a slightly less literal video ad around the tournament, featuring drummers playing in synch and the tagline ‘this time, we all play together’. Companies including Deliveroo, meanwhile, have played up the post-pandemic aspects of the shared experience of watching football together – in addition to giving away 15,000 vindaloos during the tournament.
Nostalgia continues to be a big winner for brands – especially around sports.