Modern Marketing Future of TV Media Planning and Buying

Aldi wins Euro 2020 final ad space in ITV emotional ad competition


By John McCarthy | Media editor

July 9, 2021 | 5 min read

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has announced the winner of its emotional ad competition, offering one lucky brand the chance to win a coveted ad spot during the Euro 2020 final. Aldi’s ‘Good Swap Bad Swap Euros’ ad performed among the best in System1’s emotional analysis before impressing a panel of 1,000 ITV viewers.

Bad Swap

Aldi’s ad features commentator Clive Tyldesley analyzing a BBQ like a football match

With ITV ads in high demand, and generally sold out long in advance before anyone could anticipate England’s march to the final, the competition proved enticing to up to 35 brands. A spot in the final could cost as much as £500,000, although the media is generally sold in packages, which can obscure pricing [more here].

It launched in 2019, and then was delayed with the tournament. The creative was processed by System1’s analytics system, which ranks ads on five criteria: emotion, characters, soundtrack, recognizable devices and story arc.

As Kate Waters, director of client strategy and planning ITV, ITV Commercial, tells The Drum, she was expecting more bespoke football spots for the competition but blames market uncertainty, the pandemic and a bit of industry nervousness over the last year. She also noticed that more of the submitted work tended to focus on immediate outcomes, rather than the longer-term brand-building efforts TV is famed for.

How it works

The winning ad was selected by System1’s ad testing methodology and feedback from a representative sample of Uefa Euro 2020 viewers from the ITV Village, ITV’s community of viewers. They picked the spot most contextually relevant to the tournament, which just so happened to be long-term ITV advertiser Aldi, which has also enjoyed all the additional reach of being an England partner.

System1’s approach is based on the work of psychologist Paul Ekman and is validated using IPA’s effectiveness data in a bid to link emotional engagement to long-term effectiveness.

The winner

Aldi’s ad, which features commentator Clive Tyldesley analyzing a BBQ like a football match, was deemed to be the most emotionally engaging and enjoyed among audiences.

The five adverts that rated the most highly were Aldi, Carlsberg’s ‘The Seal’, Gillette’s ‘Gillette X Raheem Sterling – Best Face Forward’, Kopparberg’s ‘To Firsts That Last’ and Ocado’s ‘There’s an Ocado Just For You’. An honourable mention also went to British Heart Foundation for its quick turnaround on an emotive Christian Ericksen spot.

Jon Evans, chief marketer at System1, says the selection was “incredibly close”.


Evans adds: “Our recommendation system tends to urge advertisers to market broader than you think you need to – the danger is that most people go too narrow, but more people see advertising than you think, and you tend to be bought by more of a broader repertoire of people than you think.”

Waters says: “We are a media owner and a media business, and we talk a lot about the impact of the medium. Our view is to give our viewers the best possible experience. We also want our advertisers to ensure that their advertising is really effective, and System One is an incredibly powerful partner helping us do that.”

Two years into the partnership, ITV hopes to be testing and learning from some 95% of ads running on British TV.

Check out The Drum’s Sports Marketing hub for more on how the marketing industry can score long-term success through association with sport.

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