TikTok Teams Up With Dark Horses To Launch ‘Where The People Play’ Euro 2020 Sponsor Campaign

TikTok Euro 2020

24 May saw TikTok launch a campaign celebrating the return of fans to the beautiful game to leverage the build-up to the rescheduled UEFA Euro 2020.


After the kick off had been delayed for 12-months due to the pandemic, the short form video social platform’s global campaign seeks to capture the excitement of a year of waiting and invites football fans around the world to get involved in the tournament’s magic and passion.


The activation will leverage the tournament to demonstrate the fun soccer supporters can have and find on TikTok and thus solidify the platform’s connection with football. The idea is that the era of fans being passive observers is over and that now supporters are supported, inspired and encouraged to get involved in the action via user-generated content.


The campaign spans key European markets with a focus on France. Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the UK, as well as running in MENA and Japan.


The campaign, created by Dark Horses, is led by a hero television spot, which, according to the agency, ‘takes the passion, excitement and energy of the UEFA EUROs and smashes it together with the fun, inclusivity and playfulness of TikTok’.


The video gives the game the classic TikTok treatment and overlays iconic moments from previous Euros and overlays them with current TikTok content. Thus Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick against Wales during Euro 2016 is saved by a cat, while Paul Gascoigne’s Euro 96 ‘dentist chair’ celebration sees the England star watered by a gardener.


The lead 30-second film, which was directed by Daniel Kaufman and produced through Anonymous Content, features the endline and campaign title ‘Where Fans Play’.



The TV spot launched on 24 May ahead of the UEFA Champions League final (on the 29 May) which TikTok and other sports marketers see as a key pillar in the build-up to the tournament.


As well as the launch spot, the activation run across television (including idents), stadium LED boards and big screen content, plus digital and social content and contests and out-of-home work which includes large-scale station takeover in Munich and giant outdoor sites in Moscow and St Petersburg.


“The last time we had a EUROs, TikTok hadn’t even launched. That’s how long it’s been,” said Dark Horses Creative Partner Steve Howell. “But finally, the EUROs are happening. And the hottest digital entertainment platform on the planet is sponsoring it. ‘Where fans play’ is the alchemy of everything that’s brilliant about an international football tournament – iconic moments on the pitch and unforgettable emotions off it.”


TikTok Europe Head Of Marketing James Rothwell added: “It’s been a long year for football fans waiting for the EUROs and now it’s here the excitement is palpable. This campaign isn’t just about celebrating the return of football but giving those expectant fans around the world a way to get involved in the return of the beautiful game – whether they’re lucky enough to get a ticket or watching elsewhere. It’s been a thrilling journey working with Dark Horses to create this campaign.”





Football content has been steadily rising across the short video platform in recent months with more than 119bn views on the #football hashtag: that represents an increase of 70bn since TikTok’s official UEFA partnership was unveiled in February 2021.


TikTok’s deal with UEFA marked the first time a social platform has sponsored a major European football tournament – although there have been plenty of official partnerships in other sports (especially in the USA).


TikTok is leveraging the partnership to further build awareness among football fans based around a strategy of ‘becoming a home of fandom for football culture and driving interest in the app beyond to a wider audience’.


This campaign is the first work for TikTok by London-based creative agency Dark Horses since it won the social platform’s UEFA Euro 2020 sponsorship account following a competitive pitch in March. The agency will handle all the creative activation for the platform around the tournament including sponsorship bumpers across Europe, strategy and creative leading up to the tournament and branding.


“Sport has become one of the only true mass cultural movements we have now, and the EUROs will be a huge moment for so many people,” explained Dark Horses CEO Melissa Robertson. “TikTok specifically wants to get involved in the fan side of football, so this is the perfect brief for us.”


The delayed 2020 tournament is scheduled to start in Italy on 11 June with matches played across Europe leading up to the final at Wembley on 11 July.




As the tournament reached the knockout phase, just three weeks after the campaign launch, TikTok’s Euros sponsorship activation had already delivered immediate results as Google searches spiked.


UK TikTok searches more than doubled the yearly average on first weekend of the tournament as analysis of Google Trends data by creative resource Design Bundles revealed that searches for TikTok in the UK increased by 143% compared to the 2021 average.


While UEFA’s official Euro 2020 TikTok account, launched immediately prior to the tournament, generated 4m followers and 49m likes within 21 days.




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