The general media may be full of stories about the forthcoming EU in/out referendum, but the sports pages will be full of articles about another EU showdown the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament.

It all kicks off at the Stade de France on Friday 10 June at 8pm when current champions France take on Romania. Fifty-one matches will be played in total with each expected to attract an estimated 150 million live spectators, all culminating in the final on Sunday July 10. But what’s even more exciting this time around is that three home nations England, Northern Ireland and Wales are all taking part.

You might not be a mad football fan yourself, but you’d be mad not to get behind this event, as historically it’s proved a sales winner for retailers. A new report from Him! entitled Preparing for Sporting Events 2016 found that 70% of retailers use national events to increase footfall. It also revealed that 44% of UK shoppers said they planned to watch Euro 16. Some might choose to do this at their local pub but many will prefer to do it at home, especially now that so many people have large-screen TVs. Sixty per cent of shoppers Him! spoke to said they buy their food and drink for such events from supermarkets rather than c-stores because of the better range they find there. This highlights an opportunity for neighbourhood retailers, such as forecourt stores, to get behind events like the Euros to show shoppers that they have what they need. For the Euros, Him! found that beer was the number one purchase (bought by 46% of consumers) followed by crisps (42%).

With beer so popular, Carlsberg as the Official Beer of UEFA Euro 2016 and the England team, is a ’must stock’ especially as it has special limited-edition packaging to create on-shelf stand-out.

Carlsberg packs feature a mix of the brand’s classic green together with shards of the tournament’s official colour scheme of red, blue and white. Images of stadiums, supporters and footballs also feature, alongside the word ’Probably’, serving as a link to the brand’s iconic "If Carlsberg Did" campaign.

Carlsberg Export features a premium gold and silver design, with a football boot where studs are replaced by iconic French landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.

In addition, for the impulse channel there is an exclusive on-pack offer. The promotion invites shoppers to enter a Carlsberg’s Man of the Match competition for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Paris and the opportunity to present the Carlsberg ’Man of the Match’ trophy at an England group game.

The activity is part of a campaign called ’If Carlsberg did Substitutions’, which includes trade activation, broadcast activity, stunts and consumer giveaways to enable retailers to unlock the tournament’s potential. It will run in stages to maximise consumer engagement with the brand in the run-up to and throughout the football tournament.

Part of this will be a four-week outdoor promotion with 1,500 panels across the UK, reaching 72% of all UK adults. The panels’ messages will encourage fans to put their rivalries aside and substitute support for their club with support for their country. In addition, TV idents will be shown during matches broadcast on ITV including the tournament’s semi-finals and final, while perimeter LED advertising boards will highlight the lager brand at every match.

Carlsberg will also be engaging fans around the world through its digital and social media channels presenting supporters with the chance to vote for their official Carlsberg Man of the Match for each of the European tournament’s 51 games.

Carlsberg UK marketing director, David Scott, says: "Major tournaments provide a huge opportunity for retailers. Many people plan ahead to watch the matches at home, often making it a social occasion with friends, so they’re going to stock up with food and drink for the matches.

"This year is particularly important for the off-trade as the home nations England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all qualified, so there are more matches for retailers to capitalise on the opportunity."

For retailers Carlsberg is providing UEFA Euro 2016-branded retail display units and pos kits, which include fixture lists.

On the soft drinks side, official Euro 16 sponsor Coca-Cola has an on-pack promotion offering football fans the chance to attend the most keenly anticipated matches.

The ’Win Tickets’ promotion will appear on 90 million packs of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke, including 500ml, 1.25ltr and 1.75ltr PET bottles and 330ml can multipacks. Some 504 winners will receive four tickets each 2,016 in total plus £400 to help cover the costs of travel and accommodation.

Every promotional pack will feature a 10-digit code which can be entered at and fans can enter to win tickets for specific matches on different days, ensuring that they’re in the running for the games they’re most interested in. Daily prize draws take place until May 30.

Among the prizes on offer are chances to see matches involving England, Wales, Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland, as well as a selection of other high-profile matches including the quarter finals.

The promotion will be supported by a wide-reaching marketing campaign, including television commercials, digital out-of-home advertising at transport hubs, and digital and social activity communicating which matches are being drawn on each day of the promotion.

Pos material is available for retailers to help encourage consumers to take part.

Coca-Cola Enterprises’ operational marketing director, Caroline Cater, says: "With England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland all taking part in UEFA Euro 2016, this is one of the most keenly awaited football events in memory, and the ’Win Tickets’ promotion is a great opportunity for retailers to increase their sales as excitement builds.

"With tickets for the biggest matches understandably in high demand, retailers should look to stock these promotional packs as football fans try to secure their place at the biggest football event of the year."

It’s not just the official sponsors which are getting in on the Euro 16 activity. Mars, which has been an official supporter of the FA since 2009, is launching a new #Believe campaign. There will be limited edition #Believe packaging for singles, duos, four- and nine-packs.

Mars Chocolate UK trade communications manager, Bep Dhaliwal, says: "There are three home nations in the competition this year, and with 73% of viewers likely to buy snacks and drinks before the matches (Nielsen data), our new #Believe Mars bar packaging provides retailers with a great opportunity to implement on-shelf activation which brings the magic alive for consumers."

A media investment of £4.1m will support the campaign with #Believe TV advertising, starring three of England’s brightest football stars. The advert, which will be on screens across the country from May 15, will be supplemented by a significant multi-channel social media campaign.

Mars brand manager, Greg Kent, says: "Up to 20 million people are set to watch each match in the tournament in France with a potential audience of 15.3 million UK football fans predicted to be on Twitter at any one time during the average Euro 2016 game. Our #Believe campaign recognises the importance of genuine consumer engagement around the tournament matches and this is echoed in each element of our approach from our limited-edition packaging, to our TV creative and digital engagement. We want to encourage collective support for our national team and making a statement on-pack is an effective way to ensure this stays top of mind for consumers."

For retailers, there will also be a range of pos solutions which feature fan imagery and the home nations’ colours. And while the Scottish team didn’t make it to France, Mars is still encouraging retailers and fans to continue to show belief in their team, providing an exclusive overlay for Scottish stores and continuing the campaign presence on-pack. A competition will also help to generate further consumer engagement, offering the chance for two lucky people to win a kickabout with a Scottish player, as well as hundreds of other football prizes which will be up for grabs.

Don’t forget the younger fans

Panini’s Official UEFA Euro 2016 sticker collection represents a milestone among football collectables as it’s the 10th Euro sticker album released by the firm.
The all-new sticker album is full of facts, stats and trivia about Europe’s top teams and players. Plus it has new content including split stickers, calendar pages and vintage images of past UEFA Euro tournaments.
The collection consists of a 96-page album with 680 stickers to collect. There are a total of 50 special stickers to look out for and collectors can kick start their collection with a starter pack which includes an album and 31 stickers (rrp £2.99).
The collection will be supported by a multi-channel marketing campaign including TV, press and online advertising, magazine cover mount activity, and a national newspaper and sampling campaign.

Key dates

Friday June 10 at 8pmFrance v Romania
Saturday June 11 at 5pmWales v Slovakia
Saturday June 11 at 8pmEngland v Russia
Sunday June 12 at 5pmPoland v Northern Ireland
Thursday June 16 at 2pmEngland v Wales
Thursday June 16 at 5pmUkraine v Northern Ireland
Monday June 20 at 8pmRussia v Wales
Monday June 20 at 8pmSlovakia v England
Tuesday June 21 at 5pmNorthern Ireland v Germany
Saturday June 25knockout games start
Thursday June 30quarter finals start
Wednesday July 6/Thursday July 7semi finals
Sunday July 10finals

Retailer view

Richard Perry, business development manager, MFG:
"We always get behind events such as the Euros. This year is great as three home nations have qualified so we expect a lot of interest.
"For Euro 2016 our top sites will have point-of-sale automatically sent to them to support the event while other sites can request it. The point-of-sale is pretty site-specific, depending on size etc. For some we have header boards but they are not right for every store. We then stock all the related products and promotions.
"For customers, a lot of the time it’s a case of ’the football’s on, it’s a hot day, so let’s go down to the shop for a pack of beer’. And that’s where we win over the grocery multiples because our four-packs of beer are chilled and ready to drink."