Sweepstakes and sausages: How UK agencies are watching Euro 2016

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Year in and year out, England hopes it can reverse decades of football heartbreak and maybe, just maybe, finally bag some hardware.

Euro 2016, which continues until July 10, has entranced the country as it competes with 23 other European teams for the Henri Delaunay Trophy. This year, fans have been betting record amounts of money on the tournament, boosting pubs across the country.

Agencies are not immune to the football fever, either. We caught up with a few of them — those who remained after colleagues shipped off to Cannes, anyway — to see how they’ve been celebrating so far.

Sticker swaps
“We tend not to do much enforced jollity,” explained VCCP’s creative director Jim Thornton. “It gets a bit corporate.” Alongside the usual antics (i.e., drinking and shouting), the agency also runs a sticker swap wherein its 600 employees can trade stickers with their favorite footballers on them.

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VCCP watching England vs. Wales

While the hobby is more likely to be spotted on playgrounds, around 30 grownups turned up to trade their duplicates from the official Euro 2016 sets made by Panini. (Someone even bought along Spice Girls stickers.)

Thornton told Digiday that some staff members were shy about their interest: “They said, ‘They’re not mine, they’re my son’s/husband’s/girlfriend’s.’” However, they soon got into it.

The inspiration for the event came from fellow agency Mother. It is known for its boozy sticker swap parties, which only end when someone has a complete set (often in the small hours).

Sausage rolls
London agency Lida has been planning its Euro activities, which include BYOB-viewing sessions, smack in the middle of an office-wide redesign. As things usually go with refurbishments, the Euro viewing hasn’t always gone to plan.

While the whole agency was shut down ahead of Thursday’s match against Wales, managing director Jonathan Goodman was still awaiting a new projector Lida had ordered. Hard to watch a match without a projector. The whole office crowded around a tiny TV set before IT brought up a 68-inch upgrade three minutes before kick-off. “It could have been a disaster,” Goodman told Digiday.

Lida also had to arrange a £50-worth delivery of emergency sausage rolls and crisps for the team when the catering failed to arrive.

Shit props

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Grey’s downstairs bar

Grey London bought a truckload of “shit props” for the tournament. Fans at its bar space can enjoy St. George-themed party hats, inflatables and whistles.

Ollie Dearn, Grey’s PR manager, said this was a contingency plan in case the football wasn’t entertaining enough. “Oh, and booze, which makes watching England a whole load more bearable,” he said.

In keeping with VCCP’s retro celebrations, there’s also an unofficial competition among the staff to find the best vintage England uniform.

The ’96 outfit worn by the England team when the country hosted the Euros is currently in the lead, though Dearn suspects that’s more for nostalgia’s sake than anything else. “One guy, who shall remain nameless, even went ‘full kit wanker‘ one day,” he added.

Worst team sweepstake
Agency Branded3 has built a “fanzone” in the middle of its open-plan office in Leeds. However, there hasn’t been beer here. Only soda.

Like most offices, the agency is running its own Euro 2016 pool as part of a companywide sweepstake. While the employee with the winning team gets the cash prize, the employee who gets stuck with the tournament’s lowest-ranking team also gets a payout.

CEO Tim Grice got England. Coincidence?

And the rest
Other agencies are getting involved too. Huge is holding its own concurrent tournament of the EA Sports game Fifa 16. Ogilvy & Mather London is showing games at its Amphitheatre at Sea Containers.

Meanwhile, 360i got out the projector and buckets of crisps. There were no clients in attendance, according to marketing manager Lauren Ingram. “I’m not sure if we could get everyone to behave themselves,” she said.

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