Euro 2020: In early 2020, the thirst for a merger between Just Eat and Dutch compatriot Takeaway.com was quenched, creating a pan-European food delivery giant. The new business had little time to integrate brands and marketing teams for a particular pan-European soccer tournament called the Euros. Marin Luchtman, the grocery giant’s head of global sponsorship, talks about how the subsequent delay of the soccer competition proved to be a “good scenario” for sponsorship activation, to say the least.
In 2019, Takeaway.com entered into a global partnership with Uefa, becoming the official partner of the food delivery platform, providing stadium advertising, escorts for child players and thousands of tickets for customers. Meanwhile, the Dutch company has come under scrutiny by antitrust authorities in its merger with Britain’s Just Eat.
Marin Luchtman, head of global sponsorship at Just Eat Takeaway.com, said: “We couldn’t even talk to each other, it would have been impossible to activate sponsorship in a fully integrated way in 2020.”
A year later, that’s no longer the case. Now Just Eat Takeaway.com (note the unified corporate branding) is entering the market with Euros global sponsorship, activating under different names in different markets, which will be a very localized campaign. The company operates under the name Just Eat in the United Kingdom, Takeaway.com in the Netherlands, Pyszne in Poland and Lieferando in Germany, all formed through multiple acquisitions over the years.
“Since the last quarter of 2020, we started working as a fully integrated marketing team. We now work very closely with our brands and campaign team,” says Luchtmann.
So what has this accomplished?
The Euros are working
Just Eat Takeaway.com partnered with McCann and Dark Horses to produce part of the campaign. McCann is a longtime partner and created Snoop Dogg’s iconic work. Dark Horses came on board in February (when it also picked up TikTok) with a different assignment.
A European TV campaign created by McCann, featuring stars Cantona, Buffon, Virgil Van Dijk, Podolski and Torres, has been regionally adapted for each market and will run during key matches.
Dark Horses’ multi-targeted social creative will work across all markets on social media. It is designed to generate excitement for the thousands of tickets the firm will hand out to lucky fans.
With stadium capacity declining due to the pandemic, these tickets will be more in demand than ever, and Luchtman knows it. Both campaigns need to be about delivery – something that needs to be done in both soccer and food.
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“It’s all about the marriage between food and soccer. All of our promotions have to be about that delivery moment.”
Handing out tickets “seems easy,” but “tying it to your product and considering all the legal regulations in every country would literally be impossible in just a couple of months.”
“A lot of sponsors give out tickets, but more often than not it’s only 20 or 40 tickets, and we literally give out thousands.
This work can be done anywhere. In the U.K., the Just Eat team has adopted orange branding, as have other members of the corporate structure in Europe.
Josh Pierce, creative director at Dark Horses, said it was a “great brief” because the team didn’t need to make a “tenuous” connection to explain the brand’s place in soccer. “There’s a connection between the joy of food arriving and the joy of watching your favorite team play. It’s such a seamless and beautiful connection, it’s almost a ritual.”
The team had just three weeks to create the commercial, which showcases a pretty impressive powerslide. The team laughs about how they tried to create the slide before applying the CGI system. An oiled man would have been a cheaper way to do it,” he laughs.
In addition, Just Eat is pondering how to showcase its exclusive accompaniment capabilities, which bring the best players to the doorsteps of children’s fans. Transferring the experience from the stadium to the fan’s doorstep was a natural fit in the Covid-19 environment. In addition, Luchtman noted with interest that Just Eat has applications for stadiums. Just Eat is currently experimenting with food delivery – just a week before she ordered a hot dog at the Amsterdam Arena.
It will be an undeniable hit, and easier to predict than the winner of the tournament. As the competition progresses, you’ll see fans getting tickets and kids getting their chaperones. The national wings of the Just Eat Takeaway.com family will be both hopeful (and fearful) of their team’s success.
Luchtman says, “Local marketing teams are ready for their countries to progress. They’re prepared for the fact that they’ll only have a week to get the job done.”
Finally, she’s thinking about more reactive, data-driven marketing, like Spotify Wrapped. It would be able to let fans know how much pizza was ordered at halftime. Or who celebrated a big win with, say, an ice cream delivery. There are fun solutions in the plans, too.
It’s fair to say that the organization is fully interested in rich sports sponsorships. A study conducted with Nielsen found that a significant portion of people think about food delivery when watching sports with friends.
“Football is the biggest sport and the most logical choice, but then there are clubs, federations or athletes to choose from in that landscape.
Competitors pick on other venues in hopes of legitimacy and a share of voice in this space. She is reluctant to comment on their strategies. In her opinion, the euro markets are right for Just Eat Takeaway.com.
Luchtman argues that it’s really a “cost-effective” investment in media, rather than creating huge teams to do it around the country around small events.
Since getting the Euros, the organization has taken all the top European competitions from Uefa, including in the women’s game. Expect hints of future strategies this summer.