The road to the Wembley Cup: EE's winning YouTube formula

November 2015

Every football fan has dreamed of playing at the home of football — Wembley Stadium. A recent marketing campaign from EE allowed that dream to come true for 28 of the biggest footballing YouTubers on the planet. Engaging and entertaining millions of fans along the way, the match was watched by more people than tuned into the Champions League Final on TV. Brand Director Spencer McHugh discusses YouTube's critical role in delivering one of EE's most successful brand marketing campaigns to date.

Having only existed for three years, EE is a brand that's very focused on innovation. As sponsors of Wembley Stadium, we were looking for a big, scalable way to highlight our association with this iconic British venue. We wanted to go beyond traditional sponsorship activation tactics with a fresh, innovative idea that would really cut through to our tech-savvy audience, especially males aged 16 to 34. We knew that we would need to reach our audience where they were spending most of their time — and that meant YouTube.

There's a thriving community of football creators on YouTube with huge passionate followings, so it made sense to team up with one of them, the brilliant Spencer Owen. Better known as Spencer FC, he's one the biggest football vloggers and FIFA players in the UK.

Spencer approached our creative agency POKE with the idea of hosting a YouTube series starring himself and 27 fellow YouTubers. The premise was to have two captains, each tasked with building a squad through episodic challenges to culminate in a grand finale between the two sides at Wembley Stadium.

We loved the idea of taking these stars, the majority of whom are known for their online videos and FIFA gaming skills, and showing their audience what they can do in real life. The 10-part series followed the teams through the various challenges, receiving help and advice from FA and England coaches and a host of football stars including Martin Keown, Ray Wilkins and Matt Le Tissier. The Wembley Cup launched in mid-July with the final airing at the start of the new Premier League season, which allowed us to capitalise on existing pre-season football buzz.

Of course, great content still needs great media behind it. To maximise reach and impact, our media agency MEC used Google Preferred and TrueView. By integrating our audience data with YouTube, we ran our most highly targeted media campaign ever. We used data to understand who chose to watch the first episode, then targeted these viewers with subsequent episodes. We optimised in real time, too, to drive even higher engagement.

The Wembley Cup has been a roaring success. To date, the 10 episodes and additional behind-the-scenes footage have generated over 35 million views, equal to 290 years of watch time. But it's not just the amount of time people have spent with the content and our brand that's been fantastic; the level of engagement has been unprecedented.

Having seen a 300% increase in brand searches during the campaign and an 8% increase in brand consideration for EE amongst our key target audience, it's fair to say that the performance of this campaign has exceeded even our wildest dreams. The whole experience has deepened our understanding of the impact that YouTube can have on our brand and our business. As a result, YouTube will continue to be a key part of our brand plans this year and into the future.

Learn more about the Wembley Cup campaign...

EE Gets 8% Increase in Brand Consideration
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