How my EUROS Went Viral

8th July 2016
By admin

Legacy Consultants. Picture by Shane O'Neill Photography.

Matthew Gavin – Marketing Executive, Legacy Consultants


An insider’s recommendations to viral Euros Content

The European Football Championships have provided the digital community around the world with an unprecedented level of viral content. The majority of which was produced by the Irish fans themselves, capturing every aspect of their cultural experience in their own unique way. I myself travelled to France and was part of this interactive journalism which took over news waves worldwide. This viral content ranged from changing an old French couple’s tyre, to singing a lullaby to a baby on a train, to serenading beautiful French girls, to singing to a nun on a train and finally to wearing a horse mask while kicking a football through a window. No I was not the one wearing the horse mask!


My experience was different to most. I came to the Euros with a background in social media marketing, which made me more acutely aware of what was unfolding and if recorded, what scenarios could gain some traction online. Let me tell you about my experience……

The scenario that unfolded in front of me happened in Bordeaux, France. As I was standing there I noticed a large crowd of Irish men surrounding a blonde French girl. I knew that us Irish, being the charming, sophisticated and great singers we are, were going to try to impress the French girl.

View video here:

When content goes ‘viral’ and gets a lot of traction online, it is usually because it is emotionally driven content. If a video sparks an emotion in us, we are moved to engage with the video. Being in France – the country synonymous with romance, I had a feeling it might get me a few likes on my Facebook page when I saw it happen. However, I did not expect

I had no idea what would happen next.

I posted the video online into Facebook groups and on my own page. I went to the Ireland v Belgium game and during the match I was doing a Facebook Live video of the national anthem and start of the game. I noticed I suddenly had a lot of notifications. This to someone who manages a lot of pages isn’t a big thing so I didn’t take any notice. Within hours, the video had gained. 2,000 Likes. With my brother standing beside me, we both couldn’t believe what was happening.

The reason I suspected the video might do well online was because of 2 things: 1) Strong Emotional content; and 2) It was Captioned correctly.

To get the most reach online I knew the video needed to be captioned well.  I thought the caption “Love is in the air – Irish fans serenade French girl” worked well here. Captions can’t give too much away but they need to be enticing enough to spark an engagement in some form or another.


Now my video was entering the world of virality and I was beginning to receive messages from news publications such as The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Fox Sports and reporters from a host of other media. This was the part of the spectrum I was had not experienced directly before. The company that provided me with the insights was Storyful. Founded by a fellow Irish man Mark Little, Storyful is now a leading global company that provides the world’s biggest brands with social media content.


The match had ended in defeat. The fans were leaving dejected and I had to catch a train from Bordeaux to Paris, fly from Paris to Copenhagen, stay in Copenhagen and then fly back to Dublin in the morning. This was not the worst way of returning home I heard so don’t feel sorry for me. The train was now my media room for dealing with reporters.

Dealing with the reporters requests for usage of my video become a lot easier once I had partnered with Storyful. They have a platform to promote your video and have the capabilities to deal with licensing and monetization on Youtube. I still had to do the work of directing reporters to them and doing interviews for news articles but they controlled all the licensing which was a great help.

My video has now reached over 2.6 million views on Youtube, over 150,000 views on my personal Facebook page, 8.2k Likes and generated over 7.5k shares on a Facebook page I posted it in. This does not include the millions of views from it being featured on the top media pages on Facebook and around the world. It has been featured on sites such as The Daily Mail, Sky News, Fox Sports, Buzzfeed,, The Telegraph, The Mirror and Reddit. It was the most prevalent video to come from the Irish fans and possibly from any fan at the Euros, true global viral video.

This experience gives an insight from a digital marketing perspective on how to spot emotionally engaging content as it happens. How the right caption can be just as important as the content in the video and the hidden part of the viral network we don’t see, where companies pick videos up early and split the profits in exchange for the handling of licensing and promotion of the video.


The final on Sunday is expected to have a viewer count of over 300 million. This will produce headlines all over the world and a viral image or video in the process. Whichever team wins the final on Sunday, I think it is fair to say that the Irish fans have captured their hearts and were the best fans at the tournament.

Matthew Gavin – Marketing Executive, Legacy Consultants @Legacy_Consult