Social media users are taking over the Eiffel Tower next month. As part of a publicity campaign by French carrier Orange, a sponsor of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, the color of the tower’s lights will be chosen based on the number of tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram posts shared in support of each participating country.
Here’s how it works: If, say, France and England have a match that day, fans of either side can start furiously expressing their support on social media, appending hashtags recommended by Uefa, European football’s governing body. These social media posts are tallied up from one minute past midnight on match day until 9:30pm that evening. The team with the most social media support gets its national colors projected onto the Eiffel Tower until midnight.
The soccer tournament runs from June 10 to July 10, so that’s a month of social media shenanigans for Paris’s most iconic landmark. Orange also plans to project the most creative social posts on the tower itself.
The social media blitz is likely to be intense. During the 2014 World Cup, 672 million tweets were generated over the course of the tournament. That’s about six times more than the volume of tweets triggered by the Olympics, according to Twitter.
Of course, publicity stunts built around social media can also go awry. One campaign, by Uefa itself encouraged Twitter users to share auto-generated graphics in support of Euro 2016 teams; the results included some particularly trollish, takes. For the Eiffel Tower campaign, Orange says it has a sizable team of moderators, including an in-house team and staff from three of its publicity agencies. Any post being projected onto the tower will have been hand-selected, and the company has set up a ”blacklist” of words that won’t be counted towards each country’s total.