Three weeks, 16 teams and millions of fanatics; that’s Euro 2012 in a nutshell. And with media and commercial rights making up over 80 percent of UEFA’s €1.3 billion tournament earnings, the stakes are as high for sponsors as they are for the teams.

And we’re not just talking about the digital signage lining the pitch. Here are two brands that have found creative ways to get noticed.

Paddy Power “Vuvuzela Truck”

Thought Euro 2012 would be free from the eardrum-shattering instrument from hell? Not so. Turns out the Irish love the vuvuzela!

At least that’s what Ireland’s biggest online gambling company, Paddy Power Poker is betting on. The campaign involves driving a truck across Europe with a giant vuvuzela strapped to the roof, in a playful response to UEFA’s decision to ban the much-maligned noisemaker from the tournament.

Who, you might ask, was behind such a crafty prank? As the ad reveals, it came from a fan on their Facebook Page.

But it’s not the ad that’s given the domestic brand international notoriety. In an ambush marketing stunt, the brand was emblazoned on a pair of skivvies worn by Danish player Nicklas Bendtner, who showed them off after scoring against Portugal.

Paddy Power Poker wins points for creativity, but such antics have consequences.  Because the brand isn’t an official sponsor, Bendtner faces disciplinary action by UEFA, the tournament’s governing body.

Nike’s “My Time is Now”

Perhaps no other brand has consistently produced quality star-studded ads that capture the passion and sense of play that the beautiful game is famous for. This year’s Nike Euro ad is no exception.

Combining the sports’ biggest stars (Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta, among others) with a massive budget, this sprawling 3 minute spot has garnered more than 17 million YouTube views in less than a month.

The ad is reminiscent of Nike’s equally epic World Cup 2010 ad, “Write the Future.”

But the Euro 2012 ad takes the content to another level.

When watching the video on YouTube, viewers can click a link to “find the hidden tunnels” in the film they may have missed the first time. What’s more, the Easter egg hunt is framed as a contest, which makes the content even stickier.

Adding a final dimension to the campaign, Nike uses the ad as a platform to popularize “The Chance” – a global contest that aims to find the next generation of young players.