Challenger Ways #2: Three Things Challenger Brands Can Learn From Eurovision

Eurovision song contest was the most watched grand final in the competition’s history, delivering a show that was every bit as slick and entertaining as Eurovision fans had been anticipating. For the next edition of our Challenger Ways series, we look beyond the Eurovision confetti cannons to see what challenger brands can learn from the campest song contest on the continent.

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 Eurovision has built up a dedicated LGBTQ+ fanbase over the years and become synonymous with kitsch and camp. Contestants are empowered to showcase their artistry in the most imaginative and extravagant ways - something that queer people relate to because they've often been told to 'tone it down' by other parts of society. 

The LGBTQ+ community loves Eurovision because it provides a safe space for them to celebrate the unique creativity that makes them authentically queer. Challenger brands who speak with their consumers, rather than at them, and listen to what the community wants can differentiate themselves from the competition, boost customer loyalty and foster a devoted following.



 Philadelphia and Europe's cheesiest song contest - a match made in heaven! When tickets sold out in 30 minutes, fans joked they would “live on Philadelphia” in an attempt to win the VIP tickets on limited-edition packs. Meanwhile, drinks sponsor Baileys owned the 'at-home Eurovision party' occasion by enlisting 2014 winner Conchita Wurst to shake up cocktails on their social channels and inspire party hosts to make Baileys the drink of choice. 


When it comes to brand partnerships, seek out the cultural events and ambassadors that can elevate your message while offering an authentic link back to your brand - that's when the magic happens.


Unexpected collaborations are also a brilliant way to get people talking. Recently in London, four challenger brands that seemingly had nothing to do with each other teamed up for a surprising OOH collab that went viral. Men’s health website Numan, online retailer Cheesegeek, cereal maker Surreal and gym operator Gymbox ran side-by-side ads with the headlines, “Harder, Feta, breakFaster, Stronger”—a pun on Daft Punk’s hit song “Harder Better Faster Stronger.” The campaign received more than 1m views and generated social media buzz around each of the four brands.  Other collabs to hit the headlines recently include Durex x Diesel and Heinz x Absolut. By joining forces, challenger brands can broaden their reach and make their budgets work twice as hard.



 Eurovision's fanbase was once diehard enthusiasts who followed it every year and held small parties, but social media has been the driving force behind the song contest going mainstream. Love it or hate it, people will still tune in via TV while second screening to follow everyone's live commentary on Twitter. 


Being broadcast on the BBC used to mean "nul points" for advertisers in the UK, but social media offers brands the chance to get exposure through Eurovision’s own YouTube channel and TikTok livestreams. TikTok has also been responsible for songs becoming viral hits; Armenia’s entry last year came 20th on the night, yet went on to become one of the most successful ever in terms of streams and downloads thanks to the way TikTok has revolutionised the power of audio on social.  


So, even if you can't afford a shiny new TV ad for your brand you can still harness the power of social media to outsmart, not outspend, the competition. For Eurovision, lip-sync performances, reaction videos, singing duets, and popular dance trends all created a winning content formula to send the singing contest into the stratosphere. Challenger brands should get to grips with the DNA behind each social platform, understand what’s trending and see how consumers are behaving in different sub-cultures. Brand who ‘get it’ and lean into these social-first behaviours are the ones who will win.

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