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Eurovision Song Contest Brand Strategy Marketing

Are sponsors making the most of the Malmö Eurovision?


By Jerry Daykin, Fractional CMO

May 9, 2024 | 16 min read

Eurovision correspondent Jerry Daykin assesses how sponsors are activating in the run-up to the big night on Saturday 11.

EasyJet's Eurovision song

How does Eurovision come around again so quickly? With the final this Saturday, I’m on the ground in Malmö, soaking up all the action and seeing how brands have chosen to activate their sponsorship this year. Earlier in the week, I gave some wider context on the 2024 event, which is worth reading as a primer if you aren’t up to speed.

First things first, who’s going to win?

Unusually the UK has some realistic hopes of not coming last, though a win might be a stretch even with Olly Alexander of Years and Years fame and some impressive staging. Having struggled to make it to the final, Ireland is also tipped to trouble the top of the leaderboard with a ‘witch’ inspired song that isn’t exactly radio-friendly but works as one hell of an on-stage production.

The smart money, however, sits on Croatia’s Baby Lasagna, who have more than a passing similarity to last year’s runner up Käärijä from Finland’s Cha Cha Cha. A religious number from Ukraine, a bonkers ode to Europe from the Netherlands, and a sophisticated pop song from Switzerland are just some of the other contenders in a very close year.

What the sponsors are doing at Eurovision

When it comes to advertisers, ‘Moroccanoil’ maintains its spot as the main Presenting Sponsor, benefiting from exposure on every piece of content the show produces, which in itself now equates to billions of views.

It is primarily a B2B hair brand working directly with salons, but this year has launched and advertised to consumers a special edition pack leveraging the Eurovision brand alongside a volume promotion. The focus of the sponsorship seems to remain its presence behind the scenes at the show itself - both offering hair and makeup services to the contestants and, even more crucially, with a monster hospitality program of their own, which is so large it runs separately from the other advertisers.

Diageo’s Baileys brand continues its multi-year partnership not only with the contest but also with Conchita Wurst. While the team downplayed a focus on bringing the sponsorship directly into products, it did this year launch a special edition ‘Eurovision Chocolate Microphone’ sold as part of a bundle on Ocado or directly from its own TheBar website.

This chocolate item and the various cocktail suggestions found in its content lean heavily on the brand’s established treating platform, pushing into occasions outside of normal drinking or shots. Building on Diageo’s wider corporate commitment to responsible media, the activation around the show itself is focussed specifically on accessibility - offering a range of audio description tracks on Spotify and their own Instagram for those wanting to better enjoy the show without being able to see it. The push is in line with their wider industry participation, alongside P&G and the WFA, to champion accessibility across advertising. Check it out here [must be logged into Instagram and over 18]. EasyJet swooped in to take a travel sponsorship that Booking seemingly discontinued this year. It has been relatively proactive in leveraging the event in its comms. Notably, it organized a special Eurovision flight on Monday out to Malmö (or at least across the bridge to Copenhagen, which is as close as it flies) packed with super fans. It looked like a lot of fun, though it wasn’t quite as well leveraged as Pride flights I’ve seen Virgin Atlantic put on before. Elsewhere, it engaged colleagues in social content, talking about the show and digging up former UK Eurovision contestant Scooch. While its song ‘Flying the Flag’ is already about flying, it was given a fresh 2024 makeover.

Royal Caribbean also entered the fray as a travel sponsor this year in what I believe is a multiple-year deal.

Although only announced a couple of months ago, it still made some effort to leverage the sponsorship this year by declaring a number of its cruises to be ‘Eurovision Cruises,’ which would show the contest on big screens and put on special entertainment. It seems a slight niche market that is so passionate about the show that they want to travel for it but that decides to go on a cruise ship rather than to the event itself, but time will tell.

There has long been an unofficial Eurovision cruise that runs later in the year, attracting many acts and performers, so perhaps there is something in it.

TikTok also returned as a sponsor this year, though it was missing marketing materials until just weeks before the show, promoting some speculation it might not. TikTok mainly leverages the partnership to ensure exclusive early access video content, such as from the rehearsals, is initially exclusive to their profiles.

The Eurovision Village itself, which last year in Liverpool was a giant extravaganza with huge brand pavilions, is a bit of a disappointment on all fronts. Some combination of budgets and security risks have massively downgraded the scale of the setup, and sponsors have perhaps widely chosen largely to sidestep it, with EasyJet as the only partner with a slight presence.

Similarly, while the contest itself, and the logos that go with it, was almost ubiquitous across Liverpool, it’s perfectly possible to walk a mile around parts of Malmö without any idea it’s going on. The Swedish hosts SVT have similarities with the BBC in ultimately being a non-commercial broadcaster which no doubt complicates things, though they do allow more active sponsorship of their own Melodifestivalen national selection.

That said, the role of sponsors will continue to be critical to the show’s success - in an interview ahead of this year’s show, its producer Martin Österdahl is quoted as saying: “Without commercial revenue, I think it will be tough for the Eurovision Song Contest to survive in the future.”

This year it cost host broadcaster SVT 130m SEK (£9.5m) to host the event, about half of the total cost which sponsors, tickets and other countries have to make up.

If you’re considering whether your company might want to be a sponsor in the future, then there’s a nice piece of research from UK publisher network Ozone that might help inform you - they see an almost two-fifths engagement boost this time every year across music and audio content, and a staggering 30x increase around world and international music. Certainly, Europe continues to pay attention.

Jerry Daykin is The Drum’s semi-official Eurovision reporter. Having led a number of regional and global client-side media teams, he is now an independent brand media consultant and fractional chief strategy officer at Adfidence.

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