The Secret Marketer gears up for his Eurobrandvision

I am just about to head to Germany for a European brand management summit. Our colleagues in Munich decided they should play host this year since they also hosted the Eurovision Song Contest. Rumour has it we were due to go to Dublin, but they appear to have no budget for hospitality. In fact the situation there is so tight, they are refusing to even pay for a local representative to attend our best practice-sharing brand-management flip-chart fest. Nul points.

On the subject of brands, the Eurovision Song Contest should be in anybody’s top 40. What a powerhouse this one is. Watched by 125 million people in 55 countries, Eurovision manages to unite Europe in front of their television sets like no other event. It is an unlikely triumph for pan-European brand management because wherever we live we are prepared to watch exactly the same piece of creative running in one universal media slot, albeit with our own brand of subtitles and local voiceover light relief commentary.

All great brands are laden with associations, the Eurovision’s ranging from Abba and Bucks Fizz to Wogan and excruciating yet weirdly addictive hosting, voting and musical mayhem. Despite accusations of political voting, brand Eurovision is a tough old competitor that keeps us coming back for more.

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Azerbaijan, Eurovision 2011 winners

Azerbaijan was the victor this year with the Azeri duo Ell and Nikki singing a love song in English written by a Swedish composer. Who says pan-European creative collaborations won’t work? The UK briefly topped the scoreboard after three rounds of voting, but ended up settling for mid-table mediocrity. Still, the points tally of 100 was our most respectable for years and Blue will no doubt be grateful for a free-of-charge relaunch that now sees them in the top five downloads charts in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Sweden.

They are yet to make the top ten at home. Proof if you needed it that brands should always go to their customers, wherever they may be.

Ireland, despite its cash crisis, managed to send Jedward, presumably buoyed by the guarantee of not having to host the contest next year. The decision almost backfired as the terrible twins were awarded top marks three times early on, but their trademark quiffs drooped a little after that. Their mentor Louis Walsh isn’t complaining. He has the twins fully booked until next year. Ah well, must go, my own Eurobrandvision adventure awaits…

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