National Television Ukraine have today revealed the theme of the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Kyiv this year. SVT ensured that we would all ‘Come Together’ for the contest last May in Stockholm, unifying a continent for one thing we all have in common; a love for music. Rather than focusing on one common ground, NTU have this year made a point of our differences, to ‘Celebrate Diversity’.
The concept of individual host broadcasters adopting a theme and unique artwork each year was introduced in 2004 when the new generic brand was first used – marking a new contest. While a new common brand was key to maintaining the contest’s image, a rolling, constantly changing theme allowed the contest to evolve over time and for each host broadcaster to put their own mark on the event.
In 2004, Turkey opted for the theme title ‘Under the Same Sky’, and since then – unity has been at the heart of most adopted concepts.
This year’s theme, ‘Celebrate Diversity’, is visualised through the creation of a piece that is centric to the history and culture of the host nation, Ukraine. The identity is designed to mimic the shape of traditional jewellery known as ‘Namysto’ – recognised as a protective amulet and “symbol of beauty and health”.
It is not uncommon for a national broadcaster to showcase their national identity through the theme art of the contest. For them, it is a chance to show the world what they have to offer and boost tourism. In 2012, the Azerbaijani national broadcasters used the theme ‘Light Your Fire’, focusing in on the nation’s rich oil history and reference as being the ‘Land of Fire’. Previously Azerbaijan sent Dilara Kazimova to the contest with a song called ‘Start a Fire’, and frequently stage their entries using vast pyrotechnic displays and fire-based design. Azerbaijan, like many other countries, use the contest as an opportunity to create a more public profile for the nation during Europe’s most watched non-sporting television show. Equally, in 2005 Ukraine used the theme ‘Awakening’ to showcase their rising as a nation and marking themselves as an international player and a new force to be reckoned with.
In 2013, Swedish design agency Happy F&B designed the theme art behind the ‘We Are One’ strap. Happy F&B are an internationally renowned agency, responsible for the Thomas Cook rebrand and anniversary redesigns of SVT and the Liseberg theme part. Using the idea that the slightest of breezes or actions could in turn create a tornado – the much loved butterfly imagery was used to portray the significance of an artist’s performance at the contest.
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History of the Brand
Le Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne, as it was known for nine years, has not been shy of changing with the times. The Eurovision Song Contest is watched by over 200 million people worldwide each year and is known for being a leading force in experimental broadcasting.
Since 2004, when the first official generic logo of the Eurovision Song Contest was introduced, broadcasters have been invited to produce their own unique themes for the contest to accompany the new, constant, Eurovision identity – and reflect on their nation and time hosting the contest.
Turkish broadcasters TRT first showcase the new generic identity and latched on the theme ‘Under the Same Sky’; a message of unity and acceptance of diversity. When hosted in Istanbul, the nation city went mad for the then almost fifty year old event being hosted in the country for the first time. The streets were lined with flags showcasing the new logo, banners covered building sides, and the city came to life with this whole new way of hosting the event. Though it may seem as if this is all a great way to promote the contest to the people of the city, it was more about promoting the city to the contest and has remained so ever since. The theme art for the year depicted a modern Turkey – one of great architecture, acceptance, and a love for music – of course, also in red and white to really engrave the country’s national colours into your mind and spark a subliminal connection between the enjoyable time when the country hosted the contest and the Turkish flag.
After Ruslana won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, the event moved north to Ukraine for the first time. ‘Awakening’ was the theme, showcasing their rising nation and marking themselves as an international player and a new force to be reckoned with. Using traditional symbols within the theme art, Ukraine played off national culture and history as they embraced the music of a continent.
In 2006 the contest shifted to Athens for the fiftieth edition. The opening minute of the show explained the logo and theme without the use of text or speech – depicting the Phaistos Disc. Once again, the host nation opted to theme the international event around their history and culture, rather than the contest itself. Jumping forward to 2009, however, this began to change.
Russia hosted the contest in 2009 for the very first time. Since 2002, it was the first time that the contest went without a slogan and the theme art was not particularly relevant to the country. Instead of using the Eurovision brand to sell their country, Russia used the stage and the arena. At the time it was the most expensive stage the show had ever seen – breaking tradition, but setting a new precedent for future editions. Over 30% of the world’s existing LED screens were used to produce the stage, a stage that was not only incredibly high tech in terms of screens – but a responsive stage. The LED portions that floated above the heads of performing artists could be programmed to move – allowing each performance to be held on a new stage design. Over 25,000 people were in the Olimpiysky Arena – Russia were showing the way in terms of broadcast quality and grandeur.
As the contest was held in Norway and Germany, the national advertising aspect of the event began to fade. ‘Share the Moment’ and ‘Feel Your Heart Beat’ were the themes, each rather generic, each promoting the event over the country. It looked like a new era, until Azerbaijan won the contest.
In 2012, the Azerbaijani national broadcasters used the theme ‘Light Your Fire’, focusing in on the nation’s rich oil history and reference as being the ‘Land of Fire’. Previously Azerbaijan sent Dilara Kazimova to the contest with a song called ‘Start a Fire’, and frequently stage their entries using vast pyrotechnic displays and fire-based design. In Baku, a new arena was erected specifically for the contest and the city was reinvented ready for a wave of international tourists to venture to Europe’s most distant corner. For the first time, Azerbaijan was in the spotlight – an entire continent of potential visitors were about to see the capital city of Baku – and the Azerbaijani national broadcasters wanted a piece of it.
In 2013, Swedish design agency Happy F&B designed the theme art behind the ‘We Are One’ strap. Happy F&B are an internationally renowned agency, responsible for the Thomas Cook rebrand and anniversary redesigns of SVT and the Liseberg theme part. Using the idea that the slightest of breezes or actions could in turn create a tornado – the much loved butterfly imagery was used to portray the significance of an artist’s performance at the contest. Christer Björkman and SVT decided to host the contest in the small city of Malmö, using a smaller arena and keeping costs low. In 2016, when the contest returned to Sweden, a significant profit for was made for the nation as costs were once again kept to a minimum.