by: Alain Thys

If you’re not from here, the annual folklore of the Eurovision Song Contest must seem rather incomprehensible.  Still, what cannot be denied is that with a 100 million plus audience it’s a TV event many love to hate

And what’s interesting from an advertising perspective is that in spite of 50 years of blockbuster numbers, the show’s public broadcasting heritage (and legal restrictions in many markets) has systematically resisted commercial on-screen sponsors.  Until this year.

As Eurovision watchers know, it is tradition that between every song viewers are served an overdose of promotional clips touting the wonders of the hosting country in more ways than the eye can really bear.

Yet yesterday, during the semi-finals in Greece, something funny had found its way into the mix of beautiful people and emerald beaches.  Each promotional clip featured two-second images of a black silhouette dancing against a bright green or blue background, which looked remarkably like the iPod promotions.  Because of Eurovisions DRM system I haven't been able to copy it, yet if you look here, you get the picture.

Upon closer inspection, the white lines for the earplug were missing which offers both Apple and the Greek television people the opportunity for plausible deniability (hey, it’s just a silhouette of a guy and a woman dancing !), yet for me the co-incidence is just too big.   And in the case that it would really be outside of Apple’s doing, someone in Greece deserves a lifetime supply of iPods.

Either way, with at least 2 x 25 exposures it’s an stroke of ambush marketing genius, which in real money would have been impossible to buy.  Especially if you consider – for as far as I can tell - Apple is not even among the official sponsors. The fact that they have been (forced) to keep it so short also makes it non-intrusive and as music product in a music show also somehow relevant.  I'm curious to see if they're also able to pull it off for the finale on Saturday.

And for the record, now Belgium has been ousted from the race (obviously totally unfair) I’m rooting for Lithuania’s must watch entry below.  It's so bad, that it's good.  Have a nice weekend!



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