XTRA Debate: Dare to dream? The slogan nightmare

Most Eurofans have greeted the Tel Aviv slogan with a torrent of indifference, but it’s perfectly decent and harmless, no? Our team set to on the matter of Eurovision’s slogans, which have added a new dimension to the contest since 2002.

We asked our editors some questions about Eurovision slogans, and here are the results:

For the last question : % of Xtra editors who answered they liked the slogan

Tom Ryan

“Personally, I think Dare to Dream is a great slogan as Eurovision should be about dreaming to reach a final goal. It is maybe better suited to a Junior Eurovision contest, but I think it is perfectly fine and quite a nice slogan for Tel Aviv next year.”

Nick van Lith

“A slogan should say something about the upcoming contest and the host country. Serbia did that perfectly, as did Portugal. Israel have failed miserably with a slogan made up at the coffee machine five minutes before Jon Ola Sand came to discuss the final plans for next year’s Eurovision. It says absolutely nothing – everybody dreams, so what’s so special about daring to dream? I’d have liked some (read: a whole lot) more creativity.”

Not all slogans are created equally. Some just don’t have a fair chance in life, probably if they were born in a meeting. I remember an article from the 2010 organisers, showing the post-it note on which the Oslo slogan “Share the moment” was born. Not an auspicious start.

But how does ‘Dare to dream’ stack up against its predecessors? Our editors favoured 2018’s “All aboard”. It’s got a nod to Portuguese culture, a message of inclusiveness, and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of double-entendre at Eurovision? Belgrade’s “Confluence of sound” was relevant to the host city, whilst 2011’s “Feel your heartbeat” gave an artistic theme that was carried through the show.


2017 invited us to “Celebrate diversity”. By making it the slogan of the contest, fans, audiences and commentators alike naturally find ways to evaluate how diversity is presented in the contest. The obvious contradiction of having three white men host the contest, as remarked by Graham Norton, detracted from the message Ukraine and the EBU were trying to create.

However, if you go back just over a decade, Ukraine’s previous slogan, ‘Awakening’ seemed much more relevant insofar as consolidating a modern national identity of Ukraine on the world’s stage. Similarly, 2005 seemed to be a pretty diverse and strong year song wise. It seems to me, in the aftermath of Ruslana’s victory, participating countries became more ‘woke’ to the direction the Eurovision Song Contest in the twenty-first century was moving towards. Though abstract, ‘Awakening’ seems to me to be a more relevant and purposeful slogan than say ‘A Magical Rendezvous’.

Looking at the XTRA team polls, ‘#JoinUs’ has not aged very well. However, I think this slogan, like ‘Awakening’ was necessary and relevant for the contest to capitalise on audience participation. In the age of social media, creating a buzz for additional audience and traffic is an essential marketing technique. Though slightly basic, the simple phrase ‘join us’ engenders the expansion of the Eurovision bubble to join into the party and find different ways of participating. I wonder if the slogan for Copenhagen 2014 had any influence in increasing the audience by around 15 million people?

Dare to dream? It’s a simple message, and therefore perhaps better fitted to JESC, if we have to live with it at all. If you are looking for deeper meaning and connection to the host country, you won’t have to go far to find peoples, politics and ideologies for whom 2019’s slogan sits rather uncomfortably. Maybe they ought to have made it evidently about the music. Perhaps the best hope is that it is intended as a throwaway, harmless and positive statement. But you know what, at least it isn’t a hashtag.

Join Us
The 2014 slogan


Slogans are like many things : they are not bad per se. It all depends on the slogan and on the context. In Eurovision words, the context is the theme of the contest, and that’s why, to me, the Portuguese nailed it and the Israeli seems to be failing.

“All Aboard” was a perfect Eurovision slogan, and the team agrees with me on this. I can’t understand why, but at the time it was revealed, some fans strongly disliked it. Why would they? After all, it is the best we could find. It obviously ticks the classic box of inclusiveness and international dimension that comes with the contest (All Aboard, whoever, whatever you are!). But it especially ties in incredibly well with the whole theme of 2018 : the ocean, the sea, the ships. The Naval Portugal. As such, it worked as a component of a large and elaborate visual and conceptual identity, working together with the logo (the seashell, the lightness, which was quite disruptive when you compare it to the rest of the 2010’s), the stage (which was full of naval references, and not only with the bridges), the city, the introduction video, the 2018 music theme, etc.

Now, obviously, we barely know anything about the visual identity of the 2019 contest. But we do have a few details. The stage will reportedly have moving triangles inspired by the star of David. Nothing new here, it’s the classic case of a country showcasing its national identity after a long-awaited victory (unlike Sweden in 2016, for example). But then we also have the new sponsor, MyHeritage. Unlike most sponsors, this one has been labeled as a “presenting partner”, there has been much publicity about it, and they will reportedly work with the EBU to create content throughout the whole year, by discovering the “DNA history” of Eurovision winners, participants, etc. And then we have the slogan : “Dare to Dream”.

Eurovision 2019’s “Presenting Partner”

Not only is it terribly cliché in itself (there’s a reason it’s in the lyrics of “My Friend”, Croatia 2017), it’s certainly not “inclusive” (sorry Mr. Sand), and it’s too generic to work efficiently with the future theme of 2019. It’s especially true if the theme has anything to do with “MyHeritage”. I can perfectly picture a theme showcasing and promoting the diversity of Israel (after all, the Israeli people is a melting pot of origins, if not of culture), how international it is (hence the possible inclusion of Eleni Foureira as an interval act). But what would “Dare to Dream” has to do with it? I mean, obviously, you could dare to dream of a diverse, open, globalized and peaceful society, but that’s a bit generic and too idealistic. “A dream come true” would have worked better, for example. Or something else entirely.

However, generally, only Eurovision fans care about the slogans (or locals of the host city), so it’s not like it’s really VERY important. I think postcards and national commentators have a far stronger influence on viewers than the visual identity. And a weak visual identity can still lead to a great contest (2016 is the best example : “Come Together” isn’t liked much by our editors, and the logo was… bad, at best). But by principle, I like a coherent, consistent, intelligent and strong identity for a Eurovision contest.

What do you think? Are slogans important to the contest? Do you like the 2019 slogan? Which were your favourites? Tell us more in the comments below or on social media at @escxtra !

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