Vote with your heart.
Everyone knows Swedes love the Eurovision Song Contest. So much so, they hold a 6-week long contest called Melodifestivalen to determine their entry to the festival. With as many as 4 million viewers - just under half the population of Sweden - it’s the nation’s most watched programme, generating passionate responses from fans and observers alike.
But in recent years, views have dropped and sentiment has floundered; with many viewers expressing a concern that the show wasn’t even filmed live.
So to help viewers feel a real-time connection with the show, the brief was to develop a digital solution which would connect the audience at home and make them feel like an integral part of the programme.
We created a second screen app that encouraged users to vote in the moment with all their heart. And we mean that literally as well as figuratively. Users voted for their favourite act by pressing the heart symbol whenever they felt inspired to throughout a performance. To differentiate from every other staged, reality-TV show out there, we introduced the ability to ‘heart’ multiple acts more than once, and see the feedback immediately on-screen. An on-screen intensity metre showed how many people were 'hearting' an act, showing how votes were being cast across Sweden. And the heart symbol itself is already in use in social networks (in place of the passive ‘like’) so it felt like a natural fit for a more meaningful method for giving feedback. By moving away from produced reality and towards real-time, genuine interaction with the show, our second-screen app boosted viewer engagement and enthusiasm for Melodifestivalen.
Our strategy was to bring at-home viewers closer to the party.
Our highest priority was to link the home audience to each other and to the arena. During the broadcast, we mirrored on-stage lighting cues within the app, and displayed app user reactions directly in the broadcast. Whatever you did on app was immediately reflected back on-screen.
As the tournament takes 6 weeks to play out, our second priority was to ensure users didn’t drop off or lose interest. Most Mello viewers readily comment and share their opinions freely already, so we created a space for those water-cooler conversations by facilitating post-broadcast discussions. You could share a prediction immediately after a show and see who in your social networks shared your opinion.
Our second screen app was designed to maintain user interaction before, during and after each Melodifestivalen show. Considered interaction design connected the audience at home with the emotions in the arena instantaneously.
Voting with the app was modeled on the idea that a good performance should be decided on impulse. Users were encouraged to ‘vote with your heart’, disrupting the typical voting behaviour based on a 5 min recap. Instead, users could cast votes per artist, whenever they felt inspired to do so.
Making predictions with the app maintained interest in the downtime between shows. By ranking the artists in order, you could compare your guesses with the actual results, giving the audience an easy way to compare their viewpoint.
Both voting and prediction functions connected you with friends. This knowledge encouraged users to offset friends votes, or even support an artist they may have been unsure about before.
People voted with their hearts! 2016 we collected 36 711 512 votes, in comparison to 3 273 285 year 2014, before the app. It's an increase of 1 021% in engagement. 974 656 people used the app.
The app became a national phenomenon ; with viewers taking to 'heart-voting' naturally.