On Sunday, the 24th annual MTV European Music Awards returned to London after 20 years. This year, Eminem opened the show with his first live performance of Walk on Water. The unexpected winner of the night was Shawn Mendes who won 3 awards, Best Song, Best Artist and Biggest Fan whereas Taylor Swift walked away with no awards despite being the most nominated artist.

The night was filled with highlights including performances from Camila Cabello, Clean Bandit and Travis Scott. As fans took to social media during the ceremony, the biggest spikes in engagement were seen just after Stormzy’s and The Killer’s performances. Sentiment dipped slightly as Shawn Mendes won Best Song as many people felt that Despacito should have won. Overall the event generated a total of 3,384,506 engagements. But, it was the close of the show which replayed George Michael’s performance of Freedom ’90 from the first EMAs that gained the biggest social buzz.

Not only did Shawn Mendes take home the most awards this year, he also won on social media by receiving the highest sentiment score (97%) of the night. Other top performers on social media were Taylor Swift and U2 who generated 2,629,540 and 2,679,703 engagements respectively.

U2 was honoured with the Global Icon award. Surprisingly, U2 received a high sentiment score of 95% from the night amidst a week of negative press coverage from allegations of tax avoidance by lead singer, Bono. Their high sentiment score could have been due to Bono singing Stormzy’s Blinded By Your Grace Pt.2 as he collected the award.

Another surprise came in the form of Eminem winning Best Hip Hop. Even Eminem himself seem confused at receiving the award and in his speech commented on how he hadn’t released an album in years. However, social media users didn’t seem to mind as they backed the rapper with a positive sentiment score of 91%.

The 4C Insights Affinity Graph™ reveals how brands are connected to media, technology and notable people. For MTV EMA, its top musician was Liam Payne with a 904 social affinity index meaning people engaging with the MTV EMA are 8x more likely to engage with him and were pleased that he was a performer at the event. For brands, there is an opportunity to embrace these connections with stars for sponsorship opportunities or simply understanding their target audiences’ musical tastes. For example, Unibet has a strong affinity with Stormzy and Net-a-porter could find value in using Rita Ora in upcoming campaigns.

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