Everyone's a champion in new fan videos created for three of Queen's classic songs.
The legendary British band teamed up with Universal Music Group, YouTube and Hollywood Records for "You Are the Champions," a project that encouraged fans to send in video clips that were then edited together to create the ultimate fan-made videos for "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Don't Stop Me Now" and "A Kind of Magic." The project generated over 10,000 submissions from more than 120 countries.
Creative agency Mustache (part of Cognizant Interactive) and Mass Appeal helped develop the campaign.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" is the group's signature song from 1975 and one of the best-selling tracks of all time. Below, fans channel their inner Freddie Mercury, singing and playing their hearts out to create a fitting tribute. If they occasionally veer off-key, well, it's the passion that counts.
"You Are the Champions" was originally conceived to celebrate "Bohemian Rhapsody" becoming the first pre-1990s music video to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. (Filmed in the '70s, it was uploaded to YouTube in 2008.)
"It's one of the most rewarding things that can happen to an artist of any kind. To see that our work has inspired folk all around the world to create their own performances and visual art is a thrill," Queen guitarist Brian May said in a statement. "And the diversity of their vision is astonishing."
The contest gave fans a different creative challenge for each track. For "Bohemian Rhapsody," they were asked to submit personal performance footage, which was edited into a fresh take on the anthemic song. Given Queen's own penchant for operatic orchestrations and choral arrangements, the layered effect seems particularly apt. (And the diversity of the participants would make a certain mustachioed lead singer smile.)
For "Don't Stop Me Now," choreographer Polly Bennett, who coached Rami Malek for the Bohemian Rhapsody bio-pic, devised a dance for fans to learn. Quite a few dressed like Freddie, and it's a testament to his enduring style that the look remains instantly recognizable 28 years after he passed away.
Finally, fans interpreted "A Kind of Magic" using paint, sand, animation, flowers and all manner of visual cues, crafting a kinetic celebration of all things Queen:
Of course, fan activations are nothing new. Recent examples include the Recording Academy's Grammy video featuring Ella Mai that evolved in scope and intensity as more folks watched, and Brawl Stars' frenetic ad that fans helped animate.
And yet "You Are the Champions" feels especially epic and inclusive, a cut above most experiences in this vein. It demonstrates the transcendent power of music—and all cherished art forms, for that matter—to defy time and mortality, uniting devotees across vastly divergent geographies, social strata and belief systems on a voyage of discovery that never really dies.