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When Adweek launched its Challenger Brands franchise two years ago, “challenge” still went by its traditional definition—to engage in competition, to push limits, to disrupt the status quo. But coming off a year like 2020, the notion of a challenge has taken on an entirely new dimension. Not only is most every brand now challenged in multiple ways, but the upstarts have that much tougher a fight. The unique economic conditions of the pandemic have demonstrated that the mega brands seem to hold all the cards—scale, infrastructure, access to capital and simple brand recognition.