UK web users more interested in vuvuzelas than Wayne Rooney

With England putting in a disappointing World Cup performance to date, more people in the UK are searching for information about vuvuzelas than they are about Wayne Rooney.


While few people had heard of the vuvuzela before the World Cup started, it has caught the imagination of the British public, firstly out of irritation and then with a sense of begrudging affection.

Research showed that there were five times as many web searches for the trumpet-like instrument in the week ending 19 June as there were for Wayne Rooney, England’s star striker and the most searched for player on the team. This period includes the day that England drew 0-0 against Slovenia, after which Rooney criticised fans for booing the team. He later apologised for his comments.

At the same time UK internet searches relating to the French football team increased by 150% last week as the team experienced problems with player revolt following the sending home of Nicolas Anelka.

The research, published by Experian Hitwise, showed that of the official World Cup sponsors, Budweiser was the most searched for brand. It is both the official beer of the World Cup and sponsor of the US team. Adidas, which has seen some of its glory taken by Nike’s World Cup marketing activity, was the fifth most searched for brand of all those involved in World Cup sponsorships.

Experian Hitwise said that sponsors of underdog teams seemed to be seeing an increase in the number of searches among UK web users. Kia, at number two on the list, sponsors the Slovakian team, while the third most search for brand, Westfield, sponsors the Australian team, which drew with Ghana in spite of being a man down.

Robin Goad, research director for Experian Hitwise, says, “Our analysis highlights that it’s as much about how a brand runs its sponsorship package as it is about who they are sponsoring. Simply aligning with a hopefully successful team isn’t enough.”

Bavaria’s ambush marketing campaign, which saw ITV commentator Robbie Earles sacked for selling his ticket allocation, made an impact. It became the fifth most visited beer website in the UK on 15 June – the day after its stunt during the Holland versus Denmark game.

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