Vuvuzela – annoying for the world, yet a branding instrument for South Africa?

Branding, Creativity, Marketing, Media, PR

With or without intention, South Africans put their own mark on 2010 World Cup. It doesn’t matter this year’s competition branding had a lot of effort behind, including in what concerns logos, symbols, strategy etc. All of those were overcome by a horn. Well not any horn, but Vuvuzela, some instrument that drove crazy soccer fans all around the world with its noise.


This instrument forced the broadcasters to look for technology to make the noise vanish from their transmissions and was also a source of inspiration for new applications, projected to work on mobile phones and online. Vuvuzelas also sparked a whole commercial trend, this African horn being available to sell online on different sites and for different prices.

Vuvuzela was royally touched also, as Prince William was asked by some African kid, while he was there, to blow the horn. He didn’t really manage a big performance but one can say vuvuzelas received a benevolent grin of acceptance from Royalty.

In what concerns the broadcaster, some of them already started to use filtering technologies to make bearable the sound of vuvuzelas. TVs do that after receiving numerous complaints from the audience and even their own commentators. According to international press, BBC received 554 complaints from viewers related to the African horn. Also, most of the international press, online and offline, already spoke about vuvuzelas.

One thing is for sure: anyone in the world knows about vuvuzelas, loving or hating them, and knows they are associated to the World Cup. In the same time, not too many people really know the visual concept of 2010 World Cup, maybe because it didn’t manage to have an extraordinary impact on the public.

This victory of vuvuzelas over the branding for 2010 World Cup shows again that social and human habits can make the difference and attract far more attention than coordinated efforts made on criteria set behind the walls, without considering the human factor.

According to CNN, vuvuzelas “infected” also the wired world, with over 30 vuvuzela-themed smartphone apps for Android platform and a dozen or more for iPhone and iPad, the apps having the potential to turn the phones into vuvuzelas. Also, on Twitter there is an account called the_vuvuzela that mimics the horn in its text posts.

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