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McCann Pulse study finds football fans behaviour radically affected by World Cup

Celebrations full of colour, business at a standstill, sales of the most varied products soaring. These and more are just some of the effects the ongoing Fifa World Cup has among crazed fans across the world, according to McCann Pulse, the consumer insight network of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, that has been observing the viewing rituals of World Cup fans during the past two weeks.

The aim of the study is to uncover the impact that the sometimes odd fan behavior has on media, local businesses and the daily lives of consumers around the world. The study covered 24 countries.



The following are some of the McCann Pulse observations of World Cup viewing rituals:



1. Closed for Business: For fans in traditional soccer markets, the World Cup brings normal daily routines to a screeching halt, causing schools and businesses to open late so employees and customers can watch the early morning soccer matches. In Brazil, for example, banks, government offices and most private companies start operating after 12 noon on days when the Brazilian team plays a match



2. Sales Boom for Pajamas and Cigarettes: Despite the potential drain on worker productivity, McCann Pulse is finding that the World Cup is not all bad for businesses. In Turkey, for example, some consumers are complaining that because the stress of watching the World Cup is making fans smoke more, it is nearly impossible to find cigarettes in grocery stores on the day of Turkish World Cup matches. And in Brazil, where games air in the early morning hours, local consumers cite buying more breakfast food than usual, and sales of pajamas appear to be up.



3 Cooking Tips and Beauty Pageants : McCann Pulse is finding that the impact of World Cup fever reaches far beyond the traditional soccer fan base. In an effort to widen and hold the World Cup television audience, a variety show in Hong Kong that airs between matches offers unconventional features, such as cooking tips, in addition to the usual pre-game and post-game analysis. And in Thailand, a TV programme aired a beauty contest during the World Cup related to the local tournament festivities.



4. E-Mail Commentary: When not in front of a television set, World Cup fans have been relying on electronic communications to keep track of and discuss the match results. In South Korea, many teenagers watching a match in person are keeping up to date on the status of other games by using real time text service on their mobile phones. In America where many fans lacked the crowds of viewing companions found in other markets, viewers are using post-game e-mail messages and e-group commentaries to virtually share opinion about the most recent tournament developments with other physically remote fans.



5. 'Colourful' Celebrations: For fans in victorious countries, public celebrations are animated and colourful. In Korea, fans literally painted the town red when their team advanced to the second round of play. Turkish fans are decorating their apartments with red and white light bulbs in honour of the Turkish team colours. In Thailand, a mock World Cup is being held among prison inmates.



In India however, where cricket takes pride of place the situation is quite different. Such outpourings are restricted to what can well be termed a niche audience. Football is yet to find a grounding in the country despite fellow Asian South Korea managing to reach the semi finals. Unlike Brazil where the masses are fanatical about the sport in India the game is followed by a niche Indian society.



This explains why marketeers have concentrated football-related promotions in select regions of the country. Its main followers are in West Bengal, Goa and Kerala. Indians however are more aware of the international football scenario rather than their domestic league. A major stumbling block marketers face is that not one football player commands celebrity status and worship anywhere remotely close to Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar.

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