Entries tagged with “vuvuzela”.

Bertus Basson at SR Interior doilies Whale CottageI received a personal invitation from Chef Bertus Basson to join him for lunch at his new Bertus Basson at Spice Route restaurant, which opened on the Paarl wine farm 6 weeks ago. He and his charming wife Mareli managed to re-invent the restaurant within five days from taking over the space, modernising it to reflect their promise of ‘A Modern South African Restaurant’, both in terms of its decor and its food offeringBertus Basson at SR Bertus Whale Cottage.

A lot has changed at Spice Route, my last visit having been when Charles Back had taken over the wine estate, previously called Seidelberg, next door to his Fairview.  I didn’t have time to see all the artisan businesses which have opened at Spice Route since Back took over, but they include a Richard Bosman charcuterie outlet, with tastings at R30 (a bit cheeky I thought), a wine tasting centre, and Cape Brewing Co, about which I (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Andrew Bird, Marks & Spencer Head of Trading, which includes wines, non-food, and ambient grocery, is moving to Woolworths for a two year contract as Trading Head next month.  He helped drive Marks & Spencer to be named best retailer at the International Wine Challenge in four out of the past six years.  Bird is said to become head of the ‘wine and soft drinks teams‘ at Woolworths locally.

*   The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) was part of a consortium that completed Terminal 3 at São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport, on time and on budget, for the 2014 soccer World Cup, reports The New Age. The project is described as one of the World Cup successes, the new terminal processing all international flights to the city. The capacity to handle an additional 12 million passengers to the 30 million handled annually has been created.   ACSA is also part of a consortium that (more…)

The movie ‘Safe House’, starring Denzil Washington and Ryan Reynolds, which was released internationally yesterday, does Cape Town proud, with most of the scenes in the two-hour film shot in the city over a five month period last year.  Reynolds has expressed his love for the city in interviews, an excellent ambassador for Cape Town.

The Weekend Argus reports that Rio de Janeiro was the preferred location for the movie, the script calling for a ‘safe house’ to be as far away as possible from the USA.  Cape Town was chosen above Rio de Janeiro because it ‘had more infrastructure than Rio’, said Reynolds in an interview.

During their time in the city, Reynolds and Washington climbed Lion’s Head, visited the Garden Route, lived in the One&Only Cape Town, and were spotted in numerous local restaurants. Reynolds was blown away by the beauty of Cape Town, and his favourite memory of the city was eating at Mzoli’s.  The trailer and the movie open with a beautiful shot of Lion’s Head in the foreground, across Table Bay, and onto the Paarl mountains covered in southeaster clouds, to audience applause!  Local actress Lynita Crofford stars very briefly in the movie.

The Cape Argus has reported that Reynolds said that Cape Town ‘is my favourite city I’ve shot in’, a fantastic accolade.  He shared that he did not have much time to see the tourist side of the city, but when his family came to visit, it ‘forced me to go see everything as quickly as I could.  I’ve obviously seen all the local sites’. He added that he prefers Cape Town to Johannesburg, where he filmed as well, ‘just because I’m big on the ocean and the hiking and the mountains’.

The movie is dominated by lots of action, a CIA espionage ‘skop-skiet-en-donder’ movie, with more indoor shots than outdoors, thereby limiting the opportunity to show off the beauty of Cape Town. But brand ‘Cape Town’ was pertinently mentioned five times.  An incredible unbelievable car chase was filmed on the Western Boulevard (to the consternation of Capetonians last year, when this road was regularly closed for filming) and at the bottom end of Adderley Street, near the station.  An unidentifiable restaurant (possibly at Lagoon Beach) briefly reflects the fantastic backdrop of Table Mountain to Table Bay; some action takes place at the beautiful-looking Cape Town Stadium, with a night-time soccer match replicated and lots of noisy vuvuzela blowing – at this point Reynolds speaks very acceptable Afrikaans when talking to the local police;  some action takes place on De Waal Drive, an opportunity to show more of the view over Table Bay; a lot of exterior action takes place near the provincial building on Wale Street, another road that was closed on many days for filming; Langa is the location for more action; The ‘Standard Hotel’ in Parow is featured; a ‘safe house’, being a farmhouse on a dusty farm road near Malmesbury, shows off the beauty of the Swartland; wine is drunk, and something about Pinotage is mumbled by Washington as the movie closes, but is not understandable. The building in which a lot of filming was done on Kloof Street, near the Mount Nelson Hotel, is not recognisable in the movie.

Capetonians would be disappointed to see the movie, as there is not much recognisable about Cape Town. As a movie, there is a lot of shooting and some vuvuzela blowing, very noisy due to the surround-sound. For the ladies, Reynolds only looks gorgeous in the close to the movie.  It’s not a movie one would necessarily recommend others to see, and I went to see it yesterday purely to see how the film reflects Cape Town. The movie filming will have been a welcome boost to the city’s financial coffers, benefiting the accommodation, restaurant, and film industries directly.

POSTSCRIPT 14/2: The Cape Times reported yesterday that the movie ‘Chronicle’, which was shot in Cape Town in its entirety and made to resemble Seattle, will be released this week.  The filming of ‘Chronicle’ and ‘Safe House’ jointly is estimated to have generated ‘R350 million in spend to local hotels, restaurants, shops, catering services and transport’, and added to this is the spend on production companies and the Cape Town Film Studios.  Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events and Marketing Grant Pascoe said ‘both films showcase the city not only as a premier film location, but as a destination of choice for potential visitors’, thereby indicating that he hasn’t seen either of these two movies!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

The World Cup was an unprecedented success, in terms of its organisation and the tremendous goodwill it caused amongst locals as well as international soccer fans.  In addition, and having a longer lasting effect, is that the above-the-line media as well as social media impact of the World Cup set new records for this event, not just for South Africa, but for the soccer body FIFA too.


*   3,2 million soccer fans attended the 32 matches around the country, and about one third of the tickets were bought by about 350000 international visitors – the word-of-mouth feedback to their friends and family is the most credible marketing South Africa could wish for, and is free-of-charge!

*   Highest TV coverage ever was achieved, and reached an unprecedented 700 million viewers for the Final alone 

*   The online coverage was the most dramatic, because much of it was a new way of communicating to soccer fans and about the World Cup, reports the Weekend Argus:

     +   BBC News online ran 120 stories, and the Washington Post 48 stories during the World Cup, both being influential online newspaper services

      +   The FIFA.com website had 150 million unique visitors during the World Cup, three times as many as in 2006. 

       +   South Africa’s unique identity, personality and character was woven into the soccer reporting by the international online media, and so the country’s ability to manage the tournament, and our unique vuvuzela and makarapa became world terms on blog posts, Twitter, comments to blog posts and online articles, and on Facebook.

       +   The value of the online coverage was just short of R30 million, based on 148 million persons communicating about South Africa in the context of the World Cup online, calculated by BrandsEye, a local online agency.   This value was created by soccer fans and the media for free, and did not cost South African Tourism a cent in coverage!

       +   Just more than half of the mentions (58%) about the country came from the USA, a surprisingly small 10% from the UK, and only 8% from South Africa.

       +   The mentions were analysed in terms of degree of positivity, and 55% were “strongly positive”, 40% were factual or neutral in terms of content, and 5% were negative.

       +   Twitter played an important role in spreading the word about South Africa, not only via celebrity (e.g. Paris Hilton has more than 2 million followers) and soccer star Tweets, but also Twitter accounts with huge numbers of followers (e.g. Sports Illustrated, with close to 285000 followers).

In June traffic to the Whale Cottage website almost trebled to 129000 unique visitors, due to the World Cup, but also due to the engagement of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock, as the blog contains a post about the couple attending a New Year’s party in Fresnaye 18 months ago. 

It has also been reported that the great World Cup coverage for South Africa has raised the bar for the marketing of Brazil.  The 2014 World Cup host country has started its marketing already, by launching an international marketing campaign four years ahead of its tournament, a first in the history of the FIFA World Cup, says Dr Niklaus Eberl, an internal branding consultant for the German and South African World Cups (no doubt for Brazil to come too!).

In Business Day Dr Eberl was reported as saying the the Brazilian tourism agency Ambratur has launched an ambitious marketing strategy, which plans to double the number of tourists to Brazil (to 10 million per year, the same target as that of South Africa) and treble the value of tourism in the next ten years.  The “Brazil is calling you” campaign aims to reach 400 million consumers in 100 countries, with a budget of $30 million this year alone.   Brazil’s President Lula da Silva said: “The success of our African brothers represents a tremendous challenge to the Brazilian people.  We are learning from them to ensure that we will present a World Cup as beautiful as 2010”.   The Brazilian marketing budget is said to make that of South Africa look like “small change”!   Brazil is planning to spend five times the R30 billion of South Africa on its infrastructure.  The country also wants to equal or better South Africa’s 90 % score from FIFA for its handling of the World Cup.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Dr Nikolaus Eberl is a German brand marketing consultant, author of “Brand Ovation: How Germany won the World Cup of Nation Branding”, and guided the “internal branding” for the 2010 World Cup.   He has written an inspiring article, describing how one can get over the World Cup blues, and keep the wonderful memory of the 2010 World Cup alive.  I publish it below as he wrote it:

“Based on my personal experience ever since the 2006 World Cup, here are the top 10 tips on how to beat the 2010 blues:

  1. Make the 2010 anthem Waka Waka your new ringtone – this way, you will feel Ayoba! every time your phone rings
  2. Keep flying the flag, both on the car and in the office – it will brighten your day and make for sweet memories.
  3. Keep wearing the shirt, especially on Football Fridays – and the next time when Bafana enters the pitch is only a few weeks away;
  4. Replay the highlights of 2010 – savour the best moments of the world cup, the opening goal by Tshabalala against Mexico, the wonder kick by Van Bronkhorst against Uruguay and the goal rush by the German machine against Maradonna and Messi;
  5. Keep the habit of “public viewing” – and keep in mind that 2011 is a big sporting year: the Cricket World Cup kicks off on 19 February 2011, the Rugby World Cup will be held in New Zealand 9 September – 23 October, and the FIFA Womens’ World Cup will be held in June/July next year;
  6. Kick the ball – wherever you are, join your local soccer team, be it at the office, the church or even the shebeen, and start playing the beautiful game. There is little more exhilarating than the adrenaline rush when scoring the winning goal!
  7. Blow the vuvuzela and don the makarapa: already the vuvuzela and makarapa have become the most popular gift items for the visiting fans and can be heard and seen all over the world. Keep expressing your love for the game!
  8. Support your local team: now is the time to buy a season ticket for your local team and follow them around the country in the quest for football glory – this way you will revisit all the stadia and enjoy the true fan experience of being in the grandstand rather than sitting home alone;
  9. Get ready for Banyana Banyana: chances are good that the South African women’s team could win this year’s African Women’s Championship to be held in South Africa in October 2010 and thus qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 in Germany. Get behind Mzansi’s best women!
  10. Join the Bafana Bafana Fan Club at www.bafanafanclub.com and save up for Brazil 2014!

And, whatever you do, remember the 2010 slogan “Ke nako!” – now is the time to carry forward the new found spirit of ayobaness and show each other that Madiba was right when he called South Africa “a Nation of Champions”!

Source: www.Bizcommunity.com

The advertising agency Draftfcb is campaigning for a month long extension to the World Cup “gees”, to maintain the national pride that has resulted from the World Cup.  It is requesting brands of South Africa, as well as South Africans, to “Fly the Flag”, and to make the end of the World Cup a new beginning.

*’Gees’ is the Afrikaans word for ‘spirit’ or ‘vibe’.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

The best compliment that FIFA could pay South Africa is the declaration by Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary-General, two weeks ago that “South Africa will always be a Plan B for any World Cup”, reports AFP, and an amazing compliment to the Local Organising Committee (LOC), as well as to South Africans across the board, in organising the best “party” in the world and showing the “gees” of our nation to our visitors and to our fellow countrymen.

FIFA praised the country for what it believes will have been a “perfect” World Cup.  “If on July 11, we are on the same level as we are today (3 weeks ago), I would say it’s a perfect World Cup”, he said.  Initial transport problems led to empty seats at the Opening Match in Johannesburg on 11 June, but these problems were quickly ironed out.

The World Cup has made South Africa and the continent of Africa “sexy”.  At the TIME and CNN Global Forum, which was held in Cape Town two weeks ago, and was attended by a large number of the world’s global business leaders, South Africa’s smooth hosting of the World Cup had changed perceptions about the country and the continent, speakers said, reports The Sunday IndependentTIME editor Michael Elliot said that the country is riding an “extraordinary wave of energy and optimism”, and stated that South Africa is “on the verge of tremendous opportunity”.

So how has South Africa benefited from the World Cup?    The benefits have been financial and emotional:

1.   A legacy of infrastructure – I disliked the word “legacy” initially, when I heard politicians justify the billions of Rands to be spent, but now that legacy is concrete, with ten new or upgraded stadiums around the country, fantastic roadworks leading into Host Cities, and around the stadiums, airports of an international standard (almost all, given the embarrassing fiasco at King Shaka airport in Durban), a Gautrain in Johannesburg and a modernised train station in Cape Town, new modern buses, upgraded city pavements, city greening and new city artwork to beautify the Fan Walks.

2.  The “gees” Ke Nako that was the theme of the World Cup grew throughout the World Cup into an unheard of spirit of national pride, surpassing that of the Rugby World Cup in 1995. The nation-building power of sport, first through the rugby match between the Stormers and the Blue Bulls in the Orlando Stadium, and the powerful bonding of South Africans in supporting the Bafana Bafana team, as well as them demonstrating the pride in their country via mirror socks, flags on the cars, and flags on their homes and businesses, has been one of the most wonderful benefits of the World Cup, and is likely to last well beyond the end of the World Cup. For the first time the country became proud citizens of their continent too, in supporting “BaGhana BaGhana”, when they were the final African team to play in the tournament.   Many South Africans doubted their nation’s ability to host an event of this magnitude across nine different locations around the large country, but she has done her country proud.  Locals are already calling for a regular way of displaying unity, by putting up flags, wearing the Bafana Bafana colours, or those of our country’s flag. 

3.  The improvement in South Africa’s image world-wide is the best legacy of all, and perhaps we needed to hear bluntly at the start of the World Cup how dimly we were viewed by the world.   Whilst we hated her broadcasts, Emma Hurd of SkyNews was the wet blanket that reminded us day in and day out about how dreadful life can be for many of our citizens, but even then the TV station changed its tune, its broadcasts became more and more positive, and Ms Hurd’s focus moved more to the soccer and less on the social imbalances.   Maybe it was a blessing that England fell out of the tournament so early on, which led to less interest in the World Cup reporting by the station.   Reporter after reporter has written about how they feared coming to the country, having heard about its reputation of crime, AIDS, poverty, and even apartheid, but all wrote about how pleasantly surprised they were about the spirited and united nation they saw, and about the first class facilities they encountered.   Not only South Africa but Africa benefited in image, as written above already.   Africa has been the step-child of the world, and it was the “social responsibility ” of the world, and FIFA in particular, that saw South Africa awarded the rights to hosting the 2010 World Cup – a tremendous leap in faith for the body at the time, but a dividend that has paid off richly for FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his team, not just in terms of their revenue earned, but also in their image for having the faith and in sticking behind South Africa, denying that they ever had a Plan B and a Plan C.

4.   The control over crime was a surprise even for South Africans.  The cancellation of the contract between the FIFA Local Organising Committee and Stallion Security at the Cape Town and Durban stadiums was no security loss at all, and the police did an outstanding job in handling the security of the stadiums, as well as of the Host Cities in general, with high police visibility, and a marked reduction in crime in general.  Western Cape Premier Helen Zille told the Cape Town Press Club that a BBC interviewer had expressed his surprise to her about not seeing the “expected crime wave”, reports the Weekend Argus.  Never before had such visible policing been seen, not only in and around the stadiums, but generally in city streets and in shopping malls.  One wondered where they had been hidden all these years, and hopes they will remain.  South Africa was not prepared to compromise safety, its biggest vulnerability, and I experienced what I first thought was a crazy safety procedure to have my car security-checked at the Green Point Traffic Department, with a car search, a sniffer dog search,  a search underneath the car, and a personal security check, then a blue light escort into the stadium.   Special World Cup law courts also acted immediately on World Cup-related crimes, and meted out harsh fines and penalties for theft and other crimes, and the incident of the British fan entering the England team changing room, and the subsequent admission of guilt payment by the Sunday Mirror reporter related to this matter, attracted varying reaction to the harshness of the fines. 

5.   Whilst South Africa was shunned as a “rip-off” country for its cost of flights, accommodation, transport  and World Cup packages prior to the World Cup, due to the 30 % commission add-on by FIFA hospitality and ticketing agency MATCH to already high prices of flights, accommodation and transport, the prices of all of these aspects of the World Cup quickly dropped when MATCH cancelled the bulk of its booked rooms, and SAA cancelled the seats MATCH had booked.   It was unheard of that accommodation rates dropped during a world event, but pricing is about supply and demand, and the lower than expected demand necessitated the decrease in rates, which did increase last-minute bookings to some extent.  It was gratifying to see soccer fans book their own accommodation, preferring to book more reasonably priced guest houses.  It is hoped that the world will forget its initial image of our country in this regard.

6.   The biggest surprise for locals was the power and fun of the Fan Walk in Cape Town.  It appeared that this may have been the only city in South Africa to have one.  Despite one’s scepticism of the concept initially, given Cape Town’s winter weather, not even rain could deter ticket holders and even towards the end, on a sunny afternoon, Capetonians without tickets from walking the Walk.    The flags put up everywhere became a trademark, and made Cape Town look festive, and one hopes they will stay, and give a nostalgic memory of the biggest party Cape Town has ever experienced.

7.   South Africa has new tourism icons, the very beautifully designed stadiums becoming tourism assets in their own rights.   The Soccer City, Durban, Cape Town and Nelspruit stadiums in particular are beautifully designed.  Cape Town had a Big Six it marketed – now it has the Big Seven, the Cape Town Stadium added, which became the backdrop to most broadcasts from the city.

8.   If it has not been said above, the interpersonal tolerance between South Africans seems to have improved, and small courtesies towards other pedestrians, motorists and shoppers are manifestations of the wonderful spirit of “South Africanism”.

9.   “White” South Africans have caught the soccer spirit, and the majority never were interested in this sport.   One never thought that locals would rush off in such large numbers to buy their match tickets online, and to queue for tickets at FIFA outlets in Host Cities, even camping outside the doors the night before.  More than 3 million tickets were sold, and about two-thirds went to South Africans.  We all became enraptured with the game, and all learnt new terminology about soccer (although most of us still do not know if it is ‘soccer’ or ‘football’ that we have been watching!).  We got to know the names of new soccer heroes – Diego Forlan, Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, and many more, for their performance on the pitches.

10.  School children but also adults learnt about geography in terms of the participating nations, so that Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the South American countries of Uruguay and Paraguay could be placed.  Nestle ran a “Children of the World” promotion, with information about different participating countries on their Smarties boxes.   Hopefully South Africa featured on the atlas of children and residents of the world community whilst they watched the many matches in the past month, and saw their countries’ TV stations present documentaries about our country.   We got to know the flags of participating nations. 

11.  Musically, life will never be the same, the vuvuzela being synonymous with the 2010 World Cup, and will no doubt be the “spirit maker” at future sporting events around the world.   Loved and hated, the “toot toot” during broadcasts and live matches were part of this sporting event.  FIFA President Blatter refused to have it banned, when called upon to do so by the world media and by players, who said that they could not hear their coaches and the referees.  The world’s largest vuvuzela was erected on Cape Town’s unfinished highway for World Cup sponsor Hyundai.   Two songs will go down in World Cup history – “Waka Waka” by Shakira, much scorned when it first received airplay on radio, but now synonymous with the event, South Africa, and even Africa – as well as K’Naan’s “Waving Flags”.

12.   It is the future tourism legacy that will hopefully benefit the country, in that it will attract tourists to our country in future.  Due to the improvement in South Africa’s image and the wonderful documentaries about South Africa (for example German TV station ZDF dedicated hours of coverage of South Africa, using our ex-Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss, speaking her best possible German – she is engaged to a German), one can hope for an influx of tourists for years to come, but one must be realistic about the depressed economy internationally, and even locally, said our Governor of the Reserve Bank Gill Marcus last week.

13.  If there is one name we will never forget in the context of the World Cup, it is the by now well-known Paul the Octopus from Oberhausen in Germany, who correctly predicted 5 wins and 2 losses for Germany, as well as the win for Spain against the Netherlands in the Final. He even has a Twitter page @PPsychicOctopus, which surpassed 500 Followers in just four days.

14.   The media coverage for South Africa has been phenominal, many countries sending media representatives not only reporting about the soccer but also doing documentaries about the cities in which they were based.  The BBC had a special Studio built on top of the Somerset Hospital, giving it a fantastic view of a beautiful Table Mountain on the one side, and of the beautiful Cape Town Stadium on the other side.   An hour after the Final last night, ZDF was still broadcasting about South Africa and the World Cup, recapping the highlights of the sport event and of the country.  Even normally cynical Oliver Kahn, who was a co-presenter, praised the organisation, hospitality, friendliness and lack of hooliganism of our host country.  ZDF probably was the TV station that gave our country the most, and most positive, TV coverage.   The Final is expected to have been seen by 700 million TV viewers around the world last night.

15.   The power of the endorsement in terms of VIP attendance at the matches is unmeasurable, and those celebrities that are on Twitter, Paris Hilton and Shakira for example, who expressed their delight, spread the word even further.  Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel, Queen Sofia of Spain, her son Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia, Holland’s Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock, German President Christian Wulff, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Luia da Silva, Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman, Mick Jagger, Kimora Lee Simons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Andrea Bocelli, Franz Beckenbauer, injured ex-German captain Michael Ballack, Bill Clinton, David Beckham, will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas, Naomi Campbell, Princes William and Harry, London Mayor Boris Johnson and many more attended the matches over the past month.

16.  Despite the winter timing of the tournament, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth’s weather generally played ball.  Cape Town had three rain days during matches, and challenged the perception of Johannesburgers that it rains all the time.  

17.   The smooth logistical running of the World Cup has opened up the country to bid for other events, and the 2020 Olympics is the next event the country has been invited to bid for.   IOC President Jacques Rogge has been in the country for more than a week, and has been warmly recommended the country by his friend FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

18.  Social media marketing received a tremendous boost during the World Cup, and peaked on 11 June, the start of the World Cup.   Only one event challenged interest in the early part of the event, being the engagement of South African Charlene Wittstock to Prince Albert of Monaco.  As soon as the USA and England teams were eliminated, web traffic fell dramatically, partly though due to the problems with the SEACOM cable for those websites that are hosted overseas by their servers.   Yet action on Twitter never let off, and whenever a goal was scored, Twitter crashed. Twitter users followed soccer stars they had not previously heard of, and even Sepp Blatter opened a Twitter page (@SeppBlatter). 

19.   The initial high airline ticket prices encouraged many locals as well as tourists to drive between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and also to other parts of the country, to save on costs, thus supporting tourism in smaller towns and cities that were not Host Cities.  One hopes that this will lead to a rediscovery of the Garden Route, an area that has suffered badly as far as tourism goes in the past three years.

20.   One can be grateful from a business perspective that the World Cup did take place in winter, a normally quiet period, therefore not influencing productivity, or lack of, badly on match days, and on Bafana Bafana match days specifically, which saw shops and businesses close early.   This is compared to many companies that close for their Christmas/New Year break, when Cape Town is at its busiest.

21.   The surprise benefits of coming to the country for the international soccer fans was the beauty of the country, and in Cape Town the fans were surprised about what special beauty the city offers – the mountains, the sea, the wildlife at Cape Point, and the winelands.

22.   Soccer fans that arrived without tickets and locals enjoyed the “gees” at the Host Cities’ Fan Parks, many offering top notch musical entertainment every day, and broadcasting all matches.  In early days the Fan Park on the Grand Parade had to be closed, due to over-capacity.  Other fans went pub-hopping, Long Street being popular for this, with numerous bars and restaurants with televisions.  The V&A Waterfront was another popular destination, and every restaurant agreed to install TV sets for the duration of the World Cup.   Paulaner Brauhaus and other hospitality marquees set up at the Clocktower side of the V&A did extremely well, and I personally queued at the Paulaner Brauhaus for as long as 2 hours for the semi-final between Germany and Spain.   The law of supply and demand forced greedy hospitality marquee owners to radically reduce their entrance fees, where these were charged, from over R 100 per person, to about R 20.

23.  FIFA must be congratulated on their determination in making this an excellent World Cup, and were based in Johannesburg for a number of years, to guide the management of the event.  It gave us great confidence that the event would be a success, even though so many locals were sceptical.  FIFA executives were also ruthless in their deadlines for the completion of the stadiums, and the infrastructure, which was excellent in making everything come together, even if it felt that some work was very much last minute.   FIFA insisted on the police presence and the instant law courts, and they have dramatically reduced crime in the past four weeks.

The World Cup has not been super-perfect, and had some blemishes:

1.  I have written copiously about MATCH, FIFA’s hospitality and ticketing agency, and its ruthless attempt at exploitation of the accommodation industry, which unfortunately backfired badly for the agency, for the accommodation industry and for the image of the country as far as affordability, or lack of, goes.

2.   Many empty seats were visible, especially in the early matches, and were attributed to transport problems in Johannesburg at the first match, and to sponsors not allocating all their tickets.

3.   The inability and thereafter late landing of four aircraft at King Shaka airport in Durban on the day that Germany played Spain was the biggest logistical blunder of the tournament, and left many German fans angry about the costs they had incurred to see the match.   ACSA is offering a reported compensation of R400 per head!

4.    Restaurant business dropped dramatically, and fine dining establishments that refused to succumb to TV sets lost business badly, especially on match days in their cities.  Theatre and general entertainment also suffered, and the popular Jonny Cooper Orchestra closed down a show in Camps Bay two weeks ahead of schedule.   Retail outlets did not gain from the World Cup, and the opposite probably is true.   Sales of the Cape Times and Cape Argus have been said by its management to have been the worst ever in the past four weeks.

5.   The negative media reporting focused on only one theme – the great divide that still remains in South Africa, between haves and have-nots, and the irony of the monies spent on the stadiums relative to the lack of proper housing for all of its population will have to be addressed.   One hopes that the future impact on tourism, and resultant employment, will address this problem.  But it will also mean a new attitude by employees to value their jobs and terms of employment.

6.   The early exit of England in particular was damaging to tourism, as multitudes of fans were standing by to fly to South Africa to support their team.  The England fans were the best for accommodation business, but their bookings were linked to their team’s playing schedule.

7.  The biggest loser of the World Cup probably is FIFA itself, in terms of its image, Sepp Blatter having been booed at the Final and also on another occasion.    FIFA also came under fire about its card-happy referees, the British referee Howard Webb setting the record for the highest number of cards, with 14 yellow cards and one red card during the wild Final match.  The lack of technology to check on the admissibility of goals was also severely criticised.

8.  FIFA’s technology also failed when demand for tickets became so great, that its system crashed on numerous occasions, a dent to its image of perfection and organisation.

9.   The more than 25 000 volunteers that were appointed by FIFA and its LOC, were poorly utilised in terms of their skills and day-job capabilities and were extremely poorly managed.   They were “employed” outside of the South African labour legislation, and had to sign for this in their contracts.   They had tax deducted from their meal allowances when these were paid into their bank accounts.  In Cape Town they were served disgustingly bad food for three days, and were not compensated for it in terms of their meal allowances.   They did not all receive the designated volunteer clothing, even though it was ordered about 6 months ago when the volunteers were appointed.  Volunteers attended three days of training in April plus a morning in May, and were not compensated.   Huge dissatisfaction existed about the forced McDonald’s diet of R 60 per day, which the LOC would not alter at all, the most unhealthy food they could have been fed.  The Green Point branch next to the stadium made a fortune out of this arrangement, yet their service and food quality was shocking – the Volunteer Co-ordinator had to call the branch regularly with complaints.   Volunteers were forced to drink Coke, when many preferred water, Bonaqua being a Coca Cola brand too.   Quotas were set for the amount of water and Coke that each volunteer had to receive.   The Volunteer Farewell Function last week started two hours late, was badly organised, and lunch was served at 15h30, 1600 volunteers having to queue – many left at this stage.  More than a month after starting to work as volunteers, they have not yet been paid, despite a promise that they would be (now they are due to be paid at the end of July!).   Sadly, international volunteers left the country with an image of the poorest organisation of a World Cup relative to their experience of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, a shame given that one third of the volunteers were from other countries around the world, and they will take this message back home with them.  I kept hearing them say that this must be “an African way” of doing things, a perception I tried to correct whenever I heard it.

10.   The FIFA sponsors Budweiser, McDonald’s and Coca Cola were not all positively received.  Budweiser was only served inside the stadiums, and comments via Twitter were only negative about the beer. McDonald’s became a swearword amongst the volunteers, and even the police and media working close to the Stadium must have disliked receiving the poor quality and service for more than a month.   Coca Cola became the butt of jokes about Paris Hilton getting the brand wrong when she was wrongfully arrested for smoking marijuana.   The food sold by concessionaires inside the Stadium was poor.

10.  FIFA also lost face when it fanatically reacted to ambush marketing, and the Kulula.com airline provoked FIFA in its newspaper ads.  Bavaria beer is the best known brand in South Africa, due to FIFA’s reaction to the Dutch brewery’s ambush marketing inside the stadium in Durban.

11.  Corruption in terms of Government departments and municipalities buying huge allocations of tickets has been hinted at, and no doubt further such claims will be written about in the media.

11.  Whilst the occupancy of accommodation establishments in Host Cities close to Stadiums was reasonable in the past 30 days (Whale Cottage Camps Bay at 71 %), the areas in smaller towns barely picked up any benefit in this period.   Sadly, business in May was at its worst ever, and what income was made in June, was offset by the “vacuum-effect” of the World Cup in May.     

12.  Last, but not least, is the anti-climax of the month-long party having come to an end.  The lives of many changed in the past month, with different habits, glued to television sets, children on holiday for 5 weeks, daily beer drinking habits having been developed, and the mundane side of life was set aside for the period.  Reality strikes today!  

POSTSCRIPT 18/7: FIFA gave South Africa a score of 9/10 for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup, reports The Times, up from the 7,5 rating for the hosting of the Confederations Cup last year.   FIFA President Blatter likened the score to a cum laude at university level.  “The greatest memory is the willingness and commitment of South Africans to show the world their ability to host this World Cup with discipline and honour” Blatter said.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

If Social Media Marketing performance is anything to go by, the World Cup is an outstanding success.

Twitter has shown record usage since the start of the World Cup on 11 June, often crashing due to overload when a World Cup match is underway, fans of a particular team egging on their players to do better, or to praise them for a good performance.  Twitter has a “fail-whale” sign when it is over-capacity.

If the Whale Cottage Portfolio WhaleTales blog is anything to go by, then the blogosphere has reached record heights.  With steadily climbing unique readership of about 30 000 per month, the current unique readership for the first 21 days in June is already at 84025, meaning that the total for June could be close to 120 000, an unprecedented performance.   The unique readership peaked on the opening day of the World Cup on 11 June, at a record 8182.   Of the stories that have been written on our blog to date, the following posts have been the most widely read this month, proving that the World Cup dominates interest over any other topic, such as restaurant reviews:

               1.  Cape Town Restaurant Winter Blues specials

               2.  Table Mountain only SA new 7wonders nominee

               3.   World Cup 2010 FIFA flop

               4.   FIFA Ticket Collection Sweet and Good Food & Wine Show Sour Awards

               5.   Restaurant Reviewer receives harsh reviews about review

               6.   Cape Town parties through the World Cup

               7.   World Cup match attendance: staying on the FIFA ball

               8.   Cape Town blows the largest vuvuzela

               9.   Cape Town drowning in hotel beds

              10.  World Cup puts SA into focus, some bad, most good 

Tags (blog-speak for keywords) too are of interest, and reflect the world’s focus on the World Cup, and the following were most used tags, connecting Google and other search engine users to the Whale Cottage Portfolio website:

               1.   USA Today

               2.   Minister of Tourism

               3.   World Cup 2010

               4.   Confederations Cup

               5.   Fan parks

               6.   Grant Thornton (the tourism consultancy that did forecasts of World Cup attendance)

              7.    Ivanka Trump (who spent her honeymoon in the Cape earlier this year)   

              8.   Vuvuzela

              9.   2010

              10.  Prince William (attended the England versus Algeria game)

Ten days ago the Whale Cottage Portfolio Whale Tales Blog was registered with www.amatomu.com for  the first time, a Top SA Blogsites site measuring web traffic.   The growth in traffic has moved the Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog to the top 20 list, being in 16th position of all blogs in South Africa today.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

FIFA has announced that South Africa’s favourite soccer noisemaker, the plastic vuvuzela “trumpet”, will not be banned for the 2010 World Cup, despite heavy criticism of the noise it makes from journalists and players currently attending the Confederations Cup games in South Africa.

Blatter has agreed that it is a noisy instrument, but said:  “But that is what African and South African football is all about – noise, excitement, dancing, shouting and enjoyment.   When we go to South Africa, we go to Africa.   It is noisy.   It is something else than in the rest of the world.”

Spanish star Xabi Alonso said:”That trumpet?  It is not nice.   I think Fifa should ban it.  It’s not really distracting, but it’s not a nice sound to hear”, reports The Times.   Alonso was reacting to the vuvuzelas used at Bloemfontein stadium, where its usage is said to have been “restrained” compared to at other stadia at which the Confederations Cup games are being played.  

Brazilian Robinho complained about the noise, saying that he could not hear the instructions from his coach when they played the United States.

A soccer fan was quoted by USA Today in saying that the vuvuzela is “a part of my life”.  Another said: “This is our voice.  We sing through it”!  

Spanish Santi Cazorla said:”It’s true that they make a lot of noise, but we’ll just have to get used to them”.