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Shrewd brands should target those who aren’t a fan of football, Rory Sutherland suggests

Over a quarter of 16-24s (26 per cent) won’t be watching the World Cup, and 27 per cent of this group expect to spend more money on activities this summer to avoid watching the World Cup – presenting an opportunity for brands.

The research from Voxburner of 1,059 16-24 year olds in the UK found that those not watching the World Cup will be going shopping (67 per cent), going to the cinema (57 per cent), travelling abroad (45 per cent), visiting museums or places of interest in the UK (40 per cent) or going to a concert or gig (36 per cent) – with part of this being to avoid the World Cup frenzy.

Rory Sutherland, vice chairman at Ogilvy & Mather UK, said: “There is an assumption now that everybody is interested in football. Actually I would say a small majority of men and a larger majority of women aren’t interested at all.

“Despite specialist media channels, the amount of sport thrust down your throat hasn’t diminished – in fact it’s increased. I think there are some negatives for the brands that do get involved in this conversation. There’s something alienating about it.

“People think: you’re clearly not talking to me. You can quite understand why no-one wants to be left out, that’s a perfectly natural urge. But at some point a shrewd brand that appeals to people that don’t like sport could make a feature of this and turn it to their advantage.”

The research also found that 83 per cent of non-football fans will be trying to avoid pubs and other public places that will be showing sports.

Commenting on the results, Luke Mitchell, head of insight at Voxburner, added: “Those not interested in the World Cup have become ‘the forgotten consumers’. Brands are missing out on a significant group of people who will be actively looking to spend money on alternative things such as shopping and outings, in fact anything they can do to avoid football. There’s an opportunity for brands to show empathy and individuality by not following the herd.”

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