HOSTING the first World Cup in the age of Twitter, South Africa has discovered unexpected benefits in its campaign to market the country in record-setting posts by celebrities and fans alike.
SA spent R760million on its marketing campaign, taking out TV commercials worldwide.
But glowing comments on Twitter and Facebook by legendary sportsmen, Hollywood stars and ordinary fans were having just as big an impact, said Miller Matola, chief of Brand SA, the government agency tasked with marketing the country abroad.
Celebrities who visited SA included Princes William and Harry, hip-hop artist K'Naan, rapper R Kelly and former supermodel Kimora Lee Simmons.
Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas posted pictures of himself and singer Alicia Keys celebrating SA's first goal: "20 years ago no one would have never thought the whole world would come to SA for world cup ... this is historic".
Kimora promised to come back . "I am very sad 2 b leaving the gorgeous SA. Thank u 2 all 4 ur luv and kindness! We'll b back very, very soon! .
Singer Akon declared his love for the country and the continent by posting mini-videos. "South Africa rocks, this is the place to be," the star said on Twitter.
"Thank you SA," said R Kelly on his departure. - Sapa-AFP