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Research shows Kiwis watch rugby for the conversation

Research shows Kiwis watch rugby for the conversation

Heineken® invents ‘talking water cooler’ to arm Kiwis with rugby chat

New Zealand, 20 September 2019: As the country prepares for Rugby World Cup 2019™, Heineken® has commissioned research looking into how and why Kiwis will be engaging with rugby during the tournament – and found that most New Zealanders (51%) will be following rugby because they want to be part of the conversation with those around them. The bonding opportunity provided by chatting about last night’s match proving particularly important for young men, with 64% of 18-34 year old men following rugby so that they can talk about it with mates, family and colleagues.

Interestingly, the research also found that despite New Zealanders watching a lot of rugby, most class themselves as having only a beginner’s knowledge of the sport and its rules. A majority 54% of people claimed they had a beginner’s knowledge (not knowing most of the rules or most of the current players), with 40% feeling competent and 6% believing they have a ‘masters knowledge’.

To help Kiwis be part of those rugby conversations, no matter what sort of fan they are, Heineken® has invented a ‘talking water cooler’ that each day will deliver three pieces of rugby news as people fill their cups with water. It will literally be delivering ‘water cooler conversation’ information, so even if people aren’t necessarily super-fans and haven’t watched every match, they will be armed with enough knowledge for conversations with their colleagues and friends.

The Heineken® Water Cooler will wirelessly download information each day, and will also deliver responsible drinking messages aimed at those planning on heading out to watch the next match.

In addition to the water cooler, every morning Heineken® will be delivering these fresh pieces of rugby news across digital billboards around the country and on many popular Kiwi websites - to help arm people with the information needed for chatting about rugby the day after.

Sean O’Donnell, DB Breweries Marketing Director, says the Heineken® Water Cooler concept is about helping people be part of Rugby World Cup 2019™ excitement.

“Stemming from the insight that Kiwis want to be part of the rugby conversation, but don’t necessarily watch every match or know all the rules - we’ve invented the Heineken® Water Cooler. The water cooler, alongside our digital billboards and ads, should give people enough knowledge to make sure they are in-the-loop for discussions about rugby over the next few weeks. The idea is to make people’s lives easier and facilitate those conversations, so that people who may not always follow rugby can participate in the water cooler chat during Rugby World Cup 2019™,” says O’Donnell.

The Heineken® NZ Rugby Survey 2019 also uncovered a number of other interesting truths around how and why we watch rugby (see full summary below):

- It’s official, we’ve got rugby fever. Even half of those who hardly ever or never watch rugby may watch or follow during Rugby World Cup 2019™ (51%)

- A whopping one in five Kiwis would consider pulling a sickie from work to watch Rugby World Cup 2019™ (nearly one in three men! 32%)

- We love watching and talking about it, but not many of us play. While 64% of men and 18% of women have played or still play rugby, only 3% nationwide claim to play rugby now.

For those hoping to fill up a glass and catch the latest rugby news, the Heineken® Water Cooler will be placed at a number of workplaces around Auckland during the tournament – and will also be placed at the Auckland International Airport (at the Heineken Flight Bar) between 20th-30th of September 2019.


TM © Rugby World Cup Limited 2015. All rights reserved

About the Heineken® NZ Rugby Survey 2019

The Heineken® NZ Rugby Survey 2019 was conducted by Big Picture Marketing Strategy and Research between 23rd August 2019 – 30 August 2019 and surveyed 1000 Kiwis over the age of 18 from around New Zealand.

Summary of results:

Who plays rugby?

- While 64% of men and 18% of women have played or still play rugby, only 3% nationwide claim to play rugby now.

How often do we watch rugby?

- One in five of us are fanatics (watch rugby every chance, go out of way to watch it)

- 80% of men watch at least occasionally, as do more than half of women (58%)

- 12% of Kiwis never watch rugby

How much do we know about rugby?

- 54% of people have a beginners knowledge of the sport (don’t know most of the rules or most of the current players)

- 40% feel competent

- 6% feel they have a masters knowledge of the sport (ask about any test try in the last 20 years and could tell you the details)

How many of us will be following Rugby World Cup 2019™?

- Two in three of us will definitely be watching Rugby World Cup 2019™ (68%)

- Even half of those who hardly ever or never watch rugby may watch or follow during Rugby World Cup 2019™ (51%)

Why are Kiwis going to watch Rugby World Cup 2019™?

- Most of us will be watching so that we can be part of the conversation with those around us (51%). This is particularly true for young men (64% of 18-34 year old men).

- Watching makes us feel patriotic, this is true across all demographics (47%).

- Women in particular like to watch as a way to spend time with friends and family (48% of all women)

How will we be watching Rugby World Cup 2019™?

- Most will be watching at home with friends and family

- 12% of Kiwis will be dressing for the occasion (wearing black, branded jersey, painting face).

Would we consider pulling a sickie or ditching friends to watch rugby during Rugby World Cup 2019™?

- One in five would consider pulling a sickie from work to watch Rugby World Cup 2019™ (and nearly one in three men! 32%)

- If you are a rugby fanatic, the likelihood of you considering a sickie rises to 57%

- Around two in five of us would ditch our friends to watch Rugby World Cup 2019™

Editorial information:

HEINEKEN is the world's most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a portfolio of more than 300 international, regional, local and speciality beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through "Brewing a Better World", sustainability is embedded in the business and delivers value for all stakeholders. HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ over 80,000 employees and operate breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam. Prices for the ordinary shares may be accessed on Bloomberg under the symbols HEIA NA and HEIO NA and on Reuters under HEIN.AS and HEIO.AS. HEINEKEN has two sponsored level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programmes: Heineken N.V. (OTCQX: HEINY) and Heineken Holding N.V. (OTCQX: HKHHY). Most recent information is available on HEINEKEN's website: and follow us on Twitter via @HEINEKENCorp.

About Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup 2019™ in Japan is the ninth edition of rugby's showcase global event and the first in Asia. The world's top 20 national teams will play in 48 matches hosted across 12 match venues for the right to lift the Webb Ellis Cup and be crowned world champions. Rugby World Cup™ is the sport's financial engine, generating approximately 90 per cent of World Rugby's revenues for reinvestment in the global game over the four-year cycle. The record-breaking success of England 2015 is enabling World Rugby to invest £245.8 million in the sport by 2020, eclipsing the previous 2013-16 £201 million investment injection by 22 per cent.

All the latest news can be found at and via @rugbyworldcup across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

TM © Rugby World Cup Limited 1986. All rights reserved

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