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World Cup vuvuzelas, anathema to ear drums, now to decorate ears

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Courtesy of the Leftfield advertising firm

(Read caption) Megan Bernstein, a marketing executive in Cape Town, South Africa, won a $1,500 contest to find an alternate use for the vuvuzelas left over from this summer's World Cup. She displays the earrings she designed from the long plastic horns in this photo.

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You couldn't get it out of your ear at this summer's World Cup in South Africa: the drone of the vuvuzuela, loud and piercing like a stampeding herd of elephants. It became both a cultural symbol and an irritable nag to many foreign attendants.

Now you'll be seeing the plastic horn on South African ears.

A competition was launched in July, challenging people to design an alternative use for the glut of vuvuzelas left over from the World Cup in June. After four months and more than 150 entries, the judges decided on Nov. 9 the best design was a pair of hoop earrings made from the hollow inner section of the horn.

“There’s a certain symmetry in this," says Shaun McCormack of the Cape Town-based advertising firm Leftfield, one of the competition organizers. "An instrument which has been accused of assaulting people’s ears will now end up decorating them. There’s an irony there somewhere.”

The vuvuzela dominated this summer’s World Cup, with television audiences around the world complaining about the constant drone which muffled stadium atmospheres.

Cape Town marketing executive Megan Bernstein drew up plans showing the size of earrings depended on where the strip of plastic was cut. The middle, thinner section of the horn would make a XXS set and the larger trumpet end would make a XXXL pair.

“It was the simplicity of Megan’s design and the low cost of manufacture," says Mr. McCormack.

"We had a lot of entries which were technically good but you’d need some level of expertise to make it," he adds. "For example we had a design for a light, but you’d need to buy the globe, wiring, and bulbs to make it work and be an electrician. Megan’s entry was simple in comparison.”

Ms. Bernstein beat off a range of other ideas, which included turning the horn into a shovel, water irrigation system, cocktail shaker, xylophone, lights and umbrella. She wins $1,500 in prize money and will receive help manufacturing and selling the earrings.


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