Monday, 31 January 2011



New Disney XD Aim High research reveals young boys’ role models

He may well be a 35-year old dad of three and in the twilight years of his footballing career, but when it comes to inspiring Britain’s young males, David Beckham is still premiership class. Seven years post his UK exit, new research from Disney XD’s Aim High confirms that one in five (18%) British boys still look up to the footballing legend as their number one, second only to their Dads (50%).

The nationwide study of over 1200 boys and their parents1, was conducted to mark the 2011 launch of Disney XD’s Aim High, which offers boys a once-in-a-lifetime mentorship with their heroes. The 2011 all-star line up includes international R&B sensation Jay Sean, a premiership footballer, Leicester Tigers and England rugby hero Toby Flood and cricketing hotshot Stuart Broad.

As the country and government gear up to support the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a message echoed by HM The Queen who highlighted the importance of sport as a medium to help build communities in her Christmas Day speech, findings reveal that sports stars reign supreme in the inspiration stakes. A massive 28% of young boys cited Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and Roger Federer amongst their top sporting heroes.

The findings are in stark contrast to those of parents who favoured musicians, actors and even royalty amongst their icons with Madonna and Princess Diana securing pole position with 14% each.

Cricketing ace and Disney XD Aim High mentor, Stuart Broad said: “It’s been a great start to the year for British sport, so it’s fantastic to see it’s such a strong and positive influence amongst today’s generation of boys. It’s important to have strong role models in life – given the right tools and guidance, there’s no limit to what young people can achieve.”

Proving sporting prowess isn’t the only profession wowing our youngsters, knowledge and entrepreneurism pull significant rank. Jeremy Clarkson clinched second place behind Beckham, followed closely by business moguls Lord Alan Sugar, Bills Gates and Simon Cowell. And, while they may admire celebrities, an overwhelming 50% of boys said there was no one quite like their Dad, demonstrating that core family values do still exist and are as important as ever before.

Louise Ellis, Sport Psychologist and Performance Consultant commented “It’s fantastic to see that Beckham is still inspiring a completely new and younger audience. It’s testament to Beckham’s sheer hard work and determination both on and off the pitch – as a sportsman, a businessman, a father and a global ambassador, he’s a winning inspiration for the new generation.

“The sports stars that their parents grew up with differ drastically from the global athletes and individual sporting brands that we know today. A healthy mind, body and spirit ethos has enveloped the UK and the modern belief is that physical improvement and centring the mind from an early age will enlighten individuals and develop all round well-being, ambition and future success.”

Further statistics revealed that almost six in ten boys today (59%) believe hard work is the key to success as opposed to just 19% who think talent alone will get you to the top. Encouragingly, only two per cent said good looks were enough to climb the ladder although seven per cent also cited luck as a factor.

Make sure you are part of this year’s Disney XD Aim High by visiting and find your dream mentorship.


For further information, please contact:

The Disney XD Aim High team at Frank PR on 0207 693 6999 or email

Notes to Editors:

1 The research was conducted amongst 601 male children aged 8-14 years old, as well as 601 parents of the same household between 30th November – 9th December 2010

Top Ten inspirations

Top Ten People 8-14-year-old boys look up to

1. David Beckham
2. Princess Diana
3. Kevin Keegan
4. Harrison Ford
5. John Travolta
6. Michael Jackson
7. Margaret Thatcher
8. George Michael
9. Tom Cruise
10. John McEnroe

Top Ten People their parents looked up to at the same age

1. Madonna
2. Jeremy Clarkson
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
4. Alan Sugar
5. Daniel Radcliffe
6. Bill Gates
7. Simon Cowell
8. Barack Obama
9. Justin Bieber
10. Roger Federer

Disney XD Aim High
Disney XD launched the Aim High initiative last year to help inspire a generation of kids to get the most out of life, try new things and learn from some of the UK’s most talented and dedicated professionals. 2011 will see fans given more opportunities to take part in a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience with one of Disney XD’s fantastic Aim High mentors including; England cricket hero Stuart Broad, international R&B star Jay Sean, a premiership footballer, promising Leicester Tigers and England fly half Toby Flood plus a whole host of other mini-mentorships led by some of the UK’s top professionals.

2011 Aim High mentors:

Stuart Broad

English cricketer Stuart Broad is one of England’s young rising stars representing his country in Test and One Day International cricket. A vital member of the victorious 2009 England Ashes squad Broad was the leading wicket taker with 18 wickets and subsequently won Man of the Match in the fifth Test at the Oval. Broad also plays for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.

Jay Sean

A multitalented singer, songwriter and producer, Jay Sean is an international popstar and multi-platinum UK artist having sold over 6m copies of his smash-hit ‘Down’. Growing up in London, Jay rose to stardom in 2004 and has since gone on to release two hit albums, scoring two top ten singles including a US No.1 hit and nominated twice for Britain's prestigious MOBO Awards.

Toby Flood

Toby Flood is a top English rugby union player who currently plays at fly half for Leicester Tigers whom he joined from Newcastle Falcons in 2008. With 35 caps for England and the Rugby World Cup approaching Toby is one of the country’s most promising players.

About Disney XD

Launched in the UK in August 2009, Disney XD is the country’s first boy-focused, girl-inclusive channel for kids aged 6-14 years. Disney XD includes a compelling mix of live-action and animated programming, hyper-targeting boys and their quest for discovery, accomplishment, sports, adventure, music and humour. Next X is a brand new local production for Disney XD. Disney XD branded content spans television, online and VOD platforms. The programming line-up includes series, movies and short-form content.

About The Walt Disney Company in Europe Middle East and Africa:

The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and its interactive media group.

TWDC has had a presence in Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for more than 70 years, with operations in twenty three countries with more than 5,500 employees. As a major film distributor in the region, TWDC has seen recent success with films such as Disney/Pixar’s ‘Up’ and the blockbuster 3D hit ‘Alice In Wonderland’. As one of Europe’s foremost suppliers of TV content, TWDC distributes Disney-branded and non-branded television programming and channels including ESPN channels and hit series such as ‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ which ranks in the top 10 US series on air in France, Germany, Italy and the UK with young adults. Disney Channel first launched in the region in 1995 and its growth has continued through 2009 when Disney Channel launched in an additional fifteen territories across EMEA, making it available in over 58 million homes. Together with Disney XD, the new boy-focused girl-inclusive channel which launched in thirteen territories across EMEA in 2009, there are 53 branded Disney channels in EMEA in 20 languages covering 109 countries and more than 70 million homes. Disneyland Paris has grown since its opening in 1992and its two parks are now Europe’s number one tourist destination.

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