Tigo’s adverts are ‘cheeky’ and classic

Marketing can be said to be the means used by companies to fight battles to capture clients. However, experts say that within marketing there are two ways of going about it. While one is the conventional way, the other is more sinister, yet more effective but street wise or call it shrewd unconventional method, which is even more innovative.
Fred Nakweya  at work. Chief Executive Chef of Serena Kigali Hotel. The New Times/ File.
Fred Nakweya at work. Chief Executive Chef of Serena Kigali Hotel. The New Times/ File.

Marketing can be said to be the means used by companies to fight battles to capture clients. However, experts say that within marketing there are two ways of going about it.

While one is the conventional way, the other is more sinister, yet more effective but street wise or call it shrewd unconventional method, which is even more innovative. This is what is referred to as “guerrilla marketing.”

The difference is like night and day. The first can be said to be text book oriented while the second is street smart oriented. Jay Conrad Levinson, the godfather of “guerrilla marketing” describes this strange but interesting strategy as use of means and ways of achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy, with unconventional methods, such as investing in energy instead of money.

This seems to be the case of Tigo’s battle of capture Rwanda’s telecom market. Their adverts have always had this funky appeal that served to establish an instant connection especially with those within the bottom of Rwanda’s economic pyramid. This was right from day one and one shudders to wonder the brains behind the creativity.

Without wasting time, Tigo unleashed their ‘infamous’ Rwf 1 per sec sales promotion that was delivered as part of its entry mechanism. One can stand to be forgiven by saying that Jay Conrad Levinson himself seems to have had a heavy input in planning the Tigo entry mechanism.

For those who don’t know this other story, here it is. MTN Group is the official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup and by that, they (by FIFA rules and regulations) enjoy a certain status which they gained after paying large sums of money. Tigo also recently launched a campaign dubbed ‘Officials Sponsors of your Passion” of which MTN claims Tigo breached the FIFA regulations.

Tigo’s defence is that the passion the company is referring to in the advert is “football” and not the “World Cup” in South Africa. And here goes the questions: Who gives the right to sponsor football anyway? Isn’t football indeed everyone’s passion regardless of whether the world cup is taking place or not?

However, the intense scramble for subscribers among the telecoms in Rwanda can be said to be a two horse race between the giants MTN Rwanda and Tigo. For Tigo it is do or die. When one looks at both companies one thing seems more clear.

Tigo has managed, from time to time, to pull the rag from MTN’s feet. A perfect case in point is the raging battle by the two players while both are going about exploiting value the prevailing FIFA World Cup football craze. A textbook approach as MTN is doing with Rwandan football would yield certain effects to some extent.

However, the guerrilla approach by Tigo is delivering to the blue brand the punch. Tigo is not investing anything near what MTN is, in terms of financial value, but it seems to be getting more mileage out of their ragtag approach. By this I mean the use of your agility to floor your enemy who is blessed with abundant but rigid strength.

Otherwise how do we explain the latest Tigo adverts? To me it is the most creative piece of marketing ever to come out of Rwanda in 2010 going by the dictates of guerrilla marketing that I have talked about.

ojiwah@gmail.com

Editor’s Note:

Do you think Tigo Rwanda is cheating MTN Rwanda?  The editor welcomes opinions on this topic. To join the debate and have you article published please forward it to keziodk@yahoo.com or keziomusoke@gmail.com

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