Friday, 21 September 2007

Kenya’s use of Sports Celebrities

Stanchart’s relationship building advert featuring blind runner Henry Wanyoike as he races through the Group’s marathons ( Nairobi, Bangkok ,India and Singapore); Tergat’s feature in the Yana tyres (Sameer Co.) advert OR big portrait hanging over Nairobi’s sky-line endorsing Nakumatt’s supermarkets chain; Conjestina’s fearsome look over the Muranga Road drivers showing why one should consume Tuzo milk (by SpinKnit Limited) along with a few which I can’t recall stand out as Kenya’s corporates use of Kenyan sport personalities.
It’s a plus in many ways. I would add that it takes some of the media used to communicate this to another level. A more powerful message and reinforcement is enjoyed by corporates that get the right personality and are able to deliver the goods as they say. (Who doesn’t remember the Kilometric and Kipchoge advert?)
The stakes are quite high right now. I had the chance to preview a sports campaign done by sports goods manufacturers Adidas 2007 campaign and the set is phenomenal! The message so simple and direct, “impossible is nothing”. They also used a couple of accomplished athletes in their own right, upto and including; David Beckham-football, Yelena Isinbayeva-pole vaulter, Gilbert Arenas and an array of NBA stars. The main thrust of this is to let the consumers know that they can do even the ‘impossible’ from their personal challenges. Focusing on the overcoming factor and identifying with a well-known person only serves to reinforce whatever else you identify or have in common with them.
It is not rare to find sports personalities to endorse products that have go nothing to do with sports, an instance being Tergat’s portrait on the Nakumatt banners, Tim Duncan’s MasterCard, Carl Lewis and Pirelli, Pele and Pepsi Cola, I can go on and on.
This is the challenge that I throw to the Kenya corporates. While you may want to reach a wide audience with your advertisements and other forms of promotions, it is necessary that you communicate with that same targeted audience. I’ll not name the firms but a majority have NEVER REALLY done this. They just throw away good money to promotional firms. Let’s pose the challenge to them to cut some flak to our local celebrities and get it right at that.
Back to the main highlight, the Kenyan sports scene has quite a number to pick from. Start from that!

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