|Clip from ad|
A group of 20-somethings randomly carrying out a choreographed dance routine in the middle of nowhere.
One of the dancers takes off his backward facing cap and sizes up the new entrants. A driver reaches out of his window and delivers 2 hot slaps to the outside of his door, which seems a bit unfair to the car all things considered.
Panoramic Neo-Matrix shot of both camps standing behind their self-appointed leaders.
One of the drivers, whom we will now refer to as Group B suddenly motions to a conveniently located DJ’s booth up in a scaffolding nearby. Someone from Group B has miraculously got himself up there and takes over from Group A’s DJ. So many Health & Safety violations here.
Shoulder shot of someone from Group B steadying himself with a rather weird expression on his face.
A green USB drive is plugged into the sound system.
DJ’s finger hits the ‘play’ button.
“Make calls at 10k/second” flashes up during a shot of someone doing a head spin. [#Ma cliq is cooler than yours]
Reverse somersault. DJ makes shushing gesture at Group A.
There are people somewhere, who sat down in a room and decided “You know what? I think we need to target the youth demographic. We need to appear ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ and use words like ‘cliq’ and then they will pour in.” Indeed, the facebook page of Etisalat, with no irony whatsoever proudly declares:
It even provides a visual aid to this display of sheer butt-clenching cringe:
This lack of self-awareness is a source of everlasting comedy for us, but should be a cause for concern for Etisalat. Obviously, they are not keeping their ears close enough to the ground, and we all know what happens to businesses which d
o not monitor or react effectively to developments. There is nothing wrong with targeting the youth demographic, in fact they should be doing just that in a country where the median age is 18. However, to do this requires real market research and contact with real 21st century Nigerian youths, not listening to marketing recommendations from middle aged men going through mid-life crises, still trying to rediscover their long-lost youth.
It smacks too much of trying to be “down wit da yoofs innit” and it is patronising in the extreme. Whoever thought that targeting the youth is done by stuffing everything remotely “urban” (modified Japanese “rice” cars, massive sound system, choreographed dance routine, sideways facing caps and graffiti) into one minute and 27 seconds was right, it does appeal to youths – 12 year-old youths! I pity the 38 year old man with a bald patch who was saddled with the responsibility of thinking up a way to appeal to those half his age.
However, the very simple solution would have been to conduct real market research and determine what Nigerian youths really want. First of all, we want QUALITY. Give us a genuinely superior product and you will not even need to advertise. We will use our word of mouth on your behalf more effectively than any multimillion Naira campaign could ever do. We also want PRICE ADVANTAGES because for the most part, we have not yet started earning money and as such are not very liquid. Do these things, instead of embarrassing yourselves by trying to seem cool by using terms like ‘9ja’ and ‘Cliq’. (Who the hell uses the word “clique” in normal everyday conversation?)
Finally, understand that everyone gets old. You cannot stay young, or in the know forever. At 23, I myself am aware than in a few years, I will be completely out of the loop with regards to what is ‘hot on the streets’. I’m already out of date with the latest slang and terminology. This is natural and everyone has to go through it. You cannot reverse this cycle. You just have to accept that youth is a magical time which lasts for all of 5 minutes and then you’re 40, with a nagging wife, 2 adolescent kids who talk back and a million broken dreams. That is life. Please stop trying to base your business model on being ‘hip’ or relevant on the streets. Fads will come and go. A quality product however, will stand the test of time. If you continue trying to Peter Pan your way out of this challenge, you will end up like Randy Marsh in the South Park episode, You’re Getting Old.
A WORD, ETISALAT, IS ENOUGH FOR THE WISE.
DARIO T. HREIDARSSON