Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Cell C & Trevor Noah a month down the line!
Cell C & Trevor Noah received a lot of bad publicity because of their recent ad-campaign. I know I am a month late with my 2cents worth, but I have been wanting to do a post about this, but I just did not get round to it. Also, I think it is a good time to reflect now. The ad campaign started with an anonymous user posting a clip of Trevor Noah on YouTube ranting about cellular service in South Africa. People started watching... Cell C then ‘discovered’ the clip and publicly responded to it. Soon after the ‘real’ ad-campaign begin. By this time everyone was listening. Now, many of the people who complained are extolled as being ‘Marketing Guru’s’. Quite a number of bloggers slammed the ad campaign as well. Some of the comments were that Cell C has damaged their own reputation with this. What I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea want to know, a month down the line after the initial hue and cry... Are those who initially condemned the manner in which Cell C & Trevor Noah used their respective positions to create a bogus situation, still of opinion that it was bad scheming? Can this stroke even be seen as unscrupulous? I think not. I think it was just the right mix of Viral Marketing combined with Astroturfing as well as focussed television, radio & print advertising. I think it is exceptional. The way in which social networking has redefined the way in which we communicate calls for new ways of marketing. It also lends itself wholly to methods such as Viral Marketing. Viral Marketing through social networks is just so much more effective than physical word-to-mouth. Everybody is doing it. Ola just did it with their new Magnum ad campaign. The advertisements are still to be launched, but they started the campaign with a video on YouTube, called Truck Jacking in Jozi. They only recently claimed responsibility for the video. Astroturfing is an entirely different matter altogether. AstroTurf is a brand of artificial lawn, the brand name widely applied to all different brands of fake grass. (After this winter I think I should replace my lawn with AstroTurf. I always have images of lurid green grass mats surrounding an open grave & grieving people in a dusty, dull brown cemetery). Sorry... I am digressing. In order to do the ‘we-are-addressing-the-concerns-of-the-people-at-grass-root-level’ routine politicians and their spin doctors develop ploys to make it look as if their agendas actually spring forth from the needs & wants of the constituents. This nifty trick has been adopted by marketing- and advertising agencies in order to lend authenticity to what they peddle. In the English speaking countries of the world we are all tend to admire the way upper-class Brits verbalize and articulate themselves. Not to talk about the accent. It is awe-inspiring & intimidating at the same time. Yet...you gotta appreciate the easy way in which the Americans go about with the English Language. Prime example above... calling the artificial engineering of messages into looking as if coming from grass-root level – Astroturfing! So after all the sneaky viral marketing with the Trevor Noah clip on YouTube and astroturfing of ‘responding’ to Trevor Noah in the media, Cell C finally launched stage 3 – a very visible media advertising campaign. Beautifully designed billboard posters, funny radio ads and sleek tv commercials. Just appreciate the colour scheme. Who would have thought shades of brown can look crisp, clear, corporate and yet friendly? I am sure that I fall in a number of the cellular networks in SA’s product markets. I have a cellphone device, which I get with my voice contract. Then the voice contract itself. Furthermore the wireless 3G data device and the data contract. I use all of these products for both business & private needs. Heaven knows what LSM they would put me in. From my perspective though, the current Cell C media adverts appeal to me as user of all of the above products. I am with Vodacom and like most cellular users in SA I am: · Fed up with the high cellphone bills. (I really try to watch my usage) · Fed up with the high internet connectivity cost. (As consultant I move around too much to use fixed line internet) · Fed up with poor reception, dropped calls etc. · Fed up with poor & slow internet connectivity. (oh, by the way, what happened to the bigg-ass high speed under-the-sea cable which would have dragged Africa into a (cheaper) internet age?) I have not yet moved to another cellular service provider because I am not convinced that MTN or Cell C can provide me with any better service than Vodacom does. Everyone I know have the same complaints, irrespective of their provider. Sooooo.... Inspired by the ad campaign, I decided to take up Trevor Noah and drop him a message. As I was typing the message on the Cell C site, telling him that if he can address my issues, I will move to Cell C, I lost internet connection. I did not bother to go back. Easily influenced as I am, I heard Vodacom’s ad on the radio, offering 1GIG Data for R289 per month, including a new Broadband modem. I went and got mine straight away, forgetting all about Cell C, till the next time Trevor Noah glowered at me from a billboard next to the highway. I even got a GIG data free (between 12:00am and 05:00am). Yay! Like I am going to use it. Nobody even watches PORN at that time of night! And what time I had to get the new modem working!! In the end I had to take it in to a Vodacom Customer Care Walk in Centre. Please remember the poken competition – see post below. Closing Date is the 30th of September 2010. You need to be situated in SA to apply.