On the 18th, I was in a Matatu (14 seater taxi) headed to Waruku when I first heard of the Airtel MIFI 4g hotspot radio ad. Although it lacked oomph, rather than blocking it mentally, I actually took time to listen. I don’t know if its just me but I miss the ingenuity of ad’s we had growing up. It didn’t matter if it was a jingle, a narrative or an infomercial, these ad’s were catchy a few days into airing them, they stuck to you like a brain worm. I think a personal favorite was the Salesi & Morcaldo kencell ad “I am a chocolate biscuit twinkie twinkie” still gets the inner child in me excited.
***sorry I digress***
It’s a practical product despite someones network of preference and it can host tonnes of devices. Honestly speaking the only reason I got an Airtel line back in 2014 was because Bharti Airtel had this unliminet offer on bundles for as little as 20 shillings. I was in campus, I couldn’t afford to constantly top up over and over again only to spend it all on social media so it was perfect for me & we all know Safaricom bundles run out like they are being chased away. I figured the HOTSPOT was probably cheaper than the one they have at Safaricom shops and kept the idea of purchasing one in my “future maybe” box.
The infomercial re-run a couple of times then the communications marketer in me kicked in and it dawned on me, “AIRTEL AIRTEL AIRTEL…. It’s the holiday season your selling point is not unique.” Saying that it’s the perfect product to keep junior busy watching cartoons on a Saturday while baby girl can listen to her kiddie tunes sounds like someone “ctrl+c , ctrl+v” the DSTV Premium- 5 devices, 1 connection AD, the DSTV Compact Holiday AD and basically every other DSTV AD running this holiday season. We all know that a house full of children over the holidays can get catastrophic at some point in time if they are not kept busy and although TV and Internet is not the best solution, its quick, it’s easy and it works. I am that kind of mum.
The Bharti Airtel MIFI product and the angle that marketing direction the communications team opted to take translated as a product that is in direct competition with the Telkom + DSTV Compact Partnership, The Safaricom 4G Mobile WIFI + Safaricom Vuma Home WIFI not to mention the ever so exasperating ZUKU WIFI.
It’s an overused selling point that lacks originality, especially for DSTV subscribers who have to watch these ads every single day. It’s a factor I expected the marketing team to take into consideration seeing that the product has been in the market since 2015. Surely there must be an internal or outsourced talent evaluating client response and feedback.
Here should have been your plot twist this long December:
It is holiday season and there is always that one sheep in the family who hates going to the rural village to visit grandparents because they would rather stay home and watch telly or surf the internet all day during the holiday. The “I will get bored character” who already started mopping about because of FOMO.
Many of us like to still keep in touch with the current happenings and work-load every now and then get a little frustrated when we cannot access the interned or have to be limited to using our bundles sparingly lest we get the dreaded expired bundles notification.
Then lastly the social media has individuals constantly keeping in-touch with each other by sharing their day to day lives; live streams, selfies, snap streaks, twitter threads…the list goes on and on.
Assuming Airtel has thorough research on the public they target:
number of Kenyan based internet users / number of households who make the rural trip over Christmas = a unique selling point & an increase in sales over the holidays.
The affordable portable WIFI HOTSPOT is the perfect holiday accessory to keep you and your loved ones entertained, Your ability to control it is the perfect incentive to use on your mischievous ones and control how much tech time they have.
Oh well, I’ll give benefit of doubt and say maybe the fairly new CEO, Prasanta Das Sarma and team are yet to fully understand the little things that spark Kenyan trends and sales.
The solution is not door to door advertising giving away free SIM cards this holiday season. I’m hoping for a more aggressive marketing module come 2018 and a PR plan that actually connects more to Airtel Subscribers.