• Saturday, December 02, 2023
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Creativity vs. sales: A critical assessment of Saka ad


Success is a relative term or word to us all, depending on what we set out to achieve, but as relative as success is acknowledged, when we see something or someone that is successful, most often we tend to have a common understanding.

The creative world of advertising in the country recently got a semblance of fresh air with the acclaimed “I don port” commercial of MTN Nigeria, the network with the pay-off “welcome to a new world.” The commercial will probably serve as the most commended in recent advertising history of the country.

However, while we all enjoy the character adaptation as well as usage by MTN, I really want to ask the world to tell us the real creative work in the commercial.

Could it be the song, the dance steps or the change of colour from green to yellow? My summation is that the creativity in the entire commercial is in the use of the personality and not the wordings or scripting.

The use of a known face created the right attraction to the commercial, which is what an advert should do if we follow the principle of AIDA – Attraction, Interest, Desire and Action. If any other face is in that commercial, I dare say it would have been another regular commercial.

So, if we are going to be judging or evaluating the commercial on the AIDA principle, we will have to appreciate Bisi Daniel’s analysis published in ThisDay May 4, 2013, with title “who wrote that I don port copy,” and his commendation of the creativity of the copywriter. I’ll like to add the art director’s decision to use such a character or the entire party involved from the concept origination to execution, including the media planners and buyers for the planning and buying, was also above average.

Attraction can be substantiated from YouTube internet feed that have over 150,000 people viewing the commercial. Is attraction a reference to sales?

Well, what about interest? The commercial is interesting primarily because of the element of surprise of the use of the character associated with a competing brand (Etisalat), thus all viewers got curious in the character appearance for MTN rather than Etisalat, who seems to have enjoyed the personality with strong historical connect with the country’s TV viewing public.

Another interesting aspect is that the commercial seems to connect with people, but let us see what Phillips Consulting respondent says in its mobile number portability survey published in BusinessDay of May 8, 2013. According to Phillips Consulting, 63.7 percent of respondents want to remain with their current network, 36.3 percent want to move to a new network and 1 in 3 is unaware of the number portability.

It says of those who want to move to a different network, 52 percent would move to Etisalat, 25 percent to Airtel, 16 percent to Glo and 5 percent to MTN.

Can we say that as exciting as the commercial is, is it not interesting enough to command switch?

Phillips Consulting survey reveals that of those who chose to stay on with their providers, 70 percent are currently on the MTN network, 9 percent on Airtel, 7 percent on Etisalat, and 6 percent on Glo.

The survey also indicates that among those that want to change providers, 82 percent are currently on MTN, 8 percent on Glo, 5 percent on Etisalat, and 4 percent on Airtel.

These revelations against AIDA principle could act as parameters in measuring the efficacy of the “I don port” campaign, considering from basic advertising evaluation stand point that commercials are produced for a purpose that is ultimately sales, change in behaviour or action.

Therefore, desire and action as subject in the AIDA principle is not on the side of MTN as those that will port are more from MTN (82%). So, will the commercial make them change their minds or is it the service that will keep them?

Though the sample study might be considered small compared with the total number of subscriber base, it also did not say anything on the age bracket of the sampled population that could be an interesting subject under this topic among many other things to be reviewed in creativity versus sales. It is important that the subject of creativity and sales comes into focus of every campaign based on value.

Value is the ultimate reason consumers associate with a brand, and if there is anything the Etisalat brand has done for consumers in the country is that as the fourth player it had to be extremely innovative to get the attention of the consumer/subscribers through pricing, packaging and its service offering. The move of MTN to use Saka was a glorious announcement to the public that there is a challenger brand that has successfully eroded the subscriber base of the brand, and now that portability is the other of the day, MTN prays the public to come to them; but where are the footfalls in spite of the commercials on number portability?

The footfalls go into the network with the right level of service, which again is a perception related matter until we see the NCC information on changes as a result of number portability.

Saka, without doubt, is a creative success but creativity is not for the sake of creativity, creativity is for the purpose of sales or change, in this case and the most innovative brand will win the battle and for all watchers of the industry, the brand that has consistently displayed high degree of innovation and appeal to consumer, particularly certain target group (the youth segment) is Etisalat, and we can see that MTN has gladly decided to follow Etisalat by doing what Glo does.