Thursday, July 20, 2006

Coke in Africa - Part 2

The marketers over at Coke have decided that they have such a big and successful brand that they can forget about marketing it to 80% of the population. That's why they've focussed on the 14-22 age bracket with pretty much all their activity over the last few years. Anyone over 25 isn't getting a look in these days when Coke split up their marketing budget.

A lot of marketers start believing their brand means as much to consumers as it does to them. However, there's a big difference between spending 10 hours a day working on a brand, and walking past it in a supermarket next to 100 other products when you need to get home and feed the cat. Consumers don't give too much of a hoot about brands, in general. I wonder if the Coke marketers have fallen into the trap of believing their brand will always mean so much to people.

In the meantime, my fridge is full of Pepsi Light. It's cheaper and tastes better, and Pepsi's the underdog and it's a pretty cool brand, getting better all the time.

Interestingly, in Africa and Central America the Coke (and Pepsi) marketers have adopted the Nike strategy. Find the world's biggest sport, sign up a few football gods, and plaster the resultant ads everywhere you can.

When it comes to reaching as many as you can with a relevant, exciting message, these guys have done pretty good. Is it boring? Perhaps in advertising circles. Is it effective? Most likely. If Coke weren't doing it, they'd be left behind very quickly by Pepsi.

Flores, Guatemala

Dar es Saalam, Tanzania

Nairobi, Kenya

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Telstra vs Celtel

The Masai Mara, Kenya

Leaving Kisii we travelled about 90 minutes to the tanzanian border. I survived the cavity search and passed safely into the 9th and final country on my world tour - USA, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, England, Germany, Greece and Kenya.

With all the poverty evident everywhere we go, there is one glaring contradiction. The mobile phone companies - Celtel and Safari - are everywhere. No matter how run down a village is, there always seems to be a significant number of Celtel and Safari outlets. And most people seem to have a mobile phone, even if their house is made of sticks and mud and has no roof.

The companies hold up their end of the bargain as well. There's no problem getting a mobile phone reception in the middle of the Serengeti. Compare this to Australia, where Telstra find it difficult to maintain a connection from North Sydney to Lane Cove.

A South African guy we met at Paje told us that the mobile phone companies had forecast sales of 200,000 phone sales when they were introduced not too long ago. 20 million phones later and it's a foreasting issue I'm sure they're not complaining about.

We set up camp in the middle of the Serengeti and watched for lions as we ate.

Spot the Celtel Outlets.....

Celtel - crap buildings, great reception

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Coke in Africa - Part 1

Lake Victoria, Tanzania

Our campsite today is on the banks of Lake Victoria, a huge lake that extends across to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. The setting is more like a beach than a lake camp. We set up our tents and had a game of touch rugby on the sand, before settling back to work on the tan and drink a few Kilimanjaro's. As thier slogan says, "If you can't climb it, Drink it!" Sounds like good advice to me. These beers know their target audience!

There are lots of giant Coke cans here in Tanzania. Every 10km or so you will see a giant, often dilapidated, Coke can peering out amongst the run down grocery outlets and rubbish piles.

In Tanzania, Coke have taken upsizing to the extreme with their new 367 gallon variant

Coke have got another good plan in place here. Every hotel and store is signposted with a sign out front, obviously erected and paid for by Coke. Half of the sign is the Coca Cola sign. The other half is the name of the place - Welcome Hotel. Karibu Hotel. Jambo Hotel. Pepsi is nowhere to be seen.
No shop is too crappy to have a Coke sign