Its not hard to follow a conversation bearing sentiments on a brand. From yesterday we have had a chance to discuss a new product that Safaricom, a Kenyan Mobile service provider has on offer. Its not an easy task judging how a campaign or product will be taken by subscribers and following, so at time the brand managers and marketing guys gamble with stuff here and there…..and cross their fingers. Well, there was the Katia her with 5 bob campaign that is currently ongoing that has elicited so many sentiments on social media, mainly twitter. Here is the message conveyed via text message:
“Katia Her with a tune for only 5/= this Valentine’s. Dial *811# now and get your favourite SKIZA tune for your loved one today.”
The fact that for starters the message was addressed to both male and females was enough to aggravate the situation. For those who might not in the know, the word Katia is a slang word for date, or court or ask out. Then secondly was the word used for the campaign. Sheng is the name coined for the blend of english, swahili and local dialects all merged together, and like technology, this too evolves, FAST! Hence some feel that its an outdated word.
The Katia campaign went ahead to generate a horde of comments in form of tweets over the day till now prompting a response from Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore who is an avid user of twitter. He actually apologized and promised to pull the campaign off.
Some of the Sentiments on twitter
‘Katia her with 5 bob’. I wonder whose bright idea it was.
Safaricom has a wierd sense of humour… ati “Katia her with a tune for only 5/=… this valentines” really????
Thanks, but I can’t katia HER. <==this coming from a female
S/O if your grandmother has received this sms from Safaricom >> “Katia her with a tune for only 5/= ….. this Valentines”
You can read the rest of the tweets here:
The image above was pulled of a parody account and made the humor even greater with such other images appearing.
It was not really a negative event as most of the subscribers were seeing the humour in it. But it goes to show that the marketing department needs to do more research and be more creative. And while at it, its very important to monitor feedback as soon as you can. Bob’s followers accepted the apology and Safaricom learnt their lesson. Social media ofcourse has its advantages and disadvantages, some advantages being the ability to track feedback on your brand, reach of your campaign and sentiments on your product. The disadvantage is that it could go out of control if you are overwhelmed and become a PR disaster, particularly if your product is bad and if you are also not there to watch the sentiments.