When you’re in the deep



One of our dogs died. Freddie, our white, grumpy old basset, with a heart of gold, has  become extinct. What a sad day, week and rest of the year if not more. Before you think I’m writing his obituary, rest assured that there is reason in the sadness. What really got  us was the fact that it was COMPLETELY left field and out of the blue. We didn’t see it coming. We took him to the vet, expecting him to be back the next day…and then he wasn’t. There was no preparation. No strategy. No plan. Just shock of him being gone.

In my deep sorrow I realised, things are SO much worse when you are unprepared. Of course you can’t plan your life or business to death (as I mentioned in “Living Strategy”), but if you just had some kind of rough idea, what you would do if any…

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Why Apple’s Christmas Ad Is The Best!

The ad I’m about to share with you, I saw only five minutes ago. I couldn’t wait till next week, or even tomorrow. I stopped everything and wrote this because some discoveries are too powerful to be kept on the back burner. This was something you had to see today.

It’s an Apple commercial, which naturally sets a very high pedestal for it, but what it turns to be is…unforgettable.

Christmas is peak time for a lot of commercials and dozens of brands pour millions of dollars into these kinds of things, but only few actually succeed. Apple blows the ball out of the park with this one.

I like how Continue reading Why Apple’s Christmas Ad Is The Best!

How China’s Ending Divorce With 1 TVC.

So I’ve been called many things, but I printed and wore the t-shirt before they could call me a hopeless romantic!

The sad thing is that it’s so hard to find a strong original romantic story these days, and even harder to get or adapt one for an ad. The few loved romantic stories have been so abused that it now has a cringe-effect. It usually ends up feeling fake or contrived, or both. But there is hope! There always is, and it’s not just me, China is on it with me!

In this short (too short) ad – “I believe in love again”, Leo Burnett Hong Kong attempts something outrageous; to address the alarming divorce rate in China with one ad campaign. It’s a big problem there. Last year alone 3,500,123 couples got divorced, so at this point any help is welcome.

Here’s the genius of it; Continue reading How China’s Ending Divorce With 1 TVC.

The ‘Cheat-code’ Of Facebook Ads –from the guys who wrote the algorithm!

Facebook news feeds in Ghana are spilling over with all sorts of ads. Every brand with a few bucks to spend boosts anything they post on their walls. But is it as simple as that? Do you just exchange some dollars for front-row access to the people you’re in business because of? I’ve always wondered if there was a method behind all the madness and it actually seems like there is. The whiz kids who concocted the algorithm that determines how much of your ad is shown sat down to answer some real hard questions. They reveal what their algorithm means for marketers like you and I who already use or will use Facebook advertising to rope in more clients.

In this interesting interview with Fidji Simo and Hong Ge (up in the title image), product managers on the Facebook ads team, BuzzFeed News gets some intel on how Facebook users end up with certain ads in their News Feed.

Combining the potential value for the advertiser, the viewer, and the FB ad platform, a specific algorithm exists to determine which ads to serve to whom and when.

A few interesting facts about the FB Ad/News Feed algorithm:

Continue reading The ‘Cheat-code’ Of Facebook Ads –from the guys who wrote the algorithm!

When A Grandpa Brand Moves To A Playground –The GCB Bank Story.

What do you do when you’re older than a country but want to connect with a brand new generation of internet-loving, service-oriented, highly informed and independent minded people? Ghana’s biggest bank; GCB tried to answer this recently.


The Sad Genesis.

It’s funny how Ghana’s biggest bank also ranks amongst the most unpopular. In fact when I was slapped with the hard truth that GCB was the Don in Ghana’s ‘bankdom’ I went into denial! It’s been three years since and I’m sober now, but the perception of GCB is almost unanimous. When most people think of GCB they think of boring-dressed, unfriendly oldies who always get to work in a bad mood. They imagine unmotivated Civil Servants in a bank hall. They think of nicknames like Ghana Colo Bank and Ghana Confused Bank. In summary, GCB is largely unpopular among the people they’ll like to endear.

Then again, they have more cash playing ampe in their vaults than any other bank does. So how can you have so much money and have such a bad reputation? That’s probably when an Oga at the top brings out the guns and says, ‘We’ve got to get new clothes!’


A New Eagle Rises.

One day -not so long ago- Ghana woke up to billboards, newspapers and timelines plastered with #his and #hers art works. We even talked about it here, remember? Everyone kept wondering who could possibly be behind it. People guessed fashion lines, hair products, restaurants, even someone thought it could be a global condom brand. As it turns out, our dear old (no pun intended) GCB was behind it.

Last Friday, at an elaborate Banquet Hall ceremony, GCB stepped out and claimed ownership of #his and #hers. They announced a new force in Ghana’s banking and unveiled a new logo that put the erstwhile perching eagle to flight. They announced a new tagline too; Your bank for life.

Everyone went home very satisfied with the brilliant laser light display and delicious food served. Imagine their shock when they woke up to the most unflattering comments and posts from social media.

It’s hard to reconcile the bank’s unpopular reputation and #his #hers teaser campaign with this new cool kid they’re trying to be. If you’re a beauty contestant who isn’t very eloquent, witty and charming, it’s just a matter of time before bystanders notice the speck on your teeth, the unsymmetrical eyebrow shaping and other negligible things.

GCB hasn’t been very lucid and eloquent and patient and tactful in communicating this new ‘cool kid’ they want to be, so people are being very harsh and relentless in their feedback. Heck, even the new logo has received more critique than a child up for adoption.

Immediately such relatively petty things like the flatness of a logo or the semantics of a company name come to play, it’s clear that the brand is hollow and deficient. Because if you have a powerful message that connects with people, your logo and name become inconsequential. When people really love a brand, Management could slap a stretchmark on as a logo and it will still look like genius! Ask Nike.

I’m sure the bank has a very elaborate long-term blah, blah, blah strategy  but in the mean time, this jollof is turning to roasted corn on the fire.


Any Chance For Ctrl + Z?

You can’t flaunt a potbelly for so many decades and Continue reading When A Grandpa Brand Moves To A Playground –The GCB Bank Story.

What Does #His & #Hers Have To Do With #Me?

These past couple of weeks, the Internet has been raving with what might just be Ghana’s most ambiguous teaser campaign. Beyond the quality pictures of nice-looking models tagged #his or #hers , very little is known about which brand may be behind this.

It’s not just the internet, I’ve heard radio spots of male and female voices saying nothing beyond #his and #hers. There’s also print; full page color one-worded ads and several billboards in prime locations.

#hisIt’s certainly no small brand behind this. The media coverage is too wide and too much care has been taken to spread the word without giving too much info. On twitter facebook and instagram I’ve noticed some of the most popular accounts propagating the #his and #hers agenda. They’re not saying anything, leaving everyone to wonder who at all could be behind this. Personally, I don’t think even those pushing it Continue reading What Does #His & #Hers Have To Do With #Me?

Where’s The Wave In Surfline’s TVCs?

Ghana’s internet has a new sensation; Surfline! These past few weeks, they’ve just been everywhere; mostly for the right reasons. Personally, I’ve been fascinated by the prospect of 4G internet since they launched their Beta phase earlier this year.

The pains they took to sift a section of heavy-duty internet consumers and allow them to use their product for free was impressive and showed the evidence of a brand with the consumer at heart. They took feedback from their testers and factored them in final product touches. For a country where products and offers are rushed to the market whilst still trying to fit it into its marketing communication underwear, this brand seemed to know what it was about.

The consensus on the product’s quality is unanimous, heck even I am getting one today. I’ve seen enough objective people commend it for any skepticism to fade off. I really wish I could say same for their communication too. I think this is a classic case of a great product trying to compensate for an unfitting communication.

Now To The ‘Wow’?

Surfline launched with a teaser ad built on the concept of Continue reading Where’s The Wave In Surfline’s TVCs?

The Google TVC That’s Better Than It’s Search Engine.

This isn’t what I’d planned to share with you today. In fact, I just chanced on it over the weekend on someone’s list of amazing ads. When I clicked ‘Play’ I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary. The title –Google Reunion- sounded so predictable. It was certainly going to be about Google playing a role in reuniting two people. What I wasn’t ready for was how beautifully they were going to do it.

We live in a day where our emotions are tucked away far enough to preserve some sanity. So anything that succeeds in reaching them is powerful. This Google ad is. It tells a moving story that’s rooted in a very delicate and emotional event in the history of two nations (India and Pakistan)and embeds the brand’s relevance every step of the way. Frankly, even as I write this, I still cant tell if Continue reading The Google TVC That’s Better Than It’s Search Engine.

Who’s Got More Shrimp? Maggi or Royco? #BrandWars

Early this year, Royco launched an ad campaign starring ace Ghanaian striker; Asamoah Gyan. It told a story about how in spite of his success and luxurious living in far away Dubai, Gyan still missed the taste of delicious Ghanaian food, the kind only Royco can help in making.

Gyan is a legendary footballer and a talented musician, but he’s not a gifted actor. Not withstanding, the ad was beautiful. Without saying so, it communicated that Royco carried the soul of good Ghanaian cooking, which is bold enough to make me want to try it out. Close to the end of the ad, Gyan says those three words which would remain popular months after; ‘E wo le m)nk), which literally means ‘She spiked it with shrimps.’ Or ‘She shrimped it up!’

The choice of Gyan was very Continue reading Who’s Got More Shrimp? Maggi or Royco? #BrandWars

The Kalybos Ingredient in Airtel’s BranDominion March.

Big brands need visibility like babies need attention. If your brand thrives on numbers, you cant afford to be shy. It’s not a simple thing though, I mean just because you need attention doesn’t mean you should scream loudest. There’s a very fine line between being a persistent, attractive suitor and being a pest.

In the last few months, Airtel Ghana has used their TVCs to demonstrate mastery in towing this line. They discovered the ever-humorous Kalybos and came to a lucrative agreement, which birthed a hat trick of memorable TVCs.

We toasted the first one here for doing a much better job than competition at a time when all Ghanaian Telcos were going hard on humor.

Then a few weeks later they followed up with this one Continue reading The Kalybos Ingredient in Airtel’s BranDominion March.