Seeing the humour in marketing’s efforts to reach the rural

Hanging out at the Airtel duka

From the Chairman of Y&R Africa’s column, this amusing snippet on branding in rural Africa while making an insightful point:

Wall painting is another tapeworm in the belly of the marketing budget. On a Continent dogged by marginal infrastructure, it’s a visual boon. Whole villages and trading centres can get spruced up overnight. They look fabulous in marketing presentations and in colour pictures in annual reports. But what is it like to live in a branded village?

‘ Meet you at the corner at 11.’

‘ What, Coke corner?’

‘Yes, at 11, then we can go to the Airtel duka for maandazis.’

‘Yes, and then the Tusker kiosk for some airtime.’

‘ Before we chillax at the Rinderpesto café, over chai and samosas.’

As I travel I even see whole villages branded with one brand. Imagine if that was your village? How would it make you feel about the brand? Would you see red?  Would your neighbours be green with envy?

Wall painting is probably better executed as an overall amenity development activity – with someone planning a town clock, benches, and road marking in a way that gives lasting benefit to the community.

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