Monday, 25 November 2013

Progressive thinking prevails in KICC billboard saga

Samsung Electronics East Africa, through its outdoor advertising partner, Alliance Media, has today announced its support for the upcoming Kenya@50 celebrations. This comes on the back drop of a halfhearted campaign by a guest columnist in the Business Daily, Marvin Sissey to have the LED billboard brought down.

The global electronics giant’s support will include provision of strategic billboards across the country, as well as the country’s first panoramic digital advertising screen; that is undergoing test runs at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, to promote the monumental building as the regional premier meeting centre.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Hassan Wario said, “Every sector in Kenya has a unique story to tell, and that fits into the country’s 50th anniversary. This is a great opportunity for citizens, private sector, investors, the tourism industry among others, to come together to make an indelible mark in the Kenyan story.”

Samsung Electronics East Africa Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Robert Ngeru, said that the new age screens which are a first in the region are based on Samsung’s Digital Signage Display technology.

Globally, Ngeru confirmed that Samsung is the now market leader in display technology providing LED-backlit panels that are renowned for their sharp text, rich colour and reliable performance.

The launch of the Digital billboards for Kenya@50 celebrations comes at a time when the country is gearing up for the digital migration switch set for mid-December, which will see Kenyan embracing the digital broadcasting technology for the Televisions sets.

“We're extremely excited about the launch because as a brand, all our television sets are digitally complaint thus our customers will not miss the action during the celebrations. We believe that this partnership will go a long way in ensuring that the milestones of this great nation are beamed to the whole country.” Explained Mr. Ngeru.

Apart from celebrating 50 years as a nation, the Kenya @50 steering committee has lined up a series of initiatives, which will involve social and economic activities across the country with long-term positive impact.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Why Marvin Sissey is wrong about the Billboard at KICC

Despite the constant refrain that we are moving from an analogue-to-digital era, it is apparent that some of us are still caught in a time warp. For someone as widely travelled as Martin Sissey to rant on his full page column about LED advertising bill board atop KICC, one has to ask himself whose bidding he is doing.
LED billboard at Times Square, New York

It is unfortunate that KICC had to bulk under this hollow propaganda yet all the Conference centre was doing is to try and generate an extra income to the taxpayer. According to an article in the Saturday Nation, KICC had already been receiving payments of KSh1,350,000 as quarterly rents as agreed in the contract with Alliance Media, an advertising firm.

Anyone with good business acumen would pose to think what the investment portends for KICC. Advertising conferences taking place at the KICC through the billboard at the apex of the conference would mean more attendance of conferences, more traffic at the conference centre means more expenditure within the building, more revenue for the Government.    

And if Marvin Sissey is really as Patriotic as he claims and not a gun for hire by a rival advertising firm, then he should understand that more revenue for the Government will help us settle our foreign debts as every Kenyan is born in debt to western nations at a tune of about Ksh40,000.   

This is, by any yardstick, a brilliant idea that puts Nairobi at the cutting edge of technology to rival other cities across the globe. Time Square in New York, a city in very country that Martin Sissey studied is dotted with LED advertising almost on every building. Eiffel Towers in Paris, the equivalent of KICC in Nairobi had a Citroen advert for close nine years.     

While LED advertising that has taken root other developed cities, it’s outrageous that Marvin Sissey, an alumni of the University of Indiana, USA, should hoodwink Kenyans with empty polemics. It’s unfortune that Marvin stooped as low as invoking the name of God and The Pope, you would think he consulted the almighty to know his opinion on the billboard.       

The management of KICC may have been cowed into bringing the Samsung advert down and instead replacing it with a Kenya @50 advert for rest of the year, but this sets a very bad precedent for innovative investors in the country. Nairobi is not Harare, and Kenya is not Zimbabwe.     

Hey Marvin, gone are the days of handing out fliers at traffic lights or popping letters in the mail, the new trend of advertising is via LED light boxes. Market research indicates that illuminated advertising attracts a far higher customer foot count and sales compared to non-illuminated advertising.

And LED advertising saves power too. In addition to being able to advertise anywhere and be different, these light boxes are energy efficient and provide you with a cheaper way to advertise your shop. Light box in an advertising campaign is way cheaper than handing out fliers.