Monday, November 8, 2010…Kenya's leading telecoms operator Safaricom has unveiled a major brand campaign aimed at further cementing its connection with the Kenyan market.

The campaign, which builds on the existing Niko na Safaricom tagline which has been hailed for its resonance with the firm's over 16 million subscribers and other Kenyans, is by scope and outlay the biggest brand commercial ever executed in the country.

The commercial, shot with a huge cast of Safaricom staff, who are members of the Safaricom Choir, and put together by the firm's advertising agency Redsky, will be relayed through a fully integrated 360 degree execution that will see it on TV, radio, retail units, press, billboards, websites, cinema screens and digital media platforms.

Former Safaricom CEO and brand champion Michael Joseph said the new campaign was a deliberate move by the company to deepen its emotional connection with Kenyans.

"This campaign is a celebration of our Kenyanness. It portrays Safaricom as a brand for everyone. It is a metaphor for the diversity of our customer base and our deep-rooted connection with the Kenyan market, which has been Safaricom's winning strategy for the 10 years we have been here," said Mr Joseph.

The new campaign comes at a time when Safaricom is celebrating 10 years of immense success. It covers every bit of the journey Safaricom has been through to get where it is today as the country's leading telecoms operator.

It took slightly over four months to assemble the commercial that is unique in every sense. It is the most ambitious commercial ever shot in Kenya and Africa outside South Africa, given the manpower and equipment involved. Featuring a longer-than-usual 90-second take, it is a showcase of the diversity of the Kenyan culture and brings together literally all the aspects of the country ranging from social to economic lifestyles.

"We are keen on highlighting what Safaricom stands for, which is the wellbeing of all Kenyans. We have over the years touched Kenyan lives in ways never seen before and made a tangible impact on Kenyan communities and Kenyan lives. This is what this commercial is all about," added Mr Joseph.

Safaricom, through its diverse product and services portfolio, including the award winning M-PESA has won the loyalty of most Kenyans, currently controlling close to 80 per cent of the market. This constant connection is further reinforced through the company's corporate social investment arm, the Safaricom Foundation, which is engaged in various projects and causes aimed at improving lives among Kenyan communities.

Safaricom runs the biggest budget in the Kenyan advertising industry and the latest campaign, which will run for the balance of the year, is likely to spawn a major revenue stream for media organizations. According to ad-trackers Synovate, Safaricom was able to gross ad exposure worth about Sh3.55 billion in the first nine months of 2010 compared to Sh2.33 billion grossed over a similar period in 2009. Actual ad-spend is likely to be much lower. Exposure would vary year-on-year, depending on our messages and strategic objectives.

"There is nothing quite as beautiful as Kenyans coming together, wherever they are all over Kenya to speak with one voice, to sing one song. I thank all those who have been involved in this venture for capturing the true spirit and genetic core of the Safaricom brand," said Mr Joseph.

Subscribers will be able to assign the campaign jingle as their Skiza tune or ringtone, at no charge. The jingle or wallpapers related to the campaign can also be downloaded from the Safaricom web portal free of charge.

Safaricom commercials started out with The Better Option campaign in 2000, which led to many Kenyans choosing it as their preferred service provider. This would later be followed in 2006 by the landmark "Masai Mara" campaign whose aim was to deepen the connection with Kenyans. With a tourist, tour guide and Maasai herdsman as its characters, it showcased the beauty of Kenya, the recognition and inter-dependence of her people and deep respect for one another.

A 2007 execution sought to celebrate Kenya's different cultures with different renditions specific to Western, Eastern/Nairobi, Central, Rift Valley and Coast regions. This campaign was particularly apt in an election year. A collage of the five campaigns would later be aired during the period of the post-election violence, underlining the ability of Kenyans to live harmoniously together and appealing to them to uphold peace.

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