The latest superhero on the block aka Makmende has caused quite a stir! Not with saving damsels in distress form kidnappers and thumping his subjects for information…but by becoming an overnight phenomenon in Kenya hitting the trending list on twitter as well as making the podium on the Google charts.
The fact that every other post on Facebook is about this fella Makmende, and Twitter is abuzz with his praises…”Makmende can take a passport shower with his real passport” or “Makmende doesn’t like questions. And don’t try Google. Google is still searching for Makmende!”, makes we wonder yet again…what if there was a brand behind the whole setup.
Of course yes…there’s a brand and it belongs to the brilliant chaps of Justaband…but what am really asking is why are we not seeing this creativity from larger more established…well heeled brands seeking to capture the imagination of their audience who are clearly online and on mobile?So ScanAd is going on a Google like shopping spree snapping up competition and buying stakes in the hard heads. While this augers well for the bottom line and creates a pseudo monopoly, I have this feeling that this space is about to see some radical developments both in-terms of creativity and mode of execution on both web and mobile.
Because agencies are stale…the larger they are, the more they smell….not forgetting the churn. It becomes an issue of the usual suspects…and everyone has their signature. The small agency is a breath of fresh air…willing to “really work” to deliver something fresh. This freshness is seen in the likes of Makmende and lonelygirl15…that freshness coupled with new media spin.
Yes, so there’s Squad in the picture with all all clients locked into agreements to only deal with them on issues new media. The work is booked in Kenya…but done in India. The guy who loses most is the client as their brand is deprived of the immense creativity that lies in the “pockets” (I think I should claim ownership to this word…keeps popping up everywhere).
Ooooh, the 30 billion is the worth of the local advertising industry as at 2009.
Back to Makmende and this other girl!
Here is Mwanamishale’s take on the phenom – Ha-He is the second video from Just a Band’s second album, 82.The 1970’s themed video, directed by Jim Chuchu and Mbithi Masya, features a mean, ass-kicking character known as Makmende (played by Kevin “K1”Maina) who has been all the rage on Twitter this week. A lot of people have been wondering who the hell Makmende is. Well, that depends on your age and where you grew up. Makmende was a term used way back in the early to mid 1990s to refer to someone who thinks he’s a superhero. For example, if a boy who’s watched one too many kung-fu movies on TV decides to unleash his newly acquired combat skills, he would be asked “Unajidai Makmende, eh?” (Who do you think you are, Makmende?) Trust me, there was a Makmende in every hood!
What Just a Band have done, quite creatively, is to give life to this long forgotten character in a way that makes him a unique Kenyan superhero, akin to Shaft, Jack Bauer and Chuck Norris. Makmende has so far taken on a life of his own, with a fan page on Facebook, a Twitter account and even a website! Makmende is this week’s biggest trending topic on Twitter in Kenya.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim Chuchu and Mbithi Masya receive offers to create a TV series based on Makmende.
I have to say that Just a Band are setting the standards as far as local music videos are concerned. It’s about time some creativity was injected into the music industry coz I’m sure you agree with me that we are all tired of seeing the same old music video concept, which is to hire a few pimped out cars to floss with, get a bunch of pretty girls, pack them into a club and have a few miscellaneous people masquerading as artistes jumping all over the place screaming “Mikono Juu!” with other two bob lyrics.
The video itself is hilarious, you have to watch it to appreciate the humour in it. With names such as “Finger of Nebula” (a parody of Hellarunga’s Finger of god and Crab Nebula) and starring characters named Wrong Number, Abscondita, First Bodi, Taste of Daynjah, The Askyua Matha Militants (this one literally killed me!!) and Britannia Zimeisha.
Mwanamishale’s take ends here 🙂
So who is this lonleygirl15…you may know a couple of lonely girls but this one is an interesting one…and perhaps Makmende can follow in her footsteps and learn from her mistakes.Lonleygirl15was an interactive web-based video series which began in June 2006 and ran through August 1, 2008.
Lonelygirl15 focused on the life of a fictional teenage girl named Bree, whose YouTube username was the eponymous lonelygirl15.However, the show did not initially reveal its fictional nature to its audience. After the fictional status of the show was revealed in September 2006, it gradually evolved into a multi-character series including both character videoblogs and action sequences.
Lonelygirl15 first came to international attention ostensibly as a “real” video blogger who had achieved massive popularity on YouTube.
Lonelygirl15 was the first Internet series to introduce product integration when the episode “Truckstop Reunion” featured the characters eating and displaying Hershey’s Icebreaker’s Sours Gum.
In another example of a product integration first, lonelygirl15 landed on the front page of Variety for the integration of a character from Neutrogena in the storyline over the period of more than two months. Dr. Spencer Gilman became such a popular character that Neutrogena made him “Employee of the Month” and gave him his own e-mail account on the company’s corporate website.
- Product endorsement? I see Makmende showering with LifeBuoy soap and brushing his stainless steel teeth with Aquafresh, driving a Toyota Vitz (coz of his understated demeanor) or hopping onto a Hoppa with his new super hero MegaRider
Lets see where this road takes us…hopefully on the road to better embracing new tools for distribution of content, creating platforms to showcase creativity , proving that bigger is not always better and cementing the fact that you should engage someone who understands their media and space best.
Enjoy the video
Sidenote (added 24th march 2010): the Makmende brand…who is responsible for its spawning? The chaps who registered makmende.com, are they affiliated to justaband or are they just opportunists who have capitalized on the buzz? Like my good friend did with EstherArunga.com?