The madness that is “Masonko na Safaricom Ksh 150 million promotion, and a look at the tipping point

September 25, 2010 — 4 Comments

I have been living under a rock over the past week, trying to grow the network and explore new business in the Comesa region. Under a rock because, for a person who lives literally 24 hrs online, i had intermittent short and expensive bursts of online access as I hopped about.

So I check back into the .ke this morning and want to take the day easy and prep for one heck of a week starting the 27th, when the phone  beeps to life and Safaricom welcome me back home. Then the texts comes flying in, the first one reads…”am sure you have heard of the masonko thing safcom is doing..what do you think? “, then I wonder…yes I did get it from Nation Online that this chap Sonko won the seat in Makadara…good for him – after spending all that color you better not loose, whether you are young or old but whats he doing with Safcom? In my head, I am about to give him mad props for getting MJ and BC to the table and sealing a deal that gives Makadara residents the best calling rates in town..like 10cts per min, Safcom to Safcom – Makadara to Makadara calls only. Next weeks headline…infrastructure problem as masses move into Makadara, land prices up 1000%. Sonko declares Republic


Anyhow, I responded that I was indeed clueless to the shock and amazement of my textmate :-) but i was happy to be home and back on a fast and affordable data connection. We may throw tantrums when at home, but trust me, you cry blood on some godforsaken data connections in the region, esp if your a speed junkie and want your stuff to load pap! quickly.

So I get home and decide to Google ‘Masonko’ and see that the fellas over at SquadDigital  have really taken to Google Adwords and this new Safcom promotion is prominent on that keyword search….then I see it…

  • There is KSh150 Million up for grabs! One Grand draw winner will walk away with KSh25 Million.
  • There will be 1 winner weekly of KSh5 Million and 1 daily winner of KSh1 Million.
  • There will also be consolation prizes worth KSh5 Million.

Ksh 25 million…not bad I think to myself
Now for a flashback to put it into context. Sitting at some hotel, in the company of a number of  businessmen not from .ke,I expound on the anatomy of the mobile promotion, stating that the concept or idea must capture the imagination of the target audience, to the point of perhaps making them go bonkers.

The reality of matters is that we …the human generation place a high premium on hope … luck and other ideas that make life alot more bearable and which push us to strive if just for one more day. That’s where the clincher lies and here’s how – if you see a promo with a top prize of a double cabin worth about Ksh 4 million…for one kenyan that may be the ultimate reward but for another, they can tell you how they will ‘make’ the double cab in less time than it would take the promo to even sniff at breaking even.

Introduce 90 million with a million per day and the Range Rover Sport 2010 edition and you increase greatly the number of people who go into the hope category and drastically decrease those who can justify non-participation by proving how they can “earn” the Ksh 15million Range Rover.

The tipping point:

Now you give a total of Ksh 150 million with 5 million every week and the grand prize winner gets Ksh 25million. Tell me how you think the percentages of hope vs earn look like. Not withstanding, its tied to a simple thing that you do every single day and doesn’t make you think.

I think that the hope vs earn percentages would be something like this 99:1. Even the the new MP Bwana Sonko will hope to win this and Makadara residents need to get prepared to receive that personal phone call from their MP. Since he will be giving away his entire salary as he promised, he can earn it in another way :-)

Ksh 25million in 10 weeks?

Not many can “earn” / “make” that.

Now, as I wait to see if  Safaricom shareholders will demand that instead of celebrating with a promotion, that their phones should be beeping with a surprise 10 yr anniversary bonus via Mpesa, I would not be surprised if half the country has saved the number – 0729 333 333, under the name Sonko . Its anyone’s  guess what the ring tone assigned would be…”every-time I close my eyes…” Or perhaps  Jimmy Gaits version…of course minus the hard work.

If your proposition is sufficiently compelling and the user experience simple, then you shall capture the entire market segment , as I believe Safaricom’s 10yr celebration promotion will…think about it. Sheer madness!

Mbugua Njihia

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An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.