UBL: Stop Importing Kampala to Gulu

By: David Martin Aliker

On Saturday, 24th 2019, Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) introduced a new sales and entertainment concept dubbed Tusker Neon Wave Concert.

The event was hosted at Acholi Inn with leading performances from Kemishan, Beenie Gunter, and Coco Finger.

Inits program lineup, were 3D Cinema hosted by Almost Famous DJs and fan games.This was all at the cost of 10,000 UGx and you get yourself two bottles ofTusker Lite beer.

Everyshow organized by Uganda Breweries Limited has had a huge audience; but why didthis new concept receive a slow attendance and fun less attendance? Why wasthere no climax in the event?

Inmy opinion, Corporate Companies based in Kampala should stop importing Kampalato Gulu and hope that Gulu will buy into whatever Kampala offers.

Its not that Gulu audience are against anything “Kampala like” but Gulu audience has its unique interests and identities that every business must be aware of whenever it does its branding.

From the inception of the program, one would hear the MC who also doubled as the headline DJ, Crim cry out to minimal success asking his audience to abandon their comfortable beautiful small cozy tents with a superb set up and join him nearer to the stage.

One would ask, where are these zealous crazy UBL audiences whose life time dream is to be within reach of leading artists and feel their fingers or stand a chance to receive free corporate goodies?

This was strategically a mistake because those taking selfies and cuddling at this beautiful set up are the corporates of Gulu who are never excited by being by the stage nor within access to free corporate T-Shirts but getting entertained,looking cool and keeping to themselves as they dialogue, cuddle and make merry at the backdrop of a great show from a distance.

Unfortunately, MC Crims request had a few guests show up by the stage ruining the beautiful scenes by the small tents which would have benefited from photogenic moments in spite of the minimal number at the beginning of the show.

Thefew who showed up by the stage and interacted with the artists would surelyplay poorly to its image or branding as what the camera would cover onlydefines a poorly attended show.

At one point, the MC who seems more proficient in Luganda than English in an effort to find out whether revelers were enjoying the show asked, “how is it? A guest on microphone answered, “It is going inside” literally losely translated in Acholi to mean Tye Kadonyo which of course as an imagery means am enjoying but could mean something else both in English and Acholi.

He eventually won himself a T-Shirt. But why would you stress a man who has come to relax his mind by speaking a language he is not conversant with when you can hire a multi lingual Mc?

Again, in my opinion it’s simply because Kampala corporate companies don’t respect local content but prefer to just use certain characters only to identify with local content even when northern artists could be cheaper, more reliable and popular with personal fan base and more entertaining.

Let’sget back to absence of revelers whose life time goal is keep by the stage tofeel the fingers of their leading artist and receive free corporate goodies.

Onthe same day, legendary local music promoter Juma Jummie had a show at his lowcost venue at Da Link.

Juma strategically invited his guests to a free show as long as they would buy a drink. His headline artist included Gulu’s greatest names like Eezy, Polite Mosco, Judas Rap Knowledge and Eddy Wizzy to mention but a few.

How else would one explain why a local businessman would out compete a leading brewery company in the country?

The logic is very simple; we love our artist and identify with them. So if you intend to brand your product to Gulu people, why would you not identify with their identities and interests?

The choice of which artists would sell your brand is very important especially when marketing a new product to a conservative audience.

While I have alot of musical respect for the line artists, I would imagine blending them with local artists would get their branding home.

The DJ notices this important fact and keeps mentioning Coco Fingers name to maintain his audience only to create an impression he is the biggest artist with a northern identity only to sacrifice Beenie Ganter who can not say he had a good show in Gulu.

If only, Kampala Corporate Companies can learn to respect northern Uganda artisans not only will they stop cheating their loyal customers of value for money but also be able to sell their brands to the intended audience.

Definitely,Juma stole the show because he understood his market base and identified withit as a smart business man. He knew these artists have a big following andbasic advert would get him the desired business target.

Like all shows, massive advertising is important. In a place like Gulu, there is no better advert like word of mouth.

However, to receive this recommendation one must first access information through all forms of outlets.

TheTusker Lite Neon wave concert was poorly advertised and marketed like on astring budget. It had no noticeable presence on radio and the different socialmedia platforms or posters except for banners and not strategically placed.This possibly was for a week than the recommended two weeks or a month.

Experiencehas shown that there are young folks that informally run the banner businesses.If you know them and rely on them, you get your word out; if you ignore them,you risk your business. For them, it’s a way of life and not just anopportunity cost.

Last but not least, Gulu market is totally a different market with its uniqueness. It runs on impression. This impression is created by certain characters or businesses that locals have over the years relied on for what they consider worth value for their money.

UBL has not learnt from its previous experience when street gangsters (Aguu) disrupted the Bell Show at Acholi Inn, in protest for their desire for local content. I certainly don’t support impunity of any kind but as a business person I care about potential risk factors especially in events management.

However, its prudent to ask, why does UBL hate northern Uganda local artist so much that even at home they dont get a chance on their platform?

Certainly, from how the event was organized with poor show of  local content, some careful guests preferred to keep safe than risk again another insensitive UBL promotions.

Conclusively, while the show had a slow turn up; certainly in comparison to the UBL shows in Mbale and Kampala and the level of beer sales which is the prime purpose of marketing, UBL could still do better.

The author is a Blogger based in Gulu and a reputable consumer of Bell Beer. He can be reached on: mdaliker@gmail.com

Published by La’Gulu

Aliker is the author of My Mayor (The Political Story of a Poor Elite and Rich Illitrate). Aliker is well spoken, a Blogger, Social Media Geek and an Alumni of Makerere University, Uganda Management Institute, Gulu University and University of San Diego-USA respectively.

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