Category: Case Study


Refocusing NBC’s digital switch over (DSO) Project

Telling Your Story Without You Telling It: A PR strategy that refocuses NBC’s Digital Switch Over (DSO) Project

Just after the 2015 general elections in Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) was caught in the web of a multidimensional crisis.

The commission apparently faced backlashes following victory of President Mohammadu Buhari, the candidate of APC, the opposition party.

During the electioneering campaigns, NBC, as regulatory body, was caught by incumbent government’s arm-twisting tactics which made it difficult for it to enforce the most common code of broadcasting.

Smear documentaries was the rave. The image of the APC presidential candidate and several chieftains of the party were sentenced to continuous erosion through several commissioned documentaries.

And to add salts to the commission’s fester injury, the June 17  International Telecommunications Union (ITU) broadcasting digital cutover deadline looms with NBC not properly funded to meet it.

The implications of these developments to the top management of the commission are better imagine  that experienced. That the commission has lost face with the in-coming administration is not in contention but the regulatory body may also be seen as poor performers by the public and stakeholders and solely blamed for the failure of the country to meet the June 17, 2015,  DSO deadline.

It was at this point that Jinja Communications Limited, a content marketing firm approached NBC that it would helped the commission manage the multidimensional perception crisis. Graciously, the top management team approved Jinja’s one month intensive programme and the rest is history.

Jinja’s main strategy was to make NBC tell its story without NBC doing the story telling. The company succeeded in helping NBC tell its story without portraying NBC as the story-teller.

Through its content delivery strategy, the agency  creatively exonerate NBC from the blame and appropriately shift the burden on the political interference by the outgoing government.

Jinja also refocused government attention from the expected witch-hunting the head of NBC to developing institutional frame-works that will engender higher freedom and forestall future government  occurrence.

The PR firms portrayed NBC as being handicapped, explaining why the DG of NBC could not have helped the situation.

In addition, Jinja was able to show to the world the great efforts the commission has made in the digital cut-over project in spite of the lack of financial support from the government. The agency project the commission and its head as being pro-active and creative in the face of the daunting challenges.

Speaking on the what the firm did for NBC, Ikem Okuhu, the MD/CEO of Jinja explained that “we pitched stories in major newspapers and leading online news portals on how NBC and other government-owned mass media were compromised by the Presidency in its fight against hate campaign during 2015  election.

“We also pitched stories in business and IT sections of major newspapers on financial challenges NBC is faced regarding the cut-over to digital platform. Besides, we pitched stories in  business and IT sections of major newspapers appealing to the incoming  government to put in an enduring institutional shields to shield NBC and  government controlled concerns from political interference during elections.

The one month campaign achieved all its stated and intended objectives as government graciously adopt another date for DSO switchover while the Presidency also approved the commission’s creative strategy of raising the required finances for the funding of the switch over.


Creative Pre-Event Media Strategy: Case Study of MTN/Interswitch Launch of VTU


Creative Pre-Event Media Strategy: A PR Tool for Underdog Brand in a joint Product Launch with a Dominant Brand.

Outwitting the big, brash and bold brand

Your company has a platform that is world class. The platform has transformed people’s lifestyle in a way no one has ever thought possible. As a result, a big, brash, and bold brand has extended a collabo with your company. So, how would you outwit this big, brash and bold brand? Mind you, this new-kid-on-the-block has more marketing budget, more marketing gizmo, and more brand appeal than your fly-on-a-wall brand.

How can your company ride on the back of a dominant brand to gain prominence by using creative PR? Peruse the following case study.

MTN VTU campaign

The PR team handling Interswitch account, eMaginations clearly understood what was at stake when the Virtual Top Up [VTU] brief came up. This team has been managing the Interswitch account for several years. As such, the team has been remarkably deploying brilliant ideas.

MTN huge marketing budget

However, ready to shake the telecommunication industry and consolidate its market leadership, MTN had rolled out the drums with loud pre-launch marketing promotional items such as handbills, posters, banners, TV ad, and radio jingle without Interswitch’s brand identity. VTU account manager at Interswitch voiced her concern. She was unhappy over this. She spoke to eMaginations’ team and request the company to give her a plan of how Interswitch could gain prominence with a limited PR budget.

Strategy meeting

Uncomfortable with what MTN had done to push VTU further, Interswitch’s management did not bother to allocate any budget to PR. The feeling was to allow MTN to do the marketing. However, at a strategy meeting, eMaginations masterminded a plan that utilized the power of surprise, which concentrated solely on the pre-event. That was the strategy on the table, which turned out to be an inestimable whirl in favour of Interswitch.

Without a pre-event media strategy, the team lead, Sola Fanawopo, explained to the marketing team, Interswitch would be over-shadowed in the marketing launch. “There are three reasons that supported this”, Sola said. “MTN is a bigger brand. MTN has bottomless marketing budget. MTN needs the VTU platform to consolidate its market leadership”.

Objective of the campaign

With that in mind, the objective of the VTU launch changed slightly. Before then, the objective was to create awareness for VTU, push it a little, and let the target adopt it. However, with the new twist, the objective shifted to how could “Interswitch increase its mindshare in the media with limited budget”. And eMaginations was trusted to deliver on this.

Pre-planned, pre-event media onslaught

eMaginations’ team retooled its strategy, developed a set of tactics, and penned an article that was sent to a few strategic newspapers. After that, the team selected a go-live date. The date was germane to the campaign. Then, it facilitated a press interview with another strategic newspaper. These pre-planned, pre-event media onslaught worked well.

Educating the target market

eMaginations’ team focused on educating the target market about the benefits and convenience of using the VTU. The story was published in few strategic newspapers. The two-page press interview was another rocket. These two actions were exposed a week before the launch date. But the news appeared a day before the event [in a highly visible newspaper], and the other news appeared on the day of the launch [in yet another highly visible newspaper].

MTN PR company

Meanwhile, MTN’s PR agency was busy planning how the launch would run. But they were in for a shock. eMaginations’ team, remarkably, outwit a big, brash and bold brand by a simple tactical ploy of surprise, which is similar to the David and Goliath story. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu said, “let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

The [MTN’s PR agency] was busy designing press packs, writing press release, and pursuing media attendance. With the huge budget at its disposal, this PR company attracted large turnout of the media: TV houses, radio stations, newspaper and magazine representatives attended. In short, this PR company was caught up in the VTU launch-fever.

Interswitch achieved its objectives

In the long run, the stories and interview published in the press were from Interswitch’s perspective, which were written by eMaginations. Interswitch achieved significantly, its media objectives. It outshined MTN in the media. It gained prominence. The journalists who attended the VTU launch were there just to see the show. There was nothing to report about the VTU launch. The pre-planned, pre-event, prior articles and interview in the press had served a great deal. Every fact the press needed to know about VTU was in the news already. There was no new angle to report.

Three for the price of one

The TV and radio stations that were not included in the Interswitch’s media plan, did set up a studio, and interview, first MTN executives, and then Interswitch’s executives. The news broadcast was equally beneficial to Interswitch brand. The photo opportunity was added without asking [eMaginations also positioned Interswitch’s two key executives in the photo opps]. Therefore, Interswitch got three exposures [print news, photo opps and broadcast media] for the price of one.

Reactive PR

MTN PR agency at that time finally woke up. And resorted to reactive PR by issuing press release to the media on the day of the launch and after. However, the press release came too late, and achieved too little. What the MTN brand gained from the launch was photo opps and broadcast news. In view of the huge budget it spent, it should had more exposure. eMaginations’ pre-event, prior media planning worked in favour of Interswitch with minimal budget.

Industry’s reaction

The week after the launch, MTN and its PR agency wondered what went wrong. The few stories – written by the few journalists, who were not on eMaginations’ prior, pre-event, pre-planned media selection process – were extracts taken from Interswitch’s perspective. That was because the available stories on VTU were those earlier penned by eMaginations and circulated to the press.