By Kunle Durojaiye
It’s the evening of March 17, 2011. The day is winding to a close but not just yet. All of a sudden, twitter goes agog with news that there will be a ‘pro youth’ interview of the incumbent President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, hosted by the award winning Nigerian artiste, D’banj.
(In case you missed it, watch D’banj’s interview with President Goodluck Jonathan below)
This came as an unexpected development to many, with its suddenness and the seeming strategic timing – 8 days before the proposed presidential aspirant’s debate organized by the coalition of Nigerian youth bodies tagged “What About Us?” – slated for the 25th of March. It is not yet clear whether Dr Jonathan has agreed to attend this proposed debate. Many will recall that the Vice President, Mr Namadi Sambo, was absent from the March 11 Vice Presidential aspirant debate organized by the satellite television channel, NN24.
The interview, hosted by D’banj, kicked off as planned, and immediately, started to elicit numerous comments and reactions from viewers nationwide. A majority probably disagreed with the ‘kokomaster’s’ involvement in the whole plot, while others commented that he was quite reticent, asking just a few questions, compared with a typical interview host. Through the whole broadcast, it was clear that most technology enabled Nigerian youth (on twitter) were not impressed by the apparent campaign tool.
It is at this point that I attempt to engage in some analysis. My primary focus here is not the content of the interview but its possible strategic purpose. It is obvious that Dr Jonathan and his PDP comrades deployed this interview as a campaign tool targeting Nigerian youth. Despite seeing the move as lame, one cannot ignore the fact that there is a sly and cunning crew developing and implementing political campaign strategies for the ruling party. It looks like so many viewers got carried away with the questionable content and plot of the interview, taking sides and forming opinions about the host, yet, remaining oblivious to the strategy behind the interview and the targeted audience.
Who was the target audience? Was it the Nigerian youth? If yes, many will probably condemn the effort concluding that it was unsuccessful in its ploy. Determining whether it was successful or not is hinged on what the intent was, who the real target audience was, and whether the goal was achieved.
By extrapolation, it can be deduced that GEJ’s strategists have conducted some form of market segmentation of the youth category, splitting them up into 3 possible groups – the grassroots (masses), the tech-enabled and upwardly mobile, and the apathetic. The grassroots/masses obviously hold the largest market share relative to the others, and it is this group that the campaign has targeted. While the tech enabled and upwardly mobile, twitter and facebook savvy category is busy ramping up support mainly via social media and networking tools, the incumbent is deploying his market penetration tool, via mass marketing.
As if that were not enough, GEJ’s strategists further did a careful selection of his interview host, choosing a well known and musically influential brand – D’banj. His strategist employs the concept of brand extension, to further penetrate this youth mass market at the grassroots, introducing the product –Goodluck by D’banj. Brand extension has successfully favoured many corporate brands in the past and present, include Courtyard by Marriott, Fourpoints by Sheraton, Polo by Ralph Lauren, to name a few. This forms the second hinge of their campaign strategy – as association of brands to bring the product to the door step of the masses. The impact on the target market? Immeasurable. Even though many upwardly mobile youth still see the whole plot as a sham, they fail to realize that they are not the target. First it was a facebook president, now it’s a ‘youth’ focused president. So, say what you may, the campaign is working, and the product is selling – Goodluck by D’banj!
As the political front gets more captivating, it is left for the opposition to play its own card in this battle for the youth market share. Where there are strategies, there can be counter-strategies. Will the opposition launch a more successful product to mass youths at the grassroots? Or will the youth focus be limited to the tech-enabled social networking youth? Will there be an intense tussle over market share? Will there be a battle of the strategists?
Whichever way this wind blows, whether it is “Goodluck by D’banj” or “TheOpposition by another”, one thing is clear – the youth matter!
Kunle blogs at kunledurojaiye.wordpress.com
Follow Kunle on Twitter: @kunledee
Republished with permission