So, I did manage to attend the Safaricom Safari7s… For those ardent rugby, party…. (you know where you fall) fans, this used to be that event. Everyone wanted to be in attendance. From the underage to those almost senior citizens. It was the hallmark, nay, the peak of the rugby season. Let’s be real for a second here, Kenyans love to party, have fun or both. This event offered this and so much more.
Years ago when Safaricom joined in, we had artists perform at the after party in the Safaricom Village on the venue, groups like Sautisol graced the event then. The crowd was massive such that only a miniscule portion of Nyayo Stadium was unoccupied…Lines stretched around the stadium with party and rugby fans waiting to purchase and grace the event with their relentless and untamed fervor.
Keep reading… I hope I didn’t lose you at fervor. Now, before Safaricom, it was EABL under the flagship Tusker and boy was it a party even then. It was as if the supreme gods of barley let loose the sprinklers of beer. Rugby and beer (or whatever floats your boat) go together like Mombasa Road and traffic. Watching our boys wearing proud our country’s jersey and give entertaining rugby was the bees knees. Simply put, it was amazing, and being as patriotic as we are, we turned up in droves not a kaimati (forgive me for being half luhya but a small umati is a kaimati). However the question remains, what happened? Turnout is lower than ever yet our team is better, there’s a stadium with shade, not like nyayo with the nil cover from the sun trying to roast us like the roated goat ribs we enjoy. So what really happened?
Sometime back we had unconfirmed reports of brand wars between the two sponsors. That really didn’t sit well with the fans. Next there was that thing where immediately the games ended, guys had to leave the vicinity of the venue….but I’ll do this differently… I’ll say what I saw and give my opinion.
This time there was adequate security at the entrance, there was good food courtesy of Mama Rocks and other companies… Now before you go ham and say money has been poured, I happened to eat from their truck at Blankets and Wine and the burgers were tops so… Yeah… Chill.
There was something I also didn’t expect to see, there was the Tusker Village. I had thought it would not be there but i must say, they did pretty well. Food and beverage tents were in plenty, Smirnoff were busy with brand activation… It was all cool. Then I went inside the stadium…..
It was honestly deeply disappointing to find thousands of empty seats… I mean, the total attendance if I was to give arough estimate over the three days was in the ballpark of 10,000 people. The VIP section was not full (hehehe as always) though they did serve these tu-cool tu bitings hapo… Tortilla chips with the dip….. Damn I live food… But I digress to undress this mystery. ..
So, the big Q, the elephant in the room (Hands 👐 off our Elephants.. Actually all our wildlife…I want my my kids, if I‘ll be lucky to have some, to be able to see them)… What happened to the Safari7s we knew and loved? Well, that can be answered in two parts. Please remember these are my own opinions and as such I can voice them and if you disagree comment with civility….hurling insults shows how uncultured and uncouth (always wanted to say that word) you are. So….
First, profit over customer satisfaction. I’m going to assume you guys understand ROI or Return on Investment. Corporate entities are in business mainly to make profits and sometimes in the quest to do that, they lose sight of the people who make it happen… The customers. If your client base is happy, they will return and by word of mouth, propagate the gospel of your product… Taking away the performing artists, maybe and a strong one at that, the venue kind of hurt the client pockets.. . This makes it less alluring to the fans… Also, the demographic kinda hurt attendance… Making it family friendly is all fine with me, but, the larger percentage do attend to have fun. In layman’s terms, drink, eat, pay homage to ancestors with libations that cost twice their retail price and dance. This is a tricky one though because a customer can never be 100% satisfied… so, you lose some, you win some.
Next, is marketing. This, unfortunately, is what I think has strangled this great event. Not quietly, no, very violently. Tusker is an extremely well known brand, and Safaricom is the largest mobile service provider in the country. If EABL and Safaricom came together, planned, and marketed the hell out of this event, the attendance wouldn’t have been pitiful. Let’s agree, they have the funds…. I mean, its obvious bwana.
I learned of the event, two weeks to that Saturday. .. Two weeks??!! Is this a premier rugby event on the continent or just a funeral announcement… These two companies do have really skilled, large and effective marketing teams. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they didn’t do their job, but maybe they should have started the campaigns early… Put some influencers on that *insert cuss word here*….
Early continuous marketing means that a larger audience is reached, a larger demographic can be targeted and fan estimates can be collated. Think about it this way, radio and print ads rwach millions daily….social media reaches several million too… And I’m including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat sponsored marketing…Yani we’re at the point Masaku 7s is greater in attendance than the gotdamn Safari7s???
*LOUD-A** sigh* However, I will give props where due… This year was kinda awesome. .. The Tusker village was amazing… it rocked. Adequate beverages, food and the DJ did kill it (metaphorically).
The sound was perfect…None of that DJ talking in the middle of the set nonesense 😒😒. It was great fun. The team players from the different countries as well as our own were really friendly and chill. Honestly, I’d love Safari7s to go back to being that event where you meet up with your pals, grab a few barley waters (hehehe)
and catch up. . . All over a rugby game, the mexican wave, the Shujaaz kicking ass, some roast meat, chips and dip, great music, new friends and relaxing fun under good shade. Yes I like the cover from sunlight that Kasarani offers…
In closing, conclusion,whatever,marketing was this year’s event great undoing because that after party though.. . ..