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Oliver Twist: the Funky Marketing Lever

“Entertainment of the people, for the people, and by the people” – #OliverTwistocracy

When launching a marketing campaign, various levers may be deployed, including adverts, road shows, game shows, PR, launch events etc. The right mix of levers based on the product in question usually leads to success in the market place. This mix gives your product unstoppable leverage. The ‘D’banj-Oliver’ dance video competition, created by ace music producer Don Jazzy, is a lever of sorts.

Created on the 18th of August, the competition has won an amazing customer patronage, boasting almost 25,000 hits in a few days. A few things are noticeable. Customer response is not local. There is a growing response from Nigerians in the Diaspora and also a few foreigners, signifying product acceptance from the Western world. A fully global reach is definitely imminent.

Analytically, one would ask, what was the customer need? What do people want? People are definitely in search of a spotlight moment, wanting to express themselves freely. The thought of a remotely possible reward further becomes an incentive to do what you have always wanted to do.  People want to dance, act, entertain, be entertained and have fun. They want to be seen, recognised, mentioned and appreciated. It is these needs that Don Jazzy either knowingly or inadvertently has targeted with this competition. With ‘The Entertainer’ himself, D’banj, featuring on the Oliver track, it makes the competition such a strategic fit to these customer needs.

Evidently, the competition is transforming customers via backward integration. They are not only receiving, they are creating and producing. The ‘D’banj – Oliver’ competition is creating producers and entertainers out of customers. The musical product is intense in fostering customer experience. Peopl e are involved in the product. It makes them happy, and fuels an internal ‘feel – good’ experience. Experiential products are known to win customers largely. So many of the videos uploaded already were clearly done for fun and nothing else, pure entertainment – the customer experience.

The typical reality TV show involves several talented individuals vying to audition. Large halls are hired and huge spend is incurred on lighting, multimedia, logistics, security and sound engineering. “Oliver Twist” seems to be an innovative alternative to this existing model.  Why hire a large hall, pay for an elaborate sound system and live band, coupled with logistics and security costs? Don Jazzy’s Oliver Twist model is deployed online, subtly transferring the cost of production to the customer.

Don Jazzy and his team created the content, recorded a simple, easy, 2 minute “how to” video, and uploaded online at minimal cost. It was then left to the online and offline audience to download the content, create their own concepts, rehearse, self-audition, and upload their videos, all at their own cost.

With several video submissions, the buck then stops at the Don’s desk, leaving him and his team to watch, analyse, judge and select winners of the competition. Fortunately for him, what he has created for Mohits, at a minimal cost, is an ‘ideas bank’ for video entertainment. Idea generation is the first step of the innovation process, and Don Jazzy has through this competition utilised this concept. The submissions from his customers, serve as feedback, indicating further customer preferences, styles, imaginations, and proclivities. These can easily be harnessed, leveraged and refined to feed into the next Mo’hits music video production, as the case may be.

As is the case with every model and strategy, there are attendant risks involved. With customers becoming producers and entertainers in this competition, there is the risk of the loss of control on quality and appropriateness of content. Consequently, there are already evidences of video submissions that some have assessed to be inappropriate, which should be rated for viewing. Risk mitigation for this marketing strategy will require content constraining guidelines for future purposes.

Obviously, marketing channels such as YouTube, user generated content and viral campaigns have become a new frontier in engagement for brands willing to take the plunge. Regardless, the media ripples of ‘Oliver’ have extended their spread to “old media” as well with Channels Television airing a spot profile on the Entertainment segment of its highly rated 10 o’clock news.

The whole competition creates further market penetration power for the Mo’hits firm, its major brands – D’banj and DonJazzy, and speculatively, may well be a marketing strategy just ahead of the next album launch. Market sweeping product sales will certainly be in order.

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