Digital? Bah!

I suppose this is more of a memo to myself than anything else. I started my crusade for taking advertising digital in GH. First by trying to get my agency up to speed on what’s breaking news on the digital front and the possible ways it will change how people engage with one another and how we can engage with them.

And i have managed to effectively always answer the rebuttals that come in the form of the hesitant question “But Obii, this is Africa, how will it work?” That’s been our excuse for many things and that’s why we’re so far behind. It’s amazing how the fact that we have jumped the internet revolution and delved right into the mobile revolution doesn’t intrigue anyone.

it’s like everyone’s waiting for this green light that says OK, now our ENTIRE audience is ready to be reached via digital. Unless we have plans of morphing into Asia, that will never happen. Everybody won’t be ready at the same time. Geez, we’re ahead of North America and some of Europe with regards to mobile penetration and usage. that’s not enough? What else are we waiting for? Mpesa, Mxit, iHub and now Google are all determined to kick some ass in mobile Africa and yet we still cant see it?

i had a client, who frankly should know better, tell me they didnt believe in web metrics that said there was a growing population of Africans on Facebook and Twitter and that the penetration of Smartphones and mobile web based data plans wasn’t enough to prove there was a growing audience just waiting to be reached via those platforms. 

I was shocked. Mouth open, dropped jaw type shocked. And it messed up my weekend.But that really is our challenge if you think about it. For every one of us who is dedicated to creating the digital revolution in these parts, these are the sort of walls we will have to deal with. 

Now i’m fishing around for any campaigns from West Africa, that have the slightest hint of a digital angle to use in my “here’s proof” presentation. My fear is i wont find any. Then what?

Like a great ad man once said many years ago, i wish i could just go back but this time say “the consumer’s not stupid. She checks facebook with her mobile phone”.


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