By: @kharlar, a friend and fellow blogger
So LIME has withdrawn its sponsorship for the reality show the “Teacha’s Pet” featuring entertainer Vybz Kartel. This announcement isn’t suprising with the recent artist’s recent legal issues that suddenly took a turn for the worst with him being charged for murder amongst other things.
I didn’t anticipate that Vybz Kartel would be charged with a crime during the series but from the outset I thought LIME’s association with the artist was very risky. Here are some key takeaways to consider from this debacle:
- Be mindful of who represents your brand:Vybz Kartel is a very popular entertainer and sure to attract a crowd. Unfortunately, as of late he doesn’t seem to be very stable. From fallout with business partners, to statements during lectures and interviews that he doesnt consider himself a role model (and hence isn’t concerned about what others adopt from his behaviour), to eccentricities such as bleaching and wearing hair extensions, it seems that his public persona isn’t the stalwart of stability and responsibility that I would want associated with my brand. I understand that LIME is trying to be more than just a telecom and is trying to appeal to a wider cross-section of people but they need to be careful of who they use as representatives of their brand in trying to achieve this.
- Focus on your product/service rather than gimmicks:Kartel is a very popular entertainer and could do well to increase the sales of the products he represents. LIME benefited from this with the increased sales of its TV phones. Demand was high as people wanted to see the “Too hot for TV” scenes of the show that wouldn’t be aired on local tv. Now, that strategy worked for a while to boost sales of the phone but what happens now that the gimmick used to attract customers is no longer valid? If the offering of the product is not sustainable then customers could feel cheated in the end.
- Ensure that endorsements align with company culture: LIME was main sponsor of “Teacha’s Pet”, a reality show aiming to find a mate for Kartel. Now, on the face of it that doesnt seem too bad, however with multiple versions of the show claiming to be raunchier than the other, its quality and value came into question. It may serve its purpose as entertainment, but I dont anticipate that it would fit in well with LIME’s structured business image. When compared to its competitor, Digicel, LIME is more stoic and serious. And while LIME may be trying to seem open, “younger” and more fun, Vybz Kartel’s instability and the lewdness of the programme itself, may not be what LIME needs to help improve its public image.
Initially it may have been a good idea to align a product (Mobile TV) with a popular entertainer/tv show, but more consideration should be put into who a company aligns itself with. At the end of the day the entertainer may gain popularity and sales may improve in the short-term, but once the gimmick dies down so too may the intended benefits.