Friday, October 23, 2009

Fart Marketing and Cellular Operator Collusion

We all have cellphones, don’t we? And we all love our cellphones, don’t we?

I have one. I love mine.

I love Vodacom

I pay the costs. And I still love my phone. I am not one of those people calling for a reduction in costs.

Although that would be nice

I also appreciate the cellphone adverts and brochures that detail different packages and what they offer. That kind of marketing and advertising empowers me as a consumer. It provides me with details that I can use to compare packages, options and phones.

What I hate is hot-air marketing. What I call ‘Fart Marketing’. Marketing that does not help me. Marketing that takes up thousands of billboards, hours of TV and radio time, billions of Rands in (at times, ridiculous) sponsorships and events

Fart Marketing does not empower me as a consumer. And yet, I know that most of my money that goes to my cellular provider, Vodacom, goes to Fart Marketing

There has been much press concerning high cellular costs, price-fixing and collusion. For example,  On October the 19th, 2009, The Times ran a report on the price-fixing probe. On the same day, Bloomberg reported on the collusion probe.

I was driving to (and from) OR Tambo airport yesterday. Within several kilometers, I saw approximately 14 MTN billboards. Photographic evidence attached, thanks to my cellphone camera.  I see cellular-operator billboards everywhere. I hear the jingle son the radio all the time. I see cute (and ridiculously stupid) meerkats dancing on my TV screen, too often. I see stadiums, facilities and events, sponsored and branded by cellular operators

These cellular operators are everywhere. Using their Fart Marketing to stink up every marketing channel available

I know some of my cellphone costs got to infrastructure development. I know that some of my cellphone costs go to the sponsoring of community development and social upliftment projects. I know that some of much of my cellphone costs go to huge salaries and corporate waste. And I know that most of my cellphone costs go to supporting Fart Marketing

Again, I must stress, I love my cellphone. I pay my bills. Vodacom does a great job.

I am not picketing and demonstrating for a reduction of cellphone bills

Although that would be nice

I am, however, disgusted with all the Fart Marketing that takes place. A whole lot of hot air, that tells me nothing more about a particular service, package or solution

Cellphone operators need to work together. I support collusion.

Viva collusion

I want cellphone companies to collude on the sponsoring of more Vodacom sponsored schools, MTN sponsored medical clinics, Cell C sponsored crime-fighting initiatives and Virgin Mobile sponsored feeding programs

Take my money. But please stop using my money to brand yet another stadium, put up yet another billboard or buy yet more SABC or DSTV airtime

Cellular operators, please start being responsible capitalists. Stop wasting our money on Fart Marketing. Start using consumer money for these socially responsible initiatives

Consumers, please start being responsible consumers. Stop falling for Fart Marketing, and start supporting organizations that use our money primarily for the social good, and not for more meerkat airtime

1 comment:

  1. I also don't mind the contributions for need causes, but do object to mega salaries and unnecessary expenditure. On the other hand I am like many others looking forward to the reductions