Product: Isolezwe Asidlale
Agency: Always Active Technologies (AAT)
Country: South Africa
In South Africa, print newspapers are struggling and the general statistical trend is a decline in circulation and readership. Isolezwe, the Kwazulu-Natal based modern isiZulu language newspaper that champions the reading needs of its audience, had bucked the print industry trend over the past five years by showing steady but slow growth. Isolezwe sought to protect and increase this growth.
Research on past promotional campaigns indicated that basic and feature phones dominated Isolezwe’s audience, with phones such as the Samsung E250 and Nokia Asha prevailing. This tied in with industry research estimating that only 48 percent of South African adults own a data-connected mobile phone. As such, the campaign was run over USSD which works on all mobile phones and is very familiar to Isolezwe’s target audience, who use USSD to re-charge airtime and to send “Please Call Me” SMS messages. USSD carries its simplicity as an advantage over other mobile channels, enabling entrants to quickly and effectively enter the competition without barriers to entry such as media, apps, and high-data downloads.
The Asidlale Campaign measured well against a previous month-long campaign in that Asidlale ran throughout the Premier Soccer League campaign and thus incentivised and entertained entrants over a longer, more sustained period.
As a regional and vernacular daily newspaper, Isolezwe is constantly mindful of its circulation figures in context of the threat of digital news channels. Isolezwe aimed to link readers’ print experience to their mobile devices without losing the experience and essence of what makes Isolezwe successful as a brand. In addition to this challenge, Isolezwe understood its audience was limited to basic and feature phones and thus an Internet-rich experience was not an option. Isolezwe thus wanted to first, engage and reward its loyal audience on a ubiquitous mobile platform; and second, increase circulation.
For the Asidlale campaign, Isolezwe wanted to reach readers of all ages and genders who shared an interest in soccer through the Premier Soccer League and gamification. It especially targeted readers who enjoyed the experience of gamification in order to change purchase behavior.
Media channel communication choice was naturally the Isolezwe Daily itself, which was used to communicate the campaign launch as well as regular updates on winners and carry-overs. On the launch daily, a detailed explanation with mobile screenshots was included with a front page banner introducing and explaining the campaign. On Tuesday and Thursday, scheduled competition days, a half page was dedicated to campaign explanation, terms and conditions, winner announcements and game details in order for entrants to prepare themselves for their choices. The Isolezwe Daily was thus used as the campaign communication vehicle, and the USSD number was clearly advertised in all marketing communications.
In November 2014, Isolezwe launched the Asidlale competition to its readers -- running in conjunction with the PSL -- through to May 2015. Bringing an element of gamification to life, readers could purchase a Tuesday or Thursday daily and enter the Asidlale competition with the unique code printed on each newspaper. With a copy of Isolezwe purchased, entrants would simply dial the advertised USSD number and enter their unique code. Once proof-of-purchase was confirmed in real time, entrants could make quick predictions for each of the eight games scheduled for the following day. Predictions were kept simple with the choices being Team A Win, Team B win, or draw. Each round had a prize of R5, 000 for anyone who accurately predicted the results of all eight games. In cases of no winners, R2, 000 was carried over to the next round.
All scheduled PSL games with dates and times were imported into the AAT Mobile Platform along with unique codes that were printed on each daily newspaper. With the data in place, the system automatically followed the flow of the PSL Season, opening and closing the competition time zones and reporting on all entries.
The campaign, which was within Mobile Marketing Association guidelines. The cost of entry -- which was 20 cents for 20 seconds -- was presented to the user on first interaction. A link to terms and conditions was presented via mobile and print. Data security and privacy was paramount and as little as possible user information was maintained. Data was stored in secure, audited physical and software server environments. All entries were opt-in and no subscription or notification services were employed.
The campaign achieved its objectives and goals. The Asidlale competition enjoyed 160,000 interactions over USSD with 61,000 successful predictions cast by 41,000 unique entrants. This in turn drove sales to increase by 4000-4500 copies per pool day, which was 4 percent of the paper's concurrent audited circulation figure.