Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vodacom Turns Red But Confused on How it Benefits Consumers

Kgothatso Madisa

The before and after of Johannesburg's Ponte building.
Vodacom is red; the South African mobile phone network operator is not letting us forget that as we are reminded at about every commercial break we see on television. They have brought back characters from previous advertisements to show that blue is no longer in. I like red and Vodacom says the change has taken place throughout all its operations across Africa.

There are billboards on major roads and highways and frankly I believe that some will cause accidents as they are loud and force people to slow down and read. As one approaches Johannesburg from Pretoria they would first pass the headquarters, Vodaworld, which has massive red billboards despite their failure to change the colours on satellite dishes. Then the massive change to the Johannesburg skyline appears as the Vodacom sign on the Ponte building now has red neon lights rather than the previous blue. Are they even allowed to change the skyline of Africa’s wealthiest city?!

Vodacom now looks like big sister - Vodafone.
The message has gone through and less than a week later we know that they are red, but what they have failed to explain properly to their clients is why they are red. I’m a journalism student and can easily call them to find out why they’ve had a colour change, but I will not. I want to be a normal South African citizen who cannot ask these questions to any official from the company.

I have read a few articles on the internet and have realised that Vodacom says that the colour was changed to inspire passion and energy. They also say the new colour makes them a ‘younger company’.

They say investigations have been conducted on the change and results show that red communicates passion, hot, power, love, daring, bold and excitement. Why did Cell C not realise that before they shifted from red?

Vodacom has spent about R200 million on re-branding and restructuring certain business structures like Call Centres and they say this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Is it the end of
Yebo Gogo?
I am also wondering whether we are ever going to see “Yebo Gogo” again. The characters used in those commercials are back on our TV screens to introduce us to the new brightness of the company and I have also read that the new slogan says, 'Power to You'.

I wish the articles I have read would stop giving me complicated language about businesses and confusing messages about Vodacom aligning itself with big sister who is based in the United Kingdom, Vodafone. I wish they would just tell me that they are planning to reduce text message and phone call prices – if that’s not the case than the red is useless to me – a young, bright South African.

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