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Data war as Glo, Airtel deploy star actors to woo customers


Globacom service center. Photo/Nairametrics

As more and more Nigerians get sucked into the alluring world of the pervasive internet and its social media offshoots, the battle among telecommunication companies to woo customers to buy data from them has become intense.

In fact so intense has the data war become that not even the regular advertisement campaigns are enough to fuel the competition.

Nollywood actors have been dragged into the war to make it even juicier, as costumers are entertained with quality acting in drama skits that position data as the king in modern communication.

Nowhere else is the data war more pronounced than between Glo and Airtel, which have deployed Nollywood star actors and musicians to assist them in driving traffic to their platforms through the use of data, both for social and business endeavours.

For Airtel, which couches its theme as ‘Data is Life,’ has Idowu Philips, Ngozi Nwosu, Lateef Adedimeji, and Dele Odule as the main drivers of these drama skits that speak to the specific situations of most Nigerian homes in terms of the dramatic issues and their resolutions.

It starts with ‘The In-Laws – Marriage 101’ and a young wife is being tutored by her mother-in-law about managing a home and the things she needs to succeed.

The mother-in-law bombards the daughter-in-law with constant reminders of the things she needs to get as she returns from work.

Although ‘The In-Laws – Marriage 101’ is less dramatic, not so ‘Meet The In-Laws – Naming,’ which takes the data drive a notch higher. As mothers-in-law from both sides arrive for the naming, it’s selfie battle that rages.

Nwosu appears more savvy at first, as her teams grabs the attention with the selfie-stick and clicks away with the newborn, but Philips catches the bug and volunteers her iPad and attention also swings her way.

Watching TV could also be a source of bitterness, especially when in-laws from both sides have just one TV to settle for, but with different viewing tastes to satisfy.

And so in ‘The In-Laws – Oh Mama,’ Nwosu is watching a programme she really likes; she only makes to drop her tea tray in the kitchen and before she returns, Philips has changed the channel.

A scuffle ensues until Adedimeji goes inside and gifts them their own iPads. And just when he settles to watch his soccer match, his father comes in to change the channel to an Indian music station.

Adedimeji abandons the parlour for his father and goes to his room to continue watching his match on his phone to ‘Own my Own Space’ with ‘data is life.’

On the other hand, Glo has raised the stakes with its ‘Glo Oga SIM’ drama skits that parade an array of actors and music stars like Shola Shobowale, Patience Ozokwor, Kunle Bamtefa, King Sunny Ade, Van Vicker and others.

In one of the skits, the party is about to start, but Ozokwor and Shobowale are not yet there. They meet along the way; there is open rivalry between them.

As they zoom off, Ozokwor’s assistant shows her Google map indicating the way.

Shobowale’s party fails to consult her gadget; she relies on people on the roadside to show her the way and she arrives late when the party is in full swing and Ozokwor and KSA are digging it on the dance floor.

What is worse, Shobowale is smeared in mud as she ran into trouble on her way, and she is splashed with mud. She arrives disheveled and charges at Ozokwor for taking the shine out of her.

On another skit, Ozokwor is smart enough to have migrated to online marketing of her wares. She snaps the designs in her shop and posts them online. Her rival Shobowale merely awaits customers to come in in the traditional way. As a customer in her shop sees Ozokwor’s new posts, she gets up and leaves.

When Shobowale realises ‘her’ customer is headed for Ozokwor’s shop, she begins to tug at her to return to her shop, but Ozokwor counters her for the customer’s attention until Kunle Bamtefa, in an attempt to separate them, suffers heart attack and that ends the war for customer.

Indeed, it is Airtel’s ‘Data is Life’ theme that best captures what has obviously become data war among telecos, as they jostle to woo customers with cheaper and efficient data, as the new frontier platform for telecommunication. Glo’s ‘Oga SIM’ is big too on data promises for business and social enjoyment.

However, while Airtel is somewhat modest in its deployment of star actors for its ‘Data is Life’ drama skits, Glo goes full throttle is its deployment and enlists an array of some of the biggest acts.

Indeed, Glo has merely reinforced its belief in the Nigerian project, as it pioneered its Glo ambassadorial endorsement of Nigerian star acts as part of its campaign many years before now.

Clearly, through the adverts the two telecos have shown their commitment to the Nigerian ideal and investing in local talent.

After all, users of their data are Nigerians and deploying Nigerian stars has the capability to endear them more to their numerous customers across the country.

However, how reliable and satisfactory are the promises these telcos are making regarding their data offerings? Only customers can tell.

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