BrandArena: February 2015

Friday 27 February 2015

Calvin Klein Collection: Who stole Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscar dress?

Lupita Nyong'o wore the dress while presenting an award at the Oscars in Los Angeles. Source: AP
The $150,000 pearl-adorned dress worn by Kenyan-born actress Lupita Nyong’o to the Academy Awards on Sunday has been stolen from her Hollywood hotel room early Tuesday, according to emerging reports.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives are investigating the theft. As the time of filing this report, no arrests have been made.

The dress was a white Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein gown decorated with 6,000 pearls.

The London Hotel released a statement to E! News: “This is a terribly unfortunate situation, and we are working with law enforcement on their investigation.”

YouTube still doesn't make a profit for Google, even with 1 billion viewers - Report

Almost nine years after acquiring YouTube for $1.65 billion, the site has still not turned a profit for Google. According to the Wall Street Journal, YouTube’s financials are “roughly break-even,” despite posting revenues of $4 billion in 2014.

YouTube is one of the most popular websites in the world, with 1 billion monthly users. Revenue is also on the up, from $3 billion in 2013. However, with most views being generated through direct links or video embeds, YouTube is still struggling to make more money than it’s spending.

The report suggests Google is pressuring YouTube to both broaden its audience and increase ad sales. So, expect to have to sit through more pre-rolls before getting to see the video you clicked on. And for YouTube celebrities to be pushed harder than ever to build loyal audiences.

Report: India Tops Facebook's Bugs List for Second Consecutive Year

“India contributed the largest number of valid bugs again this year at 196, with an average reward of $1,343”, according to Social networking giant Facebook.

In a report by the social network post by Collin Greene, security engineer at Facebook, share of people in developing countries with Internet access stands at only 32 percent

India, which has over 112 million Facebook users, cornered an average reward of $1,343 (about Rs. 84,000) in the US-based firm’s Bug Bounty programme.

Egypt and the US followed at the second and third spots by volume, with 81 bugs and 61 bugs, respectively, and an average reward size of $1,220 and $2,470, it added.

The UK, which took the fourth spot in reporting bugs, earned the highest amount per report in 2014, receiving an average of $2,768 for 28 bugs.

The Philippines was at fifth, earning a total of $29,500 for 27 bugs, it said.

“We’ve paid out more than $3 million since we got started in 2011, and in 2014 we paid $1.3 million to 321 researchers across the globe. The average reward in 2014 was $1,788,” Facebook Security Engineer Collin Greene said in the post.

KFC Introducing Edible Cookie Coffee Cups to the UK

KFC has just unveiled the UK’s first edible coffee cup. It’s called the Scoff-ee cup.

The "Scoff-ee Cup," an edible coffee cup that smells like grass and tastes like chocolate.

The product is still in the trial phase and not yet available for purchase, but according to a KFC press release, the treat "has been made from a unique biscuit, wrapped in sugar paper, and lined with an indulgent layer of heat-resistant white chocolate. " As you drink the coffee in the cup, the white chocolate lining will "begin to melt, slowly."

The cups were created in partnership with food scientists The Robin Collective and are infused with different scents, known to improve your mood. Although we reckon an edible white chocolate cup after your coffee might do that pretty well on its own.

Sochi Olympics generated $53 million profit – IOC

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia's Sochi generated an operating profit of about 3.25 billion rubles ($53 million), the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Thursday.

The IOC said that it would give its 20-per-cent share of the profits – R650m – back to the Russian Olympic Committee “for use in the development of sport, the Olympic Channel and an Olympic Museum in Russia.”

In total, the IOC contributed $833m to support the Sochi Games, an increase of $83m over previous estimates. The IOC will contribute $1.5bn to support the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio.

“The executive board agreed that there remains a misconception around the cost of hosting the Olympic Games and Olympic winter Games, and the difference between the operational budget and the infrastructure budget,” the IOC said. “All recent editions of the Games have either made an operational profit or broken even. The Olympic Games are privately funded, with a large contribution from the IOC.”

The Sochi Olympic Games were held February 7-23, 2014 and were the first Winter Olympics held in Russia. Russian athletes topped the medal list, winning 13 gold medals and 33 medals in total.

Image credit: IOC/Ian Jones

BBM Chats Just Got More Fun with the Introduction of “Naija” Sticker collection

In just about a year of BBM™ upgrade that allows customers to further personalize and enhance their chat experiences by BlackBerry Limited, Nigeria's version of the sticker collection is now available.

With icons like ‘Laugh Wan Kill Me Die’, ‘Abeg No Vex’, ‘How Far?’, ‘Any Better?’ etc, this sticker collection is likely to be hit especially among trendy Nigerian youth who are fond of BBM™. The sticker goes for the standard prince of $1.60 which is N334.24.

Here are screenshots of the stickers.

Airtel Nigeria Unveils New Outlet at Apapa Mall

Leading telecom services provider Airtel Nigeria has commissioned the first of several model Express Shops to enhance customer service delivery experience in Apapa.

The new showroom which is located in the Apapa Mall, along Park Lane, is a walk-in service centre that offers customers the convenience and ease of access to Airtel’s range of value-added products and services as well as the comfort of first-hand contact and interactions with customer service agents.

The shop is fully equipped to provide a diverse range of services including enquiries, SIM registration and replacement, sales of low-end and high-end mobile devices, electronic and voucher recharge among other services.

Speaking at the launch, the company’s Regional Operations Director, Lagos, Mr. Femi Oshinlaja, remarked that the opening of the Express Shop inside the Apapa Mall Showroom underlines Airtel Nigeria’s commitment to providing first class service experience to customers in the unfolding its promises.

According to him, the commissioning of the Express Shop is part of a drive to ensure that customers get the same first class experience in all Airtel outlets across the country both in company run outlets as well as those run by Channel Partners.

Ipsos Launches Ipsos Connect for Brand Communication, Advertising and Media Services

Ipsos has announced the launch of Ipsos Connect, a global specialized business to coordinate Ipsos' services in the domains of Brand Communication, Advertising and Media. Ipsos Connect amalgamates the legacy brands of Ipsos ASI and Ipsos MediaCT.

As the worlds of brand communications, advertising and media become increasingly complex, fragmented and digitalized, Ipsos has made the decision to help its clients better embrace this modern complexity. Ipsos will be connecting the world class knowledge of both Ipsos ASI and Ipsos MediaCT in brand, advertising and media research, with investment in new approaches and products that will be a better fit to the digital age.

"The newly formed business line is in response to the converging of the needs of our ASI and MediaCT client groups. This is one of the most significant initiatives we are taking at Ipsos within the framework of our strategic "New Way" program to ensure our business is more relevant and more effective" says Didier Truchot, Founder and CEO of Ipsos.

Ipsos Connect will be led by Yannick Carriou and will report to Didier Truchot, Ipsos CEO and Chairman. Yannick Carriou has been the Global Head of both the Ipsos MediaCT and Ipsos ASI legacy brands since December 2013. He joined Ipsos in 2010 as Country Manager for France.

Commenting on Ipsos Connect, Carriou says: "In marketing and communications, there are very few topics that are triggering as many client questions as those about the changes in media consumption behavior, the new forms of advertising and communication, the intrusion of social networks to balance and sometimes counter the top-down speeches of brands and media, the fragmentation of media channels and the growing importance of content to attract audiences. Ipsos Connect aims to be the preferred global partner for companies to measure and amplify how media, brands and consumers connect through compelling content, great communication and relevant media choices."

Nominations Open for Third Annual Music Educator Award

The Music Educator Award to be presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation was established to recognize current educators (kindergarten through college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

Each year, one recipient will be selected from 10 finalists and will be recognized for his/her remarkable impact on students' lives. The third annual winner will be flown to Los Angeles to accept the award and receive a $10,000 honorarium at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY® Award during GRAMMY Week 2016.

The winner will also attend the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards® ceremony, and a range of GRAMMY Foundation events. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and the schools of all 10 finalists will receive matching grants. The honorariums and grants provided to the finalists and schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Foundation's Education Champions Converse, Disney Performing Arts, Ford Motor Company Fund, Journeys, and Microsoft.

GTbank Opens New Branch In Ijaye-Ogba

In a bid to deepen its presence in West Africa's business hub Lagos, Guarantee Trust Bank has opened a new branch in Ijaye-Ogba.

The new branch comes as a sigh of relief for the bank customers around Ogba and its environs who have been clamouring for the extension of the bank at Ijaye Road due to huge traffic at its Afeez Bus Stop outlet.

Ijaye-Ogba is one of the fastest growing city in Lagos due to its closeness to Ikeja. It has high concentration of Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), Start Up firms and industrial and residential estates.

Chelsea Sign Major Shirt Sponsorship Deal With Yokohama

Chelsea FC has signed English football's second biggest shirt sponsorship deal - worth a reported  £40m per year - with a Japanese tyre manufacturer and will run from the first team through to youth level of the club.

This partnership is for an initial term of five years and begins at the start of the 2015/16 season.

Manchester United's seven-year deal with US car brand Chevrolet remains the biggest, worth around £50m per year.
Jose Mourinho shakes hands with Yokohama chairman Tadanobu Nagumo Photo: PA
Chelsea currently sit top of the Premier League and are in the last 16 of the Champions League, as well as the final of the Capital One Cup, taking place this Sunday.

The West London club are now one of the world's most recognised sporting brands with an estimated 500m fans and were the most watched English side worldwide last season with 31,000 broadcast hours.

‘It is an absolute pleasure to welcome Yokohama as our new Official Shirt Partner and we look forward to a successful relationship with them,’ said Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck.

‘Chelsea and Yokohama are a perfect fit. Both are global organisations with a focus on performance and innovation, as well as having huge ambition and an unwavering culture of success.

DHL Named Africa’s Number One International Freight Forwarder

DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist within Deutsche Post, has scooped the award for Africa’s International Freight Forwarder of the Year for the 3rd time. The International Award for Excellence in Air Cargo was voted by STAT Times’ readers worldwide and given to DHL at the STAT Times Awards in Johannesburg on February 26. 

Roger Olsson, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Sub Saharan Africa, who received the award, said: “DHL offers tailor-made solutions to businesses in Africa and it’s a service that’s second to none. It’s a tribute - to be named number one by STAT Time’s readers - to DHL’s strong African team that their dedication to excellence in international freight forwarding has been recognised yet again. DHL has been supporting the business in Africa for more than 35 years now but what’s most important is that we have continued to anticipate, adapt and create services that clearly meet Africa’s fast evolving business needs and help fulfill its vast potential.”

According to the 2014 year-end report(1) by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), trade activity across the African region remained positive despite major economies Nigeria and South Africa under-performing for parts of 2014. Regional growth supported demand for air freight and capacity rose just 0.9% for the year as a whole, helping to strengthen load factors. African carriers’ freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) grew by 12.2% in December and 6.7% for the year as a whole. Globally, the air cargo business is growing again after several years of stagnation with demand growth up 4.5% compared to 2013 measured by freight FTKs.

As a global market leader, DHL Global Forwarding has been the leading service provider in the region’s air freight industry. With a focus on the Oil and Gas and the Mining sectors in the past few years, DHL’s freight management team has been very successful in developing customized solutions for customers in these sectors. DHL Global Forwarding also saw significant volume growth in Africa in both its regular and charter operations connecting all regions with Africa for the Oil and Gas and the Mining sectors. In addition, the India-Africa and China-Africa lanes are growing strongly, driven mainly by the life sciences, pharmaceutical and high tech sectors. 

Android makes strong headway in “feature phone” Africa

Africa is poised to become a hotbed for mobile growth and commerce in the coming years, according to Opera Mediaworks’ State of Mobile Advertising report released today. Mobile is the driving force behind the continent’s accelerating internet adoption.
Based on data from two of Opera’s core businesses, its global mobile-ad platform (Opera Mediaworks) and its mobile-phone browser business (Opera Software), the report examines the mobile internet and mobile-advertising landscape across Africa. It highlights the tremendous opportunity that comes with a population’s move to the mobile web and smartphones.

Beyond the monetization potential of a world of new or localized apps and websites, there are distinct possibilities to harness the power of social networking and to implement innovative internet usage plans, as well as new ways to push forward digital healthcare initiatives in Africa.

Here are some key trends uncovered as part of the research:
Android devices push smartphone growth and mobile internet adoption
Africans remain more likely to use a non-smartphone compared to users globally, but the report indicates that smartphones, specifically Android devices, are a growing part of the mobile landscape. Android users, who now comprise almost 30% of the total mobile population, use the mobile web twice as much as feature-phone users. As Android phones get into the hands of more of the African population, mobile internet use is bound to increase. The strongest sub-markets for both page views and data consumption are Southern (South Africa and Namibia), Middle (Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Northern Africa (Sudan and Egypt), with the latter region approaching global averages in both categories.

NEXIM Signs US$302,000 Agreement Financial Grant To Sealink Project

The efforts of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) to facilitate the establishment of a regional maritime company, The Sealink Project, has received a fresh boost with the signing of a financial grant with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for US$302, 000 under the aegis of the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF).

The objective of the Sealink Project is to promote intra and inter- African trade, thereby fostering regional integration, economic growth and development in the West and Central African sub-regions. This is in line with the Government’s transformational policy on trade and transport as articulated in the Regional Trade component of the New Trade Policy.
L -R: Mr. Suleiman Shuaibu, Acting D-G of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA); Mr. Ousmane Dore, Resident Representative, African Development Bank Group, Nigeria country office; and Mr Roberts Orya, MD/CEO Nigerian Export-Import at the signing of Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) financial grant of US$302,000 to NEXIM Bank for the Sealink Project at the AfDB Offices in Abuja, February 26, 2015.
Speaking at the event, the Resident Representative for the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group in Nigeria, Mr. Ousmane Dore, reiterated AfDB’s commitment to promoting infrastructure development in Africa as being in line with the Bank’s overarching objective to spur sustainable economic development, social progress and poverty reduction in the regional member countries (RMCs). He indicated that an innovative maritime initiative such as the Sealink Project would greatly assist in bridging the artificial boundaries that have hitherto prevented trade, economic integration and a seamless logistic services within the region. 

He was particularly impressed that NEXIM deemed it strategic enough to enlarge the scope of the project to include the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) region (for which feasibility study part of the grant shall be applied), and expressed the hope that eventually the project would cover the entire region and enhance trade, free movement of persons, goods and services.

Also, the Acting Director-General of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Mr. Suleiman Shuaibu stated that the aim of his Directorate (which is under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is to enhance Africa’s development and integration by creating the enabling environment and opportunity for Nigerian professionals and indeed those of African descent to invest their immense intellect, expertise and skills in the economies of Africa towards bridging the widening economic and scientific gap between Africa and the rest of the world. Continuing, he indicated that the financial grant of US$ 302, 000 to NEXIM Bank for the Sealink project is in line with the Directorate’s interest to facilitate cooperation and integration in Africa through the mechanism of technical assistance and better cooperation with other African countries, especially given Nigeria’s role as leader in Africa.

Thursday 26 February 2015

PICTURES: When Etisalat CliqFest Hits FUTA

L-R- Analyst, Events and Sponsorships, Etisalat Nigeria, Martina Ogbebor; Manager, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Idiareno Atimomo; Dean of Student Affairs, Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Dr. Boniface Kayode Alese; President of Fifth Gear Consulting and Public Speaker, Niyi Adesanya; and Analyst, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Michael Nwoseh during a courtesy visit by staff of Etisalat Nigeria to the Dean of Student Affairs office, Federal University of Technology, Akure on Thursday 26th February 2015

L-R – Deputy Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Professor Adedayo Fasakin; President of Fifth Gear Consulting and Public Speaker, Niyi Adesanya; and Manager, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Idiareno Atimomo During a courtesy visit by staff of Etisalat Nigeria to the Deputy Vice Chancellor’s office, Federal University of Technology, Akure on Thursday

L-R - Manager, Youth Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Idiareno Atimomo; Analyst, Events and Sponsorships, Etisalat Nigeria, Martina Ogbebor; and President of Fifth Gear Consulting and Public Speaker, Niyi Adesanya during the Etisalat Cliqfest at the Federal University of Technology

Facebook’s Active Advertisers Hit 2 Million

Social media giant Facebook on Tuesday hit an active 2 million advertisers - a 33 percent increase from the 1.5 million it had in July 2014.

The vast majority of the advertisers, defined as those that have placed an ad on the social media platform in the last 30 days, represent small- and medium-sized business owners.

“Small business owners are really hard to reach and they are not tech savvy usually,” Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an interview. She added that 30 million small business owners have Facebook pages.

Facebook also launched a mobile app for advertisers to use to manage their campaigns.

Of Facebook’s newly acquired advertisers in the 2014 fourth quarter, 80 percent started by paying for a promoted post.

COO Sheryl Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed the post announcing the 2 million milestone, thanking “all the incredible entrepreneurs like you who are creating value for their communities.”

VO5 partners with Twitter for Brit Awards native video campaign

Unilever-owned VO5 is one of the first British brands to use Twitter’s native video service, after the new feature launched at the end of last month.

The hair styling brand will run two standalone ads on Twitter’s new video player during tonight’s Brit Awards, with one spot featuring VO5 products being used as ‘instruments’ in a sound check as the show starts, and a second inspired by Pitch Perfect’s ‘When I’m Gone’, also known as the Cup song.

The wider social media campaign, created by Jam, extends to VO5’s Twitter feed, which will tweet out hairstyle tips for men and women from the red carpet during the awards. The tips, shot by vloggers StyleSuzi, TalkBeckyTalk and Katie’s Beauty Blog, will also feature on VO5’s All Things Hair channel.

VO5 ran a similar campaign during the Brit Awards last year, sponsoring the Brit Awards video player using Twitter’s sponsored content service, Amplify.

Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs to win $75,000 by applying to 2015 Anzisha Prize

The 5th Anzisha Prize application phase is now open, and the search is on to find Africa’s youngest, most exciting social and business entrepreneurs under 22 years of age. Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with over 600m people under the age of 25. 

The Anzisha Prize is a growing social impact program entirely focused on accelerating the entry of millions of young Africans into viable and exciting entrepreneurship opportunities within high growth economic sectors.

The impact and success of the program to date has encouraged co-hosts African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation to extend their collaboration for a further 5 years. The Anzish Prize will be a feature of the entrepreneur landscape in Africa until 2020, and aggressively expand its activities to not only encourage young entrepreneurs, but strengthen and celebrate the ecosystem of organisations that develop young African entrepreneurial talent in this age group.

They call it the #AnzishaEffect (, and it is the power of stories about the very youngest entrepreneurs among us to encourage others to follow in their footsteps. Africa needs strong, innovative entrepreneurial young leaders to create jobs, solve problems and drive our economies. Our continent’s future will be determined by entrepreneurial leaders across all sectors.

“We have already seen the #AnzishaEffect at work through the inspirational stories and leadership of Anzisha Fellows like Laetitia Mukungu, Andrew Mupuya and Thato Kgatlhanye. They are now globally recognized and celebrated role models,” says Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. “We’re excited about expanding our support of the Anzisha Prize so that many more young entrepreneurs in Africa can make a lasting impact in their communities and countries.”

#SMWLAGOS: Quality Content Is Key To Social Media Marketing – MD

Leading online marketplace has highlighted quality content as key to leveraging social media contacts for business purposes.

Speaking at Kaymu’s featured event at the SMW Lagos held yesterday, 25th February at Terra Kulture, Managing Director of Kaymu, Evangeline stated, “If you provide valuable content to your community they will pay for you to keep providing it”.

The panel session tagged SME 101: Converting social media to cash, featured seasoned experts in the field of social media namely; social media marketer Tosin Ajibade of Olorisupergal, Olusola Adewunmi, CEO Contagious 128 in the company of Kaymu MD Evangeline Wiles and Abiola Fabio, Kaymu’s Community Manager.

The event moderated by Kaymu’s Head of Marketing Communications, Tomiwa Oladele, attracted social entrepreneurs, business owners, and social media enthusiast seeking ways to maximize their social media platforms.

The CEO of Contagious 128, Olusola Adewumi   who spoke on converting your online communities to customers ,compared social media to real estate saying, “You are the Landlord of any platform you own, and like the landlord you have to find ways to build your tenants/attract visitors to your site’’.

GTBank’s Masters Cup, Season 4 Enters Knock-out Stage

The Onikan Stadium, Lagos is set to host the 4th edition of the GTBank Master’s Cup (formerly Heritage Cup) quarter finals scheduled for Thursday, February 26th, 2015 and Friday, 27th, February 2015. The Master’s Cup is a GTBank pioneered and sponsored football competition for first generation and missionary secondary schools in Lagos state to promote camaraderie and foster friendliness amongst competing schools.

The Season 4 of the prestigious football tournament commenced in November 2014 with 20 Male teams and 10 female teams from participating schools. The Season 3 of the football competition was won by Eko Boys High school in the male category and Queen’s College, Yaba in the female category.

The Quarter final stage of the competition will feature the 8 Male teams that qualified from the group stage. The teams include Western College, Yaba C.M.S Grammar School, Bariga Grace High School, Gbagada Jibril Martain Grammar School, Iponri St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka Federal Science and Technology College, Yaba St. Gregory’s College, Ikoyi and King’s College, Lagos.

Winners will be rewarded with the sum of N750,000.00, N500,000.00 and N350,000.00 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners respectively in both the male and female categories.

The Africa Best Practices Forum opens today in Lomé

The first Africa Best Practices Forum opens today in Lomé. Organised jointly by Ellipse Communication and the specialised recruitment agency AfricSearch, this forum brings together economic and political decision-makers to promote the dissemination of best practices.

"This forum will be an arena for discussions among public and private sector decision-makers in Africa. Because the level of investment depends on reforms undertaken by African states, there is an urgent need to accelerate these reforms to promote social and economic change, with the private sector acting as a lever," explains Didier Acouetey, president of AfricSearch.

In addition to delegations from Morocco, Rwanda and Singapore, heads of some of the biggest Pan-African development institutions will be in attendance. These include Jean-Louis Ekra, President of Afreximbank, Bassary Touré, Vice-President of BOAD, Hervé Assah, World Bank representative for Togo, and Feìlix Edoh Kossi Amenounve, General Manager of the Bourse régionale des valeurs mobilières in Abidjan.

They will focus in particular on new approaches to investment financing and innovative reforms. Many political decision-makers are also expected, including Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu, Prime Minister of Togo, who will be accompanied by Adji Otéth Ayasor, Minister of the Economy and Finance, and by Kako Nubukpo, Minister for Forecasting and Evaluation of public policies.

UK's Barclays to allow payments with Twitter

Barclays will become the first British bank to allow people to make payments to each other and small businesses using just their Twitter handle.

Launching on both Android phones and iOS devices next month (Tuesday 10th March), Twitter payments through Pingit will expand the existing service to social media and a potential  13.5 million Twitter users in the UK.

All Pingit users can take advantage of the service, regardless of whether they bank with Barclays, by linking their Twitter account to their Pingit profile under the app’s settings menu.

Darren Foulds, Director of Barclays Mobile Banking and Pingit said: “We are always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make people’s lives easier and customer feedback plays a big part in how we chose to further develop our apps.

“Adding the ability to pay people or a small business using just a Twitter handle brings together a social and digital experience to create a new step forward for mobile payments in the UK”.

Turkish Airlines signs shirt sponsorship deal Bosnian football club

Adding to a vast European football portfolio that features the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund, Turkey’s national carrier Turkish Airlines has signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Bosnian football club FK Sarajevo.

The terms of the multi-year agreement, which grants Turkish Airlines front-of-shirt branding, were not disclosed.

FK Sarajevo general manager Dino Selimovic identified the deal as an important step for his club, which has suffered turbulent financial times over recent years.

FK Sarajevo will wear kits featuring Turkish Airlines’ branding for the first time when it travels to Zvijezda Gradacac in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina tomorrow (Friday). The club is currently sitting second in the table.

Africa: Tech Trends for 2015

Over the past year, a lot of gain has been made in the African tech space. In fact, all the predictions that were cited last year have been right on the money. Many analysts have predicted great internet growth over the next two or three years, but I am guessing it will happen faster than we thought. And with Facebook becoming aggressive in offering the internet to the unreached through in Africa, more people than ever will move online.
The government’s involvement in technology in various countries is also an encouraging move. Kenya has been proactive over 2014 to ensure that it digitizes its processes and brings convenient service to the people. With this hindsight, here are my predictions for what 2015 holds in the digital sphere in Africa.

Incredible smartphone penetration with massive price drops
There is a quiet smartphone war going on across the continent. The dominance of Samsung as one of the only high end smartphones in Africa is gradually coming down with the increase of off market brands in Africa such as Tecno from China, Wiko from France and Infinix from Hong Kong.
Huawei has also made inroads into the continent. It recently reported that it has shipped three million smartphone handsets in East and Southern Africa this year.  According to the company, this makes it the second smartphone provider in Africa.
The massive price points for an entry level smartphone will continue to drop in the next year and probably this will probably be the greatest differentiator.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is also seeing cheap mobile smartphones being introduced in the market. In an article in the Business Daily online site in Nigeria, more Nigerians are opting for the Tecno brand due to its low priced smartphones.

Terragon Group to unveil first African-focused Mobile Advertising Technology at MWC 2015

The GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) has been pointed out as being one of the most important annual global events for the mobile industry, covering all verticals in the mobile ecosystem. At this year’s event, Terragon Group, Africa’s innovative and largest digital media company, is set to unveil its dynamic data monetization and advertising platform; a first for mobile in developing markets.

The data and advertising technology, called the ‘Adrenaline’, allows for advertisers to buy inventory and access to reach mobile users on organically generated channels which sit on non-internet based platforms on mobile devices. These channels include USSD based balance enquiry, Call-Me-Back messages, End of Call Notification, among others.
Terragon Group CEO Elo Umeh
This unveiling follows the company’s move in 2014, where it debut at the international event, launching its proprietary Mobile Advertising Server with new Advert formats built for the African market, for the company’s Mobile advertising arm of its business, Twinpine Limited.

Speaking on this development, Chief Executive Officer, Terragon Group, Elo Umeh, said that the planned unveiling of ‘Adrenaline’ was a reaffirmation of the giant strides the company has been making since its existence: “The Mobile World Congress event affords us the opportunity to be able to show that innovation can come out of Africa. We continually seek to use global events to showcase our local innovation, with both elements reinforcing each other to maintain market leadership in the digital media industry. This is what we believe at Terragon Group. Our passion for innovation allows us take intuitive steps towards a digital Africa.”

Umeh further stated, “Our ‘Adrenaline’ technology is a first of its kind around the world. This is because no other platform gives advertisers access to a wide range of African premium publishers and channels as we do. Our channels generate a lot of traffic daily and constitute the primary medium where a pre-dominant number of African mobile users access daily, considering that they are mostly prepaid subscribers.”

Emirates Increases Capacity on its Double Daily Nairobi Service

Emirates, a global connector of people and places, will connect even more people with Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, when it switches from the current Airbus A330-200 aircraft used on one of the two daily services to a larger Boeing 777-300 ER from 1 May.

The introduction of a Boeing 777-300ER will boost capacity on the route by 1638 seats a week, and make Nairobi an all-Boeing 777 operation for Emirates.

“Our Nairobi-Dubai service is one of our busiest routes in Africa, and it has been steadily growing since we first launched services to Kenya in October 1995 with just two weekly flights. Nairobi is a very popular destination for both business and leisure travellers, and is a gateway to many of the country’s major tourist attractions such as the Masai Mara and its east coast beaches. We anticipate that our additional capacity will stimulate further growth in both tourism and business traffic on the route,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Latin America, Southern and Central Africa.

“Travellers will be able to enjoy Emirates’ Boeing 777 service on both daily flights between Nairobi and Dubai, connecting conveniently to, or from, our worldwide network of more than 140 destinations -in particular, Europe, US, Far East and West Asia. This includes our A380 network of 34 destinations across the globe, such as Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Mumbai, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto.” he added,

#SMWEEKLAGOS Social Media Keeps Us Connected To Our Customers – MD

Jovago, – Africa’s largest online hotel booking platform has endorsed social media as one of their key channels for interacting with customers and handling travel requests and enquiries.

Travel curators, bloggers, photographers and the general travelling public now frequently use social media to re-position the African continent as a tourist friendly continent. In turn, travel websites, agencies and hotel aggregating websites have sprung up to cater to the teeming population of travellers and encourage an internal rediscovery of the African continent both for business and leisure purposes. This year’s #SMWTravelAfrica Day explored how online travel agencies, hotel booking portals, tourism boards, airlines and tour operators are working hard to harness the power of digital media to the delight of destination seekers and how they are keeping these customers satisfied, both on and offline.

Speaking at the session -#SMWTravelAfrica DEFYING SPACE & TIME: SOCIAL MEDIA TAKING YOU (& YOUR BUSINESS) PLACES - were Marek Zmyslowski, Managing Director,; Adetunji Adegbesan, Lecturer & Founder, Gidi Mobile; Ayo Oyewole, CEO, Afro Tourism; Fiewor Genevieve, Ticketing & Sales Manager, Africa World Airlines and hosted by Oluwaseun Olaniyan, OAP, Nigeria Info fm.

Marek Zmyslowski revealed that social media has been really vital in the way Jovago interacts with customers. “Our Facebook & Twitter pages are the most active as we have customers sending us messages about their bookings and to suggest the best hotels for them. With the phone networks being sometimes heavily, we find ourselves also relying heavily on social media as a channel to engage with our customers.”

CFA, Players Commend Promasidor, BME Concern For Support

Cowbell Football Academy (CFA) and two of its players have commended Promasidor Nigeria Limited and BME Concern for providing them tools that will aid training of young players.

Rector of Cowbell Football Academy (CFA), Godwin Dudu-Orumen; CFA Team Mate, Miracle Okocha; CFA Captain, Gidado Toyeeb; and Coordinator, Corporate Communications, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Mr. Isiaka Lawal; at the Main Bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos where Promasidor donated sporting equipment to CFA on Saturday
In conjunction with BME Concern, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, (makers of Cowbell, Onga, Toptea and Loya milk), Saturday, provided sporting materials for the Cowbell Football Academy (CFA). The items, which include leather balls, jerseys, boots, keeper gloves, water bottles and sports pumps, were presented to the Academy at the Main Bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos on Saturday, February 21st 2015.

 While receiving the items, the Rector of CFA, Godwin Dudu-Orumen, commended Promasidor for taking the initiative. He said since 2012 when the CFA was established, Promasidor has always been supportive of the cause unlike the case with other similar laudable ideas. “This is brilliant; many organisations establish institutions like CFA and go to bed without adequate and effective support to actualise the objectives. Ours is an exception as Promasidor is always around to attend to our cause.

Mr. Isiaka Lawal, Coordinator, Corporate Communications, Promasidor Nigeria Limited; in a group photograph with the Under-17 Team of the Cowbell Football Academy (CFA) at the Main Bowl of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos where Promasidor donated sporting equipment to CFA on Saturday
Encouraged by the presentation, Gidado Toyeeb, the CFA Captain said the gesture by Promasidor will positively impact on the players’ skills and techniques of football. He stated: Promasidor is really supportive. This is a nice presentation. The items will go a long way in sharpening our skills and techniques of the game of football”. Corroborating him, Miracle Okocha, a Team Mate, described the gesture by Promasidor as lubricant that will spur the CFA players to greater heights in their training under the CFA. He said if other companies could emulate Promasidor in such manner in supporting sports in Nigeria, the future of the youth will be brighter.

Engage with Africa on a long-term basis - Ecobank Group CEO Albert Essien tells investors

Ecobank Group CEO Albert Essien gave the keynote address in Munich today at the 4th Conference on Managing Risk in Africa. Mr Essien offered strategies for managing risk in Africa’s growth markets. Against the backdrop of what he outlined as a generally positive outlook for Africa, he advised investors against viewing Africa as one, but rather 54 countries with different growth prospects, different infrastructure, trade agreements, tax regulations, culture and levels of technological development.
Ecobank Group CEO Albert Essien
Mr Essien urged investors to be prepared to engage with African countries on a long-term basis and avoid abrupt changes in investment focus because of perceived instability in certain markets. He encouraged managing risks associated with doing business in Africa, including fiscal and monetary policy issues such as foreign exchange restrictions, transparency and compliance, political instability and corruption and resource and infrastructure challenges.

The Ecobank Group CEO offered executives overseeing market entry strategy in Africa six key considerations that they would have to contend with. These, he said, were: understanding the local business culture; assessing which markets represent the best balance of risk and reward; finding and vetting appropriate local partners; understanding local market regulations; local environmental factors; and levels of technological development.

Mr Essien highlighted several market entry risks, which he enumerated as: political risk, reputational risk, operational risk and physical risk to staff and assets. He encouraged scenario planning as a good way to anticipate what future trends might emerge and what their impact and probability might be. “Whatever risks are identified, they are best viewed holistically rather than in isolation. New market entrants will need to develop a clear risk appetite and weigh the opportunity against the cost of risk mitigation, which can be expensive,” Mr Essien said.

Etisalat-Sponsored Nigerian Idol 5 Premiers

As a build up to the March 1st telecast of episode one of Nigerian Idol season five, Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunication, Etisalat treated members of the press and guests to an exclusive episode of the show. The event held at Oriental hotel, Lagos was to give guests a peek of the auditions held in five cities across the country.

Head Events and Sponsorships, Etisalat Nigeria, Modupe Thani disclosed that Etisalat has packaged an interesting show for viewers and audience. “As a brand, we consider the youths as a critical audience and we are passionate about what drives them. This year’s edition promises to be one of the best shows ever, because we have put so much in place to give the audience and viewers an all-round exciting experience.”

This season, the winner of Nigerian Idol will be rewarded with N7.5 million cash reward, a brand new car, a recording deal with Universal Music Company worth N7.5 million amongst other prizes.

The show is scheduled to begin airing on March 1st on TV stations across the country. Such as NTA, STV, Hip TV, Superscreen TV, WAP TV, Smash TV, AMC TV, Rave TV, Cool TV Wazobia TV and V.Channel TV.

Diamond Bank CEO Stars In New TVC

Uzoma Dozie, Chief Executive Officer, Diamond Bank PLC, is leading the bank’s positioning drive as an innovative and technologically driven financial institution as he features as the lead character in a new television commercial for the Diamond Mobile App.

Diamond Bank, a leading retail bank in Nigeria, is ranked among the top six commercial banks in the country. Following a successful Rights Issue last year mainly targeted at developing its Information Technology infrastructure, Diamond Bank has introduced several novel solutions that have transformed the Nigerian banking space.     

The new TVC, shot in the bank’s corporate head office in Lekki, Lagos, positions Diamond Mobile App as the reliable and ultra-efficient assistant for the high performing executive who likes to keep in sync with the personal side of things. In character, Dozie says: “As the CEO of Diamond Bank, time is precious and doing things right is important; quickly, efficiently and easy.”

Despite his visibly busy schedule, he shuns a shortlist of applications for personal assistant position, pointing out that there are some things he never likes to delegate - like booking flight tickets for his wife, getting movie tickets for his children as promised and buying tickets to events he wants to attend – all of which he simultaneously attends to on the go via his mobile phone. Then comes the clincher: “I can do all of these on my Diamond Mobile App. It’s beyond banking. Who needs a PA?”

Speaking on the commercial, Ayona Trimnell, Divisional Head, Corporate Communications, Diamond Bank PLC, explained that the TVC reinforces the bank’s message that the Diamond Mobile App is the ultimate personal assistant for easy, convenient banking.

How the #Oscars unfolded on Twitter

On Monday, the stars shone brightly in Hollywood for the 87th Academy Awards (@TheAcademy). And as a vast array of actors and makers celebrated their year of filmmaking, the rest of the world celebrated alongside them on Twitter.
The show was filled with moments of laughter, triumph and reflection as host Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH), top performers and A-list talent took the stage. Here are the memorable moments that drove the largest spikes in conversation, measured in Tweets per minute (TPM):
  1. @LadyGaga performs, is joined by Julie Andrews
  2. Alejandro Iñárritu wins Best Picture for “Birdman”
  3. @PattyArquette’s acceptance speech for winning Best Supporting Actress
Throughout the evening, film fans turned to Twitter to convey their passions and share real-time reactions. The most Tweeted-about nominees/performers were:
  1. @LadyGaga
  2. @PattyArquette
  3. @JohnLegend
While performances and fashion always garner attention during Oscar night, at the end of the day it’s still about the movies. Here are the films that got the most mentions on Twitter:
  1. Birdman
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Boyhood

New age e-commerce consumers challenge traditional business models

The rise of e-commerce on the African continent is changing the face of the traditional consumer, and brands need to adapt their business models and strategies in order to remain relevant amongst consumers and avoid a drop in market share.

African consumers are increasingly searching online platforms with commercial intent, which include querying prices of goods, and researching where products or services can be purchased. According to research by Google South Africa(1), there was an increase of 49% in query volumes in Nigeria, 37% in South Africa and 33% in Kenya, during 2014.

Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa (, says that understanding your consumer, knowing how to target communications to them and ultimately deliver what they want, when they want it, is key to the ongoing success of e-commerce in the region.

“Africa’s growing middle class is driving consumer demand and in turn, the e-commerce industry on the continent. As a result, retailers need to ask themselves if they are ready for this ‘new’ and evolving client base. Logistically and operationally speaking, businesses will need to shift from a business-to-business approach to a more business-to-consumer approach as retailers will now have to meet the demand of transporting products to individual clients. New structures will need to be implemented to ensure that the company’s supply chain is agile enough to respond quickly and effectively to the increased demand.”

Nielsen: GDP, Population and Governance Data Alone Are Not Enough to Predict Brand Success in Africa

For brands eager to tap into the growing African markets and the region’s estimated 350 million middle class consumers, relying solely on macro-economic data such as GDP growth, population trends and regulatory governance data to identify opportunities and predict success can lead to costly missteps, according to a new report from Nielsen.

The findings, which are featured in Africa: How to navigate the retail distribution labyrinth – a new report released today – show it is the companies that combine retail data from both modern and traditional trade and consumer shopping behavior with broader macro-environment indicators that are better positioned to identify the right markets, products, marketing and retail execution strategies that lead to sustainable growth and profitability in Africa.
Allen Burch, Head of Africa for Nielsen

“Conventional knowledge has held that where there is growth in population and GDP, and a stable business environment, a brand can succeed by being launched in the market. Those insights alone don’t provide a complete picture of Africa’s consumer opportunities,” said Allen Burch, Head of Africa for Nielsen. “We found that successful consumer brands in Africa understand three key pieces of retail information: who shops where and for what, which retail outlets are the best for the product to generate sales, and how to build demand amongst retailers and consumers.”

In 2013 Nielsen began conducting a quarterly analysis of consumer, retail and business outlook data, as well as macro-economic data across seven Sub-Saharan countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia – with plans to expand to additional countries over time. Historically, one complaint has been the lack of market data within Africa. Without that insight, even companies with the right products for the right market can fail to get them in the right stores, leading to poor sales growth. By bringing together the standard macro-economic indicators with more granular consumer, retail and business data, it is possible to solve the distribution challenges that are so central to success in Africa.

GTCrea8 powers BasketMouth Entertainment Show

Guarantee Trust Bank(GTB) on the platform of GTCrea8, recently partnered with Basketmouth on his annual UK Valentine Concert. 

The event which was graced by Basketmouth ft WizKid,also had some more entertainers at the event, ranging from  Olamide (BaaAdoo), Patoranking, Buchi (Nig), David Kau (SA), Salvador (UG) ,Aje Baba, Youngest Landlord, Mc Casino, Mayor, Osama, David Kau (SA) Salvador (Uganda) and Buchi, while Play, Olamide and Wizkid gave the crowd the most energetic and phenomenal music performance

The GTCrea8 e-Savers account is a card-based interest bearing account designed to allow undergraduates maintain a value adding banking relationship using the bank’s electronic channels.  It is a classy and trendy card which gives the freedom to pay into ones account through the GTBank internet banking platform, via the cash deposit ATMs or at any of the GTB branches nationwide. 

It also allows for payments of cheques and dividend warrants, to the sum of N100,000, into your account; It allows for unlimited cash withdrawals at ATMs within Nigeria and abroad, wherever you see the MasterCard logo; Payment at supermarkets, shopping malls, cinemas and other outlets that have POS terminals that bear the MasterCard logo; Purchase of airtime, transfer money to your friends, pay DSTV bills and perform other transactions through Internet Banking, GTConnect and GTMobile. Interest is usually paid on one’s account balance (2.5% per annum) when using the GTCrea8.

By bringing GTCrea8 into foreplay in entertainment, GTBank aims at inspiring undergraduates to be creative, while helping them catch fun at val.

Most affordable Microsoft Lumia arrives in Kenya

Microsoft Mobile GM East Africa Mariam Abdullahi (right) and Jumia Kenya MD Parinaz Firozi
Two new Microsoft Lumia smartphones, the Microsoft Lumia 435 and Microsoft Lumia 532, are now available in Kenya for Ksh. 10,200 and Ksh. 11,750 respectively. The Lumia 435 is the most affordable Lumia yet, with core smartphone features, the best Windows Phone experiences and access to the latest apps. 

The Lumia 435 opens up the Windows Phone experience to even more people, while Lumia 532 is a powerful quad core smartphone that builds on the success of the Lumia 530. With a premium layered design, glance screen, front facing camera and more memory, the Lumia 532 enables people to achieve their goals with the best of Microsoft’s experiences:

·         Switch effortlessly between voice and video calls with built-in Skype integration and a front-facing camera.
·         Read, review, edit and share on the go with the full suite of Microsoft Office on Windows Phone preinstalled.
·         Keep your photos, videos and Office documents safely backed up with 30 GB of free* OneDrive cloud storage.
·         Easily manage work and personal email on the fly, with Microsoft Outlook.
·         Capture photos quickly and easily with Lumia Camera and take, edit and share great selfies with the front-facing camera and Lumia Selfie app.
·         Have your home screen your way with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim update, complete with one-swipe Action Centre, Word Flow and Live Folders.
·         Stay up-to-date with the best new features through regular Windows updates.

“The Microsoft Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 show our commitment to bring Windows smartphones to as many people as possible. Both devices are fantastic for those moving to a smartphone for the very first time”, notes Patrick Henchie, head of product, Microsoft Mobile Device Sales, Sub-Sahara Africa.

Emirates Group Security signs MoU with Arab Air Carriers Organisation to extend University Diploma Programmes

The Centre of Aviation & Security Studies (CASS), the academic arm of Emirates Group Security and the Arab Air Carriers Organisation Regional Training Centre (AACO RTC), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend two University Diploma programmes to the members of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation (AACO).

The University Diploma in Aviation Security Management and the University Diploma in Ground Handling are being inducted as part of AACO RTC’s training curriculum with its offices in Jordan and Egypt. These two courses are jointly developed by Edith Cowan University of Western Australia and Emirates Group Security.

“The two University Diploma Programmes are excellent examples of high-quality management training which have been tailor-made for professionals working in the aviation industry. Designed specifically to improve management practices in aviation security and ground handling, both programmes tap on the practical experience of Emirates’ CASS, the regional expertise of AACO, and the academic excellence of Edith Cowan University of Western Australia. We believe these courses add to the educational and professional development opportunities available to those working in aviation, and ultimately help support the growth of the aviation industry in the MENA region,” said Dr. Abdulla Al Hashimi, Divisional Senior Vice President of the Emirates Group Security.

The courses, administered by CASS and academic staff from Edith Cowan University, consist of an 18-month programme which involves self-study, tutorials and examinations.

“We are delighted  with this strategic initiative  to broaden  the   platform of  tertiary education  in  aviation  security and ground handling education which will  certainly complement the existing  vocational  and  industry-specific training  programmes.  Students   who sign up for these diploma courses  will  be embarking  not only on  a  learning  journey  from the  aspects  of the civil aviation  profession  but also  the road towards attaining  academic  qualifications. This will augur well for those who wish to pursue further academic programmes and play a strong role in professionalising the industry,” said Edith Cowan University’s Professor Nara Srinivasan,  Pro-Vice Chancellor  (Emirates Engagement) and Professor of  Security and Risk.