Cry, The Beloved Last-Minuter


Oh my, the last-minuter (noun: a person who literally waits till the last minute to do something). Allow me to recount a story of a last-minuter I know. For reasons of anonymity and best practices, I’ll refer to him as the Dreadlocked One. Now Dreadlocked is someone you’d call an incorrigible last-minuter.

Having lunch with him is grueling- when everyone else is getting up to go back to the office; Dreadlocked is hurriedly trying to gobble up his dollop of Ugali. When he okoas jahazi (Safaricom’s service that allows pre paid customers to access airtime on credit and pay later), Dreadlocked waits for an SMS reminder to pay back in due time- suffice to say he pays late, and ends up getting banned from the service for a period of 30 days.

So do last-minuters like Dreadlocked have a chance at salvation?

Introducing Baba Boi, courtesy of Kenya Power. When I first saw Baba Boi on television, I thought it was one of Safaricom’s Kula Happy videos- until I discovered towards the last minute (pun intended) that it was a campaign advert by Kenya Power- aimed at getting customers to pay their electricity bills on time and to avoid the rush and cues through the EasyPay service. Did I mention that Dreadlocked pays his power bill when the care-taker at his flats informs him that he has just been disconnected? Well, I have.

The EasyPay service is aimed at making it more convenient for Kenya Power’s customers to pay their electricity bills at a pay points close to them. In my days, paying the electricity bill used to take planning and much deliberation and ‘fixing’ tactics between my brother and I. You see, the nearest pay point was kilometers away from the bus terminus once you got to the town centre. That notwithstanding, the cue was one to dread as it weaved in and out of the Kenya Power (then KPLC) banking lobby.

The EasyPay campaign has taken the cartoon animation direction. Far from their last attempt when they began the service in 2010. Many of us can relate household managers (read wives). And so Baba Boi’s wife assumes her role in a rather comical way. While Baba Boi is whiling his time away relaxing, his wife goes on and on and on and on … (you get my drift) drumming into his head about how, if he waits till the last minute to pay the electricity bill, he will have to run like a mad man (pardon my direct translation) to the pay point. Through the neighbors’ compound where he risks being mauled by dogs; through traffic jam; through the rain that will spoil his mtumba shoes; and when he finally gets to a pay centre, he will find a long cue and not his clever tactics of crawling through the legs of other customers will work. But alas, Baba Boi (that’s my overactive imagination talking, but you get my drift).

Today however, EasyPay has afforded us the convenience of paying for your electricity bill at the nearest supermarket (Uchumi), post office, bank- and yes, M-Pesa and Airtel Money. And you don’t even have to wait for your electricity bill: Kenya power makes it available with a simple request using your mobile phone. By simply sending your account number to the short code 5551 you receive an automatic reply with your account balance details. The same request can be made on email at the comfort of your desk.

The SquaredFactor take. Kenya Power’s Don’t Be A Last-Minuter Be And Easy-Payer campaign is quite fresh from the conventional clutter of how ads are done. Humor has been well used and the animation is just what the audience needs to relate the scenario to their habits. The same concept has been consistent with the print ads. The fact that Kenya Power is also using new media (mobile phone) for queries goes a long way into building the brand when it comes to customer service and avoiding long, time consuming cues.

My only wish is for the print ads to carry the website address. It a simple way of driving traffic online where we can get more information about Kenya Power. Also, I’m not sure how Kenya Power is responding to the chide salvos on tweeter- nevetheless, for a brand embracing new media, it has its ear on the ground. (I’ll DM this post ans see if they’ll respond).

I sure hope Dreadlocked can see a Baba Boi in him- or that he eventually gets a good household manager to nag him about his last minute habits! Question is, is there a Baba Boi in you?


4 thoughts on “Cry, The Beloved Last-Minuter

  1. I can relate to dreadlocked,baba boi n ‘my brother and i’. A Fun read with smiles per paragraph. Keep up the good work

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