How Do You Advertise Beer in Kinshasa: Tembo

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 29, 2016


BRAND: Tembo

Tembo means “elephant” in Swahili, one of the five official languages in DRC . Tembo or Kitembo is also a Bantu language mostly spoken in Kivu, a region in eastern DRC.



This billboard is situated in Avenue Kasa Vubu, a central artery in Bandalungwa, a popular, middle-class-working class district of Kinshasa. A frequently congestioned place, Avenue Kasa Vubu is also a booming hot spot offering both unformal and modern retail, from medium-sized supermarkets and Mc Donalds-like fast food restaurants to bars, street vendors and pop-up stores.


The three main slogans in the campaign are “Let’s sculpt our dreams” (“Sculptons nos rêves“), “Hope is at the end of your fingers” (“L’espoir est au bout de tes doigts“) and “The future in our hands” (“L’avenir dans nos mains“, not pictured here).

The bottom line is “Respect”.


Most ads about beer in central Africa associate the product with flashy music artists and events, and gatherings with family and friends. Many advertisers also show beer as a man’s thing – beer is a must when men watch sport or when they finish work. Thirdly, usually ads show some type of action with or around the product against a backdrop made of bright colours: the characters open the bottle, kiss the bottle, or play with it; it’s about the golden elixirium splashing out of the bottle, the bubbles whirlwinding in the belly of the beer glass, the thick white foam on top.

Tembo proposes a completely against-the-wind, unexpected, intriguing story. There is a minimalist imagery that acts as a stage where each of the four characters – the elephant logo, the man’s face, the product standing, the main slogan – plays fully its solo part. They don’t compete for attention, they collectively construct a simple, unified message. No gimmicks here: the label on the bottle reads “Beer Tembo, Breweries Simba, Democratic Republic of Congo“. Authenticity is the message.

The three faces of the campaign are three established or rising Congolese sculptors, Alfred “Maître” Liyolo, Freddy Tsimba, Vitshois Mwilambwe (not pictured here). Clearly, you hardly see contemporary art associated with mainstream products, particularly in these shores.

This is not Product Demonstration territory. We are with the evocative genre of advertising. There is the evocation of carefully handcrafted high quality that you also see in the Rolex “Mentor And Protégé” campaign. There is the evocation of excellence built by exceptional destinies that you also see in the Under Armour campaign starring Misty Copeland, the first African-American female principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater. In that campaign, she says “I will what I want” because she was not destined to be a ballerina, because it’s bigger than art.

Similarly, the three sculptors were not destined to be brand ambassadors. It’s bigger than beer. They are not Western imported celebrities. From Kinshasa, where they live and work, they made their work known and recognized around the world. This is why their message of empowerment is perfectly in tune with the aspiration for modernity-plus, let’s say sophistication, that I see inside Kinshasa middle- and upper-class circles.

See, the current narrative about the African beer market is that it has enormous growth opportunities (hence the mega merger between the world’s two biggest brewers, SABMiller and AB Inbev), particularly in the low end, commercial beer category. But Tembo appeals to consumers of craft beer, a product category which is finding greater acceptance with affluent consumers who are shifting in their tastes and upgrading their preferences. They are the ones who are naturally receptive and won over by smart, inspiring, iconic brand messages. This is precisely what Tembo has achieved here.




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The Customer Journey: In Couple Shopping, Who Decides?

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 26, 2016
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This is the first episode of a new series titled The Customer Journey. Spanning across different cities in Africa, the series explores the decision journey that consumers take from considering a product or service to purchasing it and bonding with the brand.

The catalyst for creating this series was a comprehensive study conducted by McKinsey’s David C Edelman and Marc Singer. The problem that they identify is that « digital tools have put shoppers in the driver’s seat, allowing them to easily research and compare products, place orders and get doorstep deliveries. Companies have been largely reactive, scrambling to anticipate customers’ next moves and position themselves where customers will find them. »

How can companies shape consumers’ decision journeys ? How can they lead rather than follow?

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In Africa, thanks to the growing internet penetration and the explosion of mobile over the past decade, consumers’ access to information and ability to exercise comparison and choice have never been greater. However, due to a number of factors such as the very large number of unbanked consumers, the mistrust in online payment, the relative unreliability of home delivery; the vast majority of consumers still prefer by far traditional brick-and-mortar retail formats.

As a result, it is essentially in the real world, only when customers are in-stores, that companies can shape their journey, create an engaging experience, and earn loyalty. They must competently navigate and manage the face-to-face interactions with customers to understand them.

The journey is a sequence of actions that customers take before purchasing – consider, evaluate, decide; it can last several days or just a few minutes, can take the form of a single store visit or of repeated contacts (for instance, in the case of a product that consumers deem as long-term investment or that they think of for a gift for a third party).



This first episode takes us to a ground floor alley of the Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg. There I spotted a young couple of shoppers and quickly understood they were about to embark on their journey. Back then (mid 2015) I was keen on advancing the knowledge on the intricacies of the decision making process for a certain consumer segment. The McKinsey study was coincidentally released in the November 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review.

As customers commence their journey, the retailer starts his own multi-step sales process: understand the customer, present the product, pitch and influence, convert the potential into a sure customer. In the customer understanding phase, he tries to assign roles to each individual part in the couple : who is the influencer ? who will use the product ? what is the customer’s level of product information ? who is the payer ?

The set of answers form a dashboard that the retailer uses for navigating the interactions with the customers. It turned out that the female shopper took all the roles – chief negotiator, main decision maker, user of the product and eventually, payer. Seizing all opportunities to place the seller into a reactive position, she led the interactions to a destination unforeseen by the seller: a bundle purchase at a slightly discounted price.


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The retailer is also a winner beyond that one sale with the couple. At his particular position – he has a small sized open space, limited visibility on the streams of shoppers (two escalators meet behind him), and the contraints of a pop-up store – he faces the challenge of catching the attention of passing shoppers. Therefore, every time a shopper stops by, both the prospect of a sale and a publicity tool emerge. He must maximize them.

Nevertheless, by succeeding at attracting shoppers, at retaining them “in-stores” beyond a certain time threshold, say 3-5 minutes, so that they themselves attract other shoppers, the retailer reaches multiple goals, from creating real sales opportunities to delivering enjoyable customer experiences.

Similarly, companies and brands who succeed at building effective customer journeys are the ones who master four capabilities: they deeply understand consumers, they make a compelling case for their product or service, they invest in designing, testing, refining the customer journey, they implement a sound customer experience strategy including customer service, customization and innovation.

Many retailers now know how to interpret and anticipate individual traffic lights and connections along the path that customers take in the restricted space of a store, so as to meet and exceed customer expectations. Once the female shopper grabs the product and keeps it firmly in her hands along her journey, smart retailers and brands can see an overture to take the lead in the interactions, to take the customer engagement to a higher level, and create new value for the customer.




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She Will Design The African Consumer Experience

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 20, 2016
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This is an introduction to a new, weeks-long series that chronicles across several cities the role and impact of  Chinese Africans on consumers experience.

Much has been already said, written and debated about the transformative relationship between China and Africa. My modest contribution to this extraordinarily interesting examination of this era-defining phenomenon will be what GainXperience does: focusing, zooming in on the radical change at the level of the experience of African consumers.

Every day, African consumers engage in a close relationship with Chinese laborers, merchants, construction workers, artisans, engineers, restaurateurs, practitioners and trainers. Nevertheless, in their conversations, consumers confine the Chinese presence to work and short- or medium term.

That’s why “Reset” is the word that first appeared to me when encountering this little girl a few weeks ago. It was in one of the busiest shopping and administrative streets of Brazzaville, Congo.

She speaks Mandarin of course; but my guess is that she will also speak French, Lingala and/or Kikongo, the main languages in the country. She is there to stay. She is the first generation of Chinese Africans.

In the years ahead, I expect to see more of this first generation of Chinese Africans including China-born children, teens and young adults living in Africa, Africa-born children of Chinese descent, and even Chinese-African couples and families.

Consumers are already impressed by, often conversational in great lengths about the great ease, the fast pace, the true depth with which Chinese “temporary workers” understood their cultures and met their needs. The Chinese immersion deep in the trenches is astonishing: I went in remote parts of two African countries, the only non-African people I met were Chinese workers, speaking the local language!

Therefore, in the event Chinese Africans do agriculture, manufacturing, sales, marketing, engineering in the years ahead; I expect them to go far beyond today’s Chinese jobs (i.e. merely importing Made-In-China consumer goods, craftsmanship or machinery).
They are set to be powerful agents of long-term societal change as they will be in a position from the inside to design and influence the consumer experience at a level never-seen-before.

The same day I met the little girl, a gentleman waiting in a queue in a government office told me “Before it took us pain and sacrifice just to afford one decent suit. Now thanks to them [China], I have many suits. I can change suits in the same week!”

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Beyond The Drive | Boulevard Colonel Tshatshi, Kinshasa

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 18, 2016
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Experiencing Avenue Nelson Mandela, Brazzaville

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 15, 2016
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Oreo by Mondelez Morocco: The Interview

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 8, 2016
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In March 2015 Mondelez International invested $11 million to install the largest production line in Africa of Oreo, the world’s number one biscuit.

Mondelez International is one of the world’s largest snacks companies. It has annual revenues of around $35 billion, a presence in 165 countries, leading market positions in biscuits, chocolate, gum, and powdered beverages. Its portfolio includes billion dollar brands such as Oreo, LU, Tuc, Belvita and Chips Ahoy biscuits; Cadbury, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Trident gum; Jacobs coffee; and Tang powdered beverages.

I sat down with M. Aziz Benjelloun, Marketing Director of Mondelez Morocco & Algeria, for an interview in Casablanca. Mondelez Morocco has 39,1% share in the local biscuit market and 64,5% market share in gums.

We address a wide range of topics from production to distribution and uncover what Moroccan consumers can expect from the ¨Made in Morocco¨ Oreo.


Patrick Gaincko: For a start, perhaps would you like to introduce readers about Mondelēz International presence in Morocco.

Aziz Benjelloun: Mondelez Maroc, subsidiary of Mondelēz International is present in Morocco since 2001. It has two production sites dedicated to biscuits, employs about 2,000 people and produces many much-loved brands, such as Oreo, the number one biscuit in the world, Bimo brands, the number one biscuit in Morocco with Tonik, Tagger, Tango, Merendina, Golden, Okey. Mondelez Maroc leads the gum segment in Morocco with Trident, the leader in the sugar free segment and Clorets, the leader in sugared gums.

P.G.: Indian and Chinese consumers have seen Oreo cookies customized with local flavours. Will Moroccan consumers also see Oreo tailored to their tastes?

A.B.: As for Oreo launches, we are starting with our Oreo classic and we will be focusing on it over the first year. We will not hesitate in the future to pursue other possibilities according to the market and consumer needs. In fact, it is too early to tackle importing or producing other variants of Oreo; we need to assess the need of both the consumer and the market before any further launch.

P.G.: Can you elaborate on the targets in the launch stage?

A.B.: We are aiming at making Oreo, the number one biscuit in Morocco. To succeed that, we will be offering it in a range of attractive formats and at pricing that Moroccans can afford. Capitalizing on our large and well-developed distribution network, we intend to make Oreo widely accessible in traditional- and modern-trade stores and widely available to Morocco’s 34 million people. expand the local biscuits market by generating more business for our trade partners with the recommended consumer price of 2 MAD.

We will have the capacity to make as many as 900 million biscuits per year, with the big communication campaign in place, we believe that Moroccans will be tempted to taste Oreo. We are sure that they will love it as the rest of the world.

P.G.: At the price point of 2 MAD, consumers have ample choice between small brands, new brands, white labels, healthy snacks, etc. Beyond affordability, what else can consumers expect from Oreo?

A.B.: Our promise to the consumer is that we are making Oreo according to the highest Mondelēz International standards; that has brought so much joy to billions of people since coming to market more than hundred years ago. We expect, as it does around the globe, Oreo to trigger and magnify great family togetherness /bonding moments through its unique ritual experience coupled with a great tasting experience.

P.G.: Milk consumption in Morocco declined in 2014 and 2015, prompting Fimalait (Moroccan milk producers association) and the Ministry of Health to launch a nationwide campaign to promote milk. How do you adjust, given Oreo’s association with milk?

A.B.: We say Oreo is milk’s favorite biscuit companion. It is coming from a heritage campaign all over the world derived from the ritual of ‘Twist, Lick, Dunk’, which is part of the brand communication since many years. So milk and Oreo are very good friends.

P.G.: Moroccan consumers want to find snacks everywhere – from vendor carts in trains, grocery stores to souks, kiosks, supermarkets and malls.What can you tell us about your distribution?

A.B.: We have a large, structured distribution that covers the whole Kingdom with a presence in a very large portion of traditional and modern stores. Moreover, our portfolio, the expertise of our sales force, the scale of our partners will help drive Oreo distribution extensively in the market.

P.G.: What are the highlights of the marketing campaign?

A.B.: We have based our local campaign on the brand DNA linked to family togetherness moments enabled by the unique brand ritual ’Twist, Lick, Dunk’. This was very well appreciated by Moroccans and we had positive feedback on that.

We have been working to enhance our communication campaign: an example is the Oreo Guinness World Record attempt” we organized July 24th, attempting to beat the record realized in Mumbai in 2013. It was quite an achievement to have grouped 2482 people at the Morocco Mall in Casablanca to taste Oreo at the same time. This record is under study by the Guinness World Record which will come back to us with the exact number in the few coming weeks.

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P.G.: Brands entering or establishing themselves in the Moroccan food market center their campaigns around the health benefits of their products. How do you cater to the rising health conscious consumer?

A.Z.: In order to support our growth strategy, Mondelēz International has launched the Call for Well-being – a call-to-action for ourselves, our suppliers and our partners to work together to drive growth by developing new approaches that have a positive impact on the well-being of our planet.

Our Call for Well-being focuses on four areas of action that are critical to the world and where we, as a company, can make the greatest impact which are: Mindful snacking, Sustainability, Safety and Communities. 

P.G.: As their country is further industrializing, Moroccans expect a positive social change in their life. What are your social-oriented initiatives?

A.B.: We are a company that aims at giving back to the community, for that we have put in place a community involvement strategy of three years starting from 2014 with our local NGO L’Heure Joyeuse. The goal is to renovate canteens in rural schools across Morocco.

P.G.: How do you ensure that your local suppliers use sustainable agricultural or farming practices?

A.B.: We believe strongly that our suppliers need to comply with our quality standards if they want to do business with us; we are proud to have accompanied our local suppliers during eighteen months to be approved according toMondelez quality requirements

P.G.: With an expanded capacity now under your responsibility, you are in a position to supply neighboring countries: is the Algerian market supplied from Morocco?

A.B.: For the moment, Oreo production is made for Morocco. We will in the future be exploring other markets to export our product as we have the biggest biscuit production site in Africa.

P.G.: There are expectations that Mondelez EEMEA divisions will sustain and increase their share in the overall results. How do you see the future?

A.B.: BIMO is the number one biscuit in Morocco; and Mondelez Maroc is among the top 20 producers of biscuits within Mondelēz International. We would like to enhance our Oreo and our local BIMO brands and introduce other global brands into the Moroccan market.


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What’s The Colour of Confidence (4/4), Grand Marché

Posted by Patrick Gaincko | January 6, 2016
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