by Remon Geyser (@remongeyser) Making an impact, creating a following and going viral are common marketing buzzwords. But, for some brands, there is a gap between knowing that these are the measures of success for their product or service, and actually creating that success.

In Ghana, the diverse target markets and the tens of thousands of advertising methods make it difficult for marketers to know what will make it big and what will miss the mark. There’s no set formula for success, but our Springleap panel members in Ghana, comprising experienced creatives and marketers, have a few recommendations they think could help brands carve themselves a tidy niche in the country.

The two campaigns recently run in Ghana that have been highlighted by our creative professionals as big hits are very different types, one very risqué and another surprisingly simple. But both have done a great job of reaching out to their target markets and making an impact that goes beyond a brand, and beyond mere marketing, to become memorable. Why have they been successful? And how could they have created even bigger impacts? Our panel explains.


Ghana’s #WearYourDrossNow campaign was created to try and reduce the prevalence of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in young Ghanaian women. Created by radio and TV personality, Dr Joyce Akumaa Dongotey-Padi (Akumaa Mama Zimbi), the campaign kickstarted on Twitter with a simple yet strong message: you’re in control.

For those who are confused as to what kind of creature a “dross” is, know that in Ghana this is a reference to trousers. So the campaign called on young girls to literally “keep their trousers on” and let them know they had the power to say “no”.

Generally, sexuality isn’t something many people like to discuss, especially with young girls. The creative professionals explained that this campaign was a first-of-its-kind in Ghana, which made it risqué and potentially taboo. It could have gone very wrong and have been seen as a way to lead young girls into temptation, creating more problems than it solved.

But it worked. Why?

Our panel says it’s because the campaign was straightforward and honest; it educated girls, showing them that being a virgin can be cool and that they already had the courage it takes to abstain, even in the face of pressure. The experts add that it was smart to use Twitter, since it created major reach with minimum spend, but using other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, could have given the campaign even longer legs than it already had.

And if the creators had added a celebrity to the mix, giving the campaign a face and the young girls a role model, who knows how much bigger it could have gotten?

Absolut Vodka MAMAs after party

Absolut Vodka MAMA afterparty 2Absolut Vodka MAMA afterparty
No one needs an introduction to Absolut Vodka but, even with the popularity of global ads, this is a brand that has a lot of competition. In Ghana, the brand wanted to create a campaign that would drive young, influential people to the MTV Music Africa Awards (MAMAs) in Accra, a task you would think would be easy, since everyone loves a good party. However, driving influencers to one party instead of another is like asking them to choose their Guess Jeans over their Levi’s. It’s a preference thing.

So, to get the target audience on board, Absolut publicised its big bash online and through PR with not just one, but two, golden eggs: South African award-winner, Khuli Chana, and popular Ghanaian artist, Stonebwoy. Adding these two influencers to the mix created a buzz for the brand but, by sweetening the deal with giveaways, its chance for success skyrocketed.

The event was a hit with high attendance, according to our creative professionals, even though the campaign promoting it ran over just two weeks. This was not only because the brand was able to reinforce its connection to the target audience through its association to music, but also because it gave that association two young, influential faces that the target audience was able to relate to.

Our Ghanaian experts saw two weak spots, though, that could have been tightened up.

  1. Consistency — creating consistency throughout all of the collateral could have eradicated confusion and refined the golden thread.
  2. Paid social media advertising seemed to be almost an afterthought for the brand.

However, what our authorities on creativity say worked well was that the brand showed an in-depth understanding of who it was talking to and what they wanted.

Advice for South African brands

Based upon the two campaigns discussed above, our creative professionals say that the following are the lessons brands could benefit from if they want to make an impact in Ghana:

  1. Social media has the potential to create a huge impact but, if a brand wants it to be positive, the message has to be both unique and relatable.
  2. Giving a brand or event a face is really important for Generation Y in Ghana… and everyone loves free stuff. Combine the two and you could create a big hit.


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Remon Geyser 2015

Remon Geyser (@remongeyser) is a burger fanatic, wine connoisseur and eSports enthusiast (yes, a fancy term for playing computer games). He is also the research lead for Springleap, heading up a new global creative research division while obscurely attempting a PhD. Springleap provides instant creative expert feedback to rock marketing ROI. Remon contributes the new weekly “Talk Africa” column, covering Pan-African trends, on


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