Get Asamoah Gyan Out of Melcom!


A couple of years back, I saw a Golden Tulip ad in a cinema that featured Sarkodie, and I thought, whoever gave the green-light for this ad should be fired. But when I saw Melcom’s ad with Asamoah Gyan, I realized it could actually get worse. Sarkodie and Golden Tulip did not match on any brand association; their two brands are so dissimilar, someone must have thought it an April Fool’s prank to suggest they could leverage any secondary associations from that unfortunate mashup. However, unlike Sarkodie and Golden Tulip, Melcom and Asamoah are actually perfect for each other. In fact, they are so perfect together they make me super uncomfortable. Asamoah Gyan and Melcom are like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West: their marriage only reminds you how terrible each of them is. Gyan and Melcom have one solid thing in common: consistently inconsistent unreliability. To some extent that sounds like what me and my buddy Sefa labeled the entire marketscape of Ghana, chiefly dumsor. So it’s fair to say Asamoah Gyan and Melcom are as Ghanaian as you get.

When you think about Melcom, what comes to mind? Sometimes you get a product that is unbelievably a great bargain for your money, and sometimes you get a product that just dies on you before it hits its expected puberty. Worse, sometimes they can turn your shopping trip into your highway to the grave. What? Is it too early to make a joke on that? Alright, I will let that hang. Let’s face it, Melcom has its positives, but when you walk out of a Melcom shop, especially if you bought an electronic product, you feel just like you walked out of a prayer camp—you hope it works as prophesied, sorry, as promised. As for my man, Baby Jet, let me speak with the caution of Rev. Atti, lest some pumped up men led by a loyal brother come show me where gym power lies. So again, as for Asamoah, you all know, he will score mostly when you least expect him to. On the day when you know he should easily bury it because you really need him to, hmmm, that is when the gods decide play “stay” on his shooting. Baffour, see I did not say plenty oo, I beg don’t let them come and “Kenu” me. Call me cynical, but Melcom and Asamoah Gyan match each other in ways that only reinforces their shared negative associations. Melcom is great on a good day, but you never know when they will let you down. Well, so is Gyan! See? See why I am uncomfortable to start with.

Take the ad itself, and it’s a brilliant piece of gari soakings without sugar. Will anyone go to Melcom because of Gyan’s endorsement? I doubt that. Will anyone really believe Gyan will shop at Melcom? You tell me. The little girl did not only suggest that there is no way Asamoah Gyan will ever shop at Melcom, I think she suggests the opposite too—Melcom will never have Asamoah Gyan and his economic kind give them their cedi. What is Melcom’s target market? People like me. Maybe, now they will put an embargo on me. Will someone who earns about $10 million a year shop at Melcom? I will give you a couple of seconds to process that. Melcom, that little girl knew you were lying through your prosthetic teeth, and so do I. Often when you pull off a silly prank, we will often say, try it on kids, not adults. This time, you tried a prank on a kid that didn’t work. Do you seriously think any grown, wise-in-their-own eyes Ghanaian will buy this beautiful comedic sketch of an ad? Don’t become our other Satan oo, yoo; dumsor already is doing enough.

I don’t know what Melcom was aiming to achieve with that ad, whether to reposition the brand, or to drive up their brand image by trading up in advertising capital, I am not sure. What I am sure they did is shoot themselves in the foot, and they did that in style with a rather preposterous ad tag line: “Now everyone shops at Melcom, even Asamoah Gyan”. Really? Does he? Will he ever? Wait, does anyone even care if he does, really? It’s still the same kind of people who go to Melcom, and I think that won’t change. Of course, we will keep going to Melcom just in case we get lucky one day and run into Asamoah Gyan, really doing real shopping that he has not been paid to do. I think what that pairing did was just reinforce in my mind the negative associations shared between the two. Should I say it again—consistently inconsistent unreliability.

I jumped out of my precious sleep to throw in this insignificant opinion of mine. So first, let me talk you to Asamoah. My Bono brother, why do you keep doing this to us? You know we love you, despite all the things we say. But after playing with our hearts, now you want to play with our heads too? Don’t be like that. You see when you did those songs with Castro people embraced them? By the way I am also searching these Melbourne shores just in case your buddy shows up here; you never know! Anyway people embraced those songs because we know you, that you don’t take life too seriously and you love to have fun, music and boxing promotion and all that stuff you do; that’s cool. After all, we all know your goal celebration dance means more to you than the goal itself. Oh Baffour, I said I beg, aren’t we all Bono brothers. I won’t go off the politeness radar again, I promise. Asamoah, I am saying that we know you don’t belong in Melcom; I’m not even sure about the Royco one, but at least that is more believable, considering it was your fake aunt who did the cooking in that ad, not you, and well, Royco is Royco, it’s Unilever, so at least that’s fine. But please get out of Melcom; you don’t belong there, and you know it!

Now a piece of unsolicited advise for you, my dear Melcom. It’s one thing for a brand to make a meaningless ad, like Sarkodie and Golden Tulip, Kumasi. It’s another thing if a brand makes a badly unbelievable ad; that’s sinful. Melcom has come a long way, and I think they are doing some really cool stuff with the brand. “Where Ghana Shops” was more befitting for you because they say the average Ghanaian is a lower middle income man, and that has always been your market. Melcom should remember, a brand must be consistent with its position, which means your target market. Eat inside your lane and let Cassa Trasaco and their likes also eat inside their lane, and there will be no fatal accident. Considering your history of accidents, I’m looking at you Melcom, stop what you are doing. Focus on that middle class, they are the majority, and they will never run out. They are better than the Kofi broke man who stills buys from Daavi’s shop, but truthfully incapable of earning what you paid Asamoah Gyan to come and do that pampanaa ad. Yet they are your market, and you would do well to find innovative ways to serve them, rather than aspire to places you don’t belong. Remember, if you force yourself to fart, you will shit on yourself, and what a shit that will be…a Melcom kind of shit. Ungodly!!

The Lemons You Gave Me

I’m not a fraud but when I saw the door opened, and it was the only door to my salvation, I wasn’t going to let it slam in my face. So I took it, as you would. This was high school boarding house. Think about every cruel thing, I’d been served a piece of it: unfair punishments, stupid labour, being ponded with water and slaps in my sleep, destruction of my aluminum trunk, seniors taking away my pillow and blankets on cold harmattan nights, stealing of my money, my clothes and my only shoe, being locked up in a chop box, kneeling down from night till daybreak like a prisoner of war. Everything. You name it. I’d done it all.

So on that uneventful Sunday, when my pathetic self had been punished to kneel down fully naked in the dormitory for no awful reason, I had no idea that that second year guy who had been tormenting me before lunch will come and try to choke me from behind, not caring that I was losing breath. I had no idea I was going to pull off a karate stunt on him, well that’s what everybody said I did. I had no idea I would really injure his leg. I had no idea that that injury would cause him to be hospitalized and miss the rest of the term. I had no idea his mates will tell all the girls that a first year “nino” with special karate skills had almost crippled him. I had no idea I would be taken around classes to demonstrate my incomparable karate skills. I had no idea that I would become a mini-legend, revered by those who were not sure they could take me on, and abhorred by those who felt I was just an opportunistic piece of shit. I had no idea it would follow me for the rest of my life.

So I had an idea. Tell them the truth. Why don’t I tell them that besides my childhood Bruce Lee addiction and a little messing around with stunts from “Mahaguru”, I was not that special after all? I should tell them that I was then only a little boy, who came for an education, but got more than he had bargained for, that I had cried endlessly at night from self-pity and broken despair, that I was afraid to go to sleep because I was afraid of what someone’s twisted imagination will push them to do to me in my sleep, that at times, I feared for my life. I should tell them now that I was just lucky on that day that move worked, in that moment, on that guy. That I rode on the cloud they gave me because I was not ready to go back to being everybody’s bully object.

Look at me now. I made it out of that misery because I lied. I lied because that was all you gave me.