MultiChoice Nigeria has announced that “BBNaija” is returning for a fourth season. The much-anticipated reality TV show also returns with a new headline sponsor, online sports betting company, Bet9ja.
Since launch in 2013, Bet9ja has engaged in a series of sponsorships including; a shirt sponsorship deal with Remo Stars F.C, sponsorship of the Nigeria Women’s Football League and the Nigeria National League. “BBNaija” might be the first time, the betting company is engaging in a non-sports led sponsorship.
Whilst “BBNaija” has been making the news for the auditions dates and locations, our interest lies in how the new sponsor will maximise this pan-African phenomenon.
Let’s begin by taking a look at some past Big Brother (Nigeria and Africa) sponsors and how they have used the show to their benefit.
PayPorte was an associate sponsor for Big Brother Africa 9: Hot-Shots in 2014 but not many paid attention to the brand. Things changed in 2017 when the Nigerian spin-off was re-introduced as “BBNaija”. PayPorte came board once again; this time as as lead sponsor. PayPorte also signed-on Big Brother Africa 9 housemate and runner-up Tayo Fanira as brand ambassador.
Tayo was the face of PayPorte’s advertising campaign. The ad campaign was monotonous. And the many repetitions made it seem intrusive. Interestingly, the repetition soon made the advertisement grow on us. And we began to chant along, ‘PayPorte, PayPorte’. By the end of the show millions of Nigerians and indeed Africans became aware of the online fashion store.
Apart from advertising slots during Big Brother live shows sponsors get visibility from branding and special tasks. But the most important way sponsors take advantage of the show is by getting housemates to use their products for the 91 day duration. Beverage makers – Coca-cola, Guinness and Legend Extra Stout, as well consumer brands like Indomie Noodles have implemented this strategy successfully.
PayPorte’s sponsorship of “BBNaija” is perhaps the most exciting in recent times. Whilst they couldn’t ensure an endless flow of booze during the Saturday night party, they brilliantly dressed up the housemates. And it made business sense.
After two seasons as “BBNaija” sponsor, PayPorte passes the baton to Bet9ja.
Bet9ja’s interest in “BBNaija” might be to reach Nigeria’s mass market via the GOtv brand. That is not to say that the middle-class consumer doesn’t engage in sports betting, but the mass market is ..more openly associated with it.
Hitherto the launch of GOtv in Africa in 2011, Big Brother Africa had only aired on DStv. The relaunch of the Big Brother Nigeria two years meant that GOtv subscribers could also enjoy the reality TV show. It also meant more eyeballs and a good way to target the bottom of the pyramid. Many brands seized the opportunity.
Typically, depending on the product lifecycle, a sponsorship would serve different purposes including; brand awareness, creating goodwill, encouraging product trials or reinvigorating a dying brand.
According to a Vanguard report, Bet9ja’s chief executive officer said that the company “believes in changing lives”. And that “Bet9ja will continue to support programmes that will connect more young Nigerians to their dreams”.
Beyond doling out cash to make someone’s dream come true, it would be interesting to see what other ways Bet9ja leverages BBNaija season 4. For instance, if Bet9ja succeeds in recruiting new users, can get the audience to stake on housemates or change perceptions associated with betting it would have had a successful outing.
The huge task however lies with the series director and we will be watching.