by Faisal Siddiqui
It seems that these days the only ads that one comes across on the electronic media are from the telecom companies. That is understandable as at present it is the only industry that is flourishing at a time when the economy of the country is struggling to grow and galloping inflation is eating up purchasing power of the common man.
The competition between the telecom companies is heating up on the airwaves as well. Take a look at the recent advertisement by Jazz which has for the first time employed humour to reach its consumers. The Mobilink Jazz’s “Bemisaal Ramadan Offer” which offers lowest Ghanta rates to its customers to talk as long as they want on all Mobilink numbers is actually a take on Ufone’s “aik minute par aik minute free” offer.
The regular telecom watchers are well aware that Ufone uses humour and satire as its primary form of communication in its advertisements which are liked by a lot of its consumers as each Ufone offer is communicated with a new advertisement. One special aspect of Ufone’s TV commercials is that the Company develops and airs 2-3 different 5-10 second humorous endings of each commercial. This has, of late, become a trademark of for sorts for Ufone.
On this account Jazz’s “Bemisaal Ramadan Offer” in a very clever way makes fun of Ufone’s “aik minute par aik minute free” offer berating it completely to introduce its new package. This indicates a clear shift of strategy by Mobilink as it takes on a competitor – an action it had stayed clear of in the past. In all its previous campaigns Mobilink had not been involved in directly hitting its competitor while Ufone has always attacked its customers. For example Ufone had taken on China Mobile (ZONG) by showing Chinese individuals in its ads or using dialogues like “juice vitamin E ka ho ya B ka” (to attack Telenor’s dJuice) or “bus aik Naya connection chahiyay ….. Ufone kaa” (once again hitting at Telenor).
If we take a look at Jazz’s “Bemisaal Ramadan offer” – available only on Jazz Octane – it offers lowest Ghanta rates to its customers to talk as long as they want – all calls to Mobilink numbers will be free for an hour, after 1st minute, at any hour of day and night.
However, a closer look reveals that the offer is only valid during the month of Ramadan, which is already more then half way through. Moreover the offer is only available on Jazz Octane which hardly boasts of 2 million users. Mobilink has not offered this package to all Jazz customers because if they offer it to all Jazz customers, Mobilink’s network will not be able to support the telecom traffic due its old and outdated network. However, Jazz customers on other packages can convert to Jazz Octane if they want to avail this offer.
The “Bemisaal Ramadan Offer” package has been offered with following terms and conditions:
- Daily Subscription fee is Re 1 + tax.
- During first minute, on-net calls will be charged at Re 1 per 30 seconds
- On-net calls to three F&F numbers will be charged at Rs. 0.45 per 30 seconds and will also be free after first minute
- Off-net calls will be charged as per regular Jazz Octane tariff
- Package’s daily fee of Re 1 will be applicable to all Jazz Octane subscribers in addition to the daily subscription fee of Jazz Bemisaal Ramadan offer
- For Jazz Octane LNO subscribers, On-net calls will be charged at Rs. 4 for first minute between 12am-7am
- 19.5% tax will be applicable on the above mentioned price
- This will be a Limited Time Offer
It seems that all the packages offered by the telecom companies basically are spoofs aimed at deceiving their customers and targeting only a small segment of the users. The packages usually are derived after close statistical calculations and generally favour the telecom company rather than the customer. The terms and conditions, mentioned in fine-print in the print and electronic advertisements are grossly underplayed and key message is communicated in a way as if some generous offer has been presented to the customers. Generally all such packages force the customers to dish out Rs. 2.5 to Rs. 3.0 per minute which the poor customer only realizes after he / she has become a subscriber.
It is time the telecommunications came out of their present pre-occupation of deceiving the customers as telecom watchdog and agencies like the Competition Commission of Pakistan have become active against any communication / practice aimed at giving a deceptive message through the media.
TVC’s can be reviewed through below links:
Ufone ‘ek minute k baad ek minute free’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ_OOoyzVAw
Jazz Bemisaal offer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzyRmy8jafI