The state of Kenyan advertising…are international advertising agencies better than local ones?

Last week I was having an interesting conversation with a colleague about Kenya’s advertising industry and the impending award of 2 of the biggest local advertising accounts to foreign agencies. The conversation centered on KCB and Kenya Airways who as rumour may have it are considering awarding their advertising accounts to foreign(read)British agencies. Now i actually have no issue with international agencies my only question is does it mean local agencies have been unable to fulfil clients expectations? Does it mean local agencies no longer have good creative solutions to solve clients marketing problems in the region and possibly in Africa?

Now this route has been tried and tested with the Tusker account for a period of time having been awarded to AMV BBDO.Im not sure where that got the brand but i do remember the sanitized TV ad that was born out of that marriage that was to help drive Tusker’s sales in Africa. Im not sure that ad achieved much. As a Kenyan advertising professional i felt Tusker had lost thier way.

So would this be the direction KCB & Kenya Airways want to head in? In my opinion i think that would be very ill advised as those agencies would be far removed from the reality onground. How is an agency in the UK expected to react fast and in a timely manner to local competition? How will they even know the market insights and the psychographics of the target audiences?

Kenya has a lot of talented advertising professionals and more than the 12 advertising agencies listed on APA’s roster. We have a team of brilliant creatives, strategists and admen who can nurture great ideas which everyone else has to stand and take notice. I highly doubt an international agency will be able to create the next Bankika or Member or the next funky KQ campaign. Maybe a little more thought is needed before the decision is made.

My word of advise to KCB & Kenya Airways, search locally, the gem of a creative idea you are looking for is right here in your own backyard.