Best Kenyan Ads of all time

Advertising has got to be the best story giving medium there is what with the constrained time that they are allocated and the commercial motives behind their production.

A good advertisement does wonders for a product and leaves such a lasting impression whos value far surpasses the initial investment that went into making it.

If you manage to cram a story, humor and a message into an ad without making it look rushed then you have your lasting impression right there.

Here is a collection of Kenyan focused ads that did it for me in terms of creativity,  originality, humor and product placement.

Trust condoms have always been marketed by the most creative ads in the kenyan space as far as I can tell. The ads below are many years old but their creativity and originality have not been surpassed to date.

Jamii telekom (A local telecoms company) have been pushing their FTTH product pretty hard over the last couple of months promising glorious speeds to their users. These ads that have been running on mainstream TV have really helped the brand along and Faiba is now slang for awesome (atleast around my circles)

This is the Iconic ad by Safaricom that sought to rally the patriotism of kenyans and associate it with their brand. Worked perfectly. There are some awesome shots of rarely before seen sceney that puts the boring campaigns by Magical Kenya to shame

This is a series of ads by Kencell the predecessor of Celtel,Zain and now Airtel. This was at the height of their media battles with Safaricom when they were the only two mobile phone companies in the country.

This is part of a media campaign of the Duracoat house paint brand hyping their product. Pretty funny and communicated well.

Yu Kenya taga mayai

Yu Kenya call rate guy

Fresh Freddy was a media campaign by Close- Up to sell toothpaste. It was funny and very entertaining.

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Nairobi Half Life

Finally got to watch Nairobi Half Life , the single most sought after flick in Nairobi for the latter half of 2012.

The flick follows the trials of Mwas as he chases his dream in the big city and the tough life lessons he is forced to learn on the fly.

I will not bore you with a synopsis or plot spoiler as this is a flick EVERYONE seriously needs to watch from the young(over 18 though) to the ancient.

Quite frankly I was impressed by the quality of the production, the solid characters, totally believable dialogue/ language and for a good story well told. The film industry has finally come of age in Kenya and if such productions could be fully locally produced (including funding that is) then we are set for bigger things and the real life George Mwangi’s out there would have a fighting chance in their pilgrimage to the green city in the sun.

Now on to my rant.

I wanted to pay for the chance to see this movie. I didn’t.  The only avenue however was to walk to the nearest cinema, pay and sit for 2 hrs and walk out feeling nice about myself for supporting local actors/productshizzles.

For starters I do not modify my habits to conform to commercial interests (Unless good music and cheap beer happen to intersect) and thus finding 2 hrs that coincide with the movie schedule at the Westgate mall proved to be a rather complex affair. There are no other options of finding the flick anywhere else unless you are a Nairobi resident. Guess the Nairobi Half life tag extends to availability? The DvD comes out in a month or two. Who has time to wait that long ?

Now this just displays what is wrong with the local film industry and why we are unlikely to get millionaire film stars before vision 2030 is realized. The business model clearly follows the American model. Hype a movie, release to cinemas only, milk the cinema revenue for as long as possible and release the DVD just about when people are getting tired of the hype or when another release is being hyped. This works beautifully in the western world due to their consumption culture and general behaviour to do what they are told.

Africans in general and Kenyans in particular are a peculiar lot. They tend to follow the path of least resistance. This path is not necessarily always legal or for the general benefit of society but it is taken nonetheless. Fighting this is like fighting the sun. Not exactly the brightest idea. In this regard, Pirating a movie is not considered a crime. Just good economic sense. Don’t shoot the messenger. He will live, hunt you down and shoot you.

The Nigerian model is thus more applicable to the local market. Directly compete with the pirates for distribution of your productions or even use them. License select pirates for exclusive access to your merchandise. If you cant beat them join them maybe?

Oh well, I am that much more entertained and the actors,producers,etc are not richer by virtue of me.

Aluta continua.



My Top Android Apps

Having been an android user for several years now, I can comfortable list the apps I must have installed on my phone to feel comfortable and use my gadget optimally.

So here is my definitive list and is not necessarily conclusive seeing as time has not stopped and I have less than normal loyalty to any software/platform/device.


  • Official Twitter App


Twitter is my no.1 source of news, gossip, humor and a personal realtime information source that I ave relied upon many times in the past.  This has always been my default and only twitter client. Several versions ago, the functionality was rather bogus and other clients such as Uber twitter, seesmic etc but the constant advertisements and requests to buy pro versions put me off and I stuck to the regular app. They have since greatly improved even adding Instagram like filters for its photo functionality.

  • Google Maps


Google Maps

If there is a favorite and must have app on any smartphone anywhere it is the maps app and by far Google has the best product. Their strategy of crowd sourcing their mapping to all and sundry has yielded the most comprehensive privately funded mapping product that is freely available to the general public. I have helped map some parts of the country that I have had the fortune of having intimate information about and thus I could say I have made my mark too.

Before any trip I make it is the first app I consult to know the estimated distance I would be driving and the general route that would get me there. Granted it is not as comprehensive as in the ‘developed’ countries with turn by turn directions and traffic info but it is good enough as it is.

SoundHound Shazam


Ever heard an awesome track or song in a matatu or the over the radio and would almost kill to know the name or the artiste so that you find it later on youtube or buy it or something? Then you can appreciate how convenient having an app in your phone that can do that is. I remember seeing this capability first in Sony Ericsson handsets and it was called TrackID back then.

Sometimes Sound hound doesn’t find the track and I switch to Shazam and vice versa. I prefer Shazam though due to its easy integration with social media and the faster loading. Must have apps if you are an audiophile or really into music porn.


  • Google Reader


Google reader


I read lotsa blogs and keeping track of  new posts is impossible. Enter google reader that neatly arranges all new posts up for you to read, laugh,gawk, sneer and get inspired by. It helps sustain my reading habit(or at-least whats left of it) because otherwise I and my bookmarks bar on my browser would be overwhelmed. This I also use everyday and is possibly the first app I download whenever I get a new android phone.

  • Opera Mini

Opera mini


This has been a constant on the cellie since the dumb phone era of Nokias with 32mb internal storage. Used to be (and still is) the first essential apps I download after getting a data connection on a new cell phone. Incidentally the few manufacturers that bundle it with the phone software manage to lock it in an ancient version impossible to upgrade(Am looking at you Samsung) and am forced to install another alongside that remains up-to-date.

Opera mini is seamless, reliable, data saving and generally awesome.


  • Ma3Route


This is the only Kenyan made app that I use regularly. Its directions functionality when using public transport (read chaotic Matatus) is legendary and has saved my skin several times. The traffic update thing needs some more polishing but is usable as it is. I also like that it tells you how much the fare will costs thus avoiding getting swindled by touts.


  • Foursquare




I have waited with baited breath for a local recommendation app for local spots eg restaurants, hotels, clubs, fuel stations and that sort of thing based on location but I suppose this is a problematic business model. Populating the database is costly and if  crowd-sourcing is the intended method of getting the data then the motivation for using the app or service needs to be appealing.

Google latitude tried this out but Google barely marketed it and it is a ghost town todate. Foursquare has stepped in nicely and with the growing user base, maturing platform and improving aesthetics, it has garnered some semblance of reliability in terms of local recommendations. Most recommendations however are mostly middle class joints with most people checking in to posh venues and avoid tagging when they are in river road.

Thats my list, would be interested to know what others deem their must have apps.

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Ubuntu Phone

So Ubuntu, arguably the most popular Linux desktop OS out there has decided to jump into the mobile space.

Quite frankly  I think they took too long and it may just be too late. The problem is that we don’t have products anymore. An OS is not a product. Its an ecosystem. You need to have a large population of users, developers and manufacturers willing to bet on your system for future profit.

Windows had the biggest first mover advantage but they clearly botched it up and if their recent spending on R&D is anything to go by, they are not going to make that mistake again. The linux world has suffered from fragmentation and nonsensical duplication of features, code and effort. Why we have over 100  distributions(versions) of linux OS. Ubuntu itself is a modification of the Debian distribution and  Mark Shuttleworth probably wanted more control in the direction the OS takes hence the offshoot but nonetheless there is a lot of waste around.

That being said, the Ubuntu Phone is late to the party but it just might be the show stopper especially if they figure out how to run android apps. Also if the development and upgrade cycle is maintained for the phone ecosystem like it is on the desktop, then many (Technical) users would move if only for the frequent updates. It tends to make you feel like you are being taken care off.

Well I personally cant wait for the first phones to show up. Will definitely be on the line in wait only if the price is right.


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Fake Assistant Commissioner of Police

So today I woke up to this fascinating news piece.

Fake assistant commisioner


I wasn’t even shocked. That a notorious highway robber could be indistinguishable from regular  senior police officers should be enough to be worried about let alone the fact that cops really do not know their bosses and anyone in an appropriate uniform could pass for the commissioner of police.

And then the case of the cops that were being fired by this fake commissioner. I find it impossibly hard to swallow how oblivious of the pecking order they were. And where is the real assistant commissioner anyway because I assume the post exists?

This is embarrassing an several levels least of which being the sheer amount of time this has been going on. A day or a week would be acceptable but 2 years? Are the junior cops that scared of their superiors that anyone with senior ranking uniform is unquestioned?

Wonder what Kimaiyo will do about this.

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