Pulse x Tusker Lager: Repositioning for the next century


Tusker Lager




Type: Digital amplification, Distribution, Social Media Management, Video

Tusker is a beer brand owned by East Africa breweries. It is the largest African beer brand in the Diageo group. Some Tusker brands include the original Tusker Lager, Tusker Malt, Tusker Lite and Tusker Cider. Having been around in Kenya for 100 years, it is safe to say that the brand name Tusker has become a part of the Kenyan culture. On the Tusker website, the company displays images of the product with local food, emphasizing the strong bonds that have been built over the years between the brand and the Kenyan people.

Today, we’re speaking with Jack Owigar, Director of Sales and Marketing at Pulse Kenya. The Kenya Sales team is working with Tusker, a beer brand, to commemorate its 100th anniversary, and also to use the opportunity to position the brand to target the next generation of customers.

​The Tusker Centenary

To celebrate 100 years, Tusker teamed up with Pulse to explore, ideate and execute a strong campaign that included the loyal local audience, but also align the brand with youth-focused culture topics, specifically music and e-sports.

Tell us about the Brief, Jack

In Q1, we had a meeting with the brand to find out what their objectives were for the centenary campaign. What Tusker wanted was to create hype for the brand after the launch, and also to showcase how Tusker has transitioned and grown as a brand since its inception in 1912 to present day (2022). They wanted to do a live event of the launch, and follow that up with social media distribution. However, the feeling was that it would be hard to get the audience engaged in a 1-hour+ live stream of a corporate launch.

​Is that what you eventually went with?

Not really. What we opted to do instead was publish a showreel of the launch (which would just be highlights from the event), and then let that be the trigger point for all the events we ideated that would happen after the launch. Based on this new direction, we again had sessions with the client, and what they wanted was to push 2 main topics: the future of music and the future of gaming/e-sports. We’ve seen in the recent past in Kenya that there has been a lot of interest around gaming. Stats indicate that since COVID, the number of online gamers in Kenya has really increased.

So Tusker wanted to show how music has transformed over the years and also how e-gaming is coming into play. In that light as well, we decided we can do something for that. So we called for registrations from people between the ages of 18 to 27, which falls primarily in our core audience (Pulse is a full service digital agency, but it also has built an editorial/social side that caters to the information and entertainment needs of Africa’s young population in 6 markets currently reaching more than 100 million young people on the continent.)

​Let’s talk about the solutions or ideas for this brief

Alright. So having stated the objective of the campaign, the client went further to indicate to us that they wanted to create FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and a buzz around the brand based on the creative direction. They also wanted to target 5 major regions in Kenya: Meru, Kisumu. Eldoret, Mombasa and Nairobi. In these regions, we would organize events and also push for gaming and music competition registrations as well. We were also focused on getting feedback, sounding around the country for the sentiment from the consumers as the brand clocked 100 (we were calling it the #TuskerCentenary).

We sat down as a team and looked at the assets we currently had that could work as solutions to the pain of the client, but also we looked at what solutions we could create. Showreels and VoxPops, two of our already existing content formats, came to mind. The vox pops would be short videos asking people what they felt about the brand, and the showreel videos would serve to capture and communicate the ambience, the feel and the atmosphere at the launch event.

We also had to consider that music and gaming were essentially two different topics. As much as they appealed to the same demographic, they are different interest categories; people who consume music may not necessarily be gamers and vice versa. So we considered the use of one of our local content assets, called Hot ‘n’ Fresh, which is done by our Entertainment Editor, Dennis Milimo, and what he does during that show is that he highlights the various songs that have come out within the week, and the top 5. We already knew that that content format had the music audience and we could drive the future of music on that kind of platform.

Now on the gaming side, what we did was, we sat down with a Cyprian Kimutai Limo who is part of the editorial team and we came up with a segment called Pulse Gaming, a show similar to Hot ‘n’ Fresh, but focused on new games available in the global space, what to look forward to, etc. And through this gaming show, we were also educating our audience on the gaming competition that we were running, where winners from the 5 regions would eventually come together to game until a final winner emerges. So on the gaming show, we were providing registration and participation info for the gaming competition.

In addition to this, we were also pushing a lot of communication on social media and distributing widely. We also had a few Twitter Spaces in partnership with Tusker. The Spaces were done on the Tusker pages but moderated by Pulse, and of course, the topics were music and gaming-focused. So we were attracting the right audiences on social media as well.

The sum of our gaming competition events, our social media distribution, the vox pops and showreels, and the two music and gaming-focused shows on Pulse achieved the goal we had. Slowly, we began creating a buzz around the brand, and also strongly associating the name Tusker with the two niches we had predetermined: Music and Gaming. We published the champions of the gaming and music competitions in all the regions.

What this served to do was to create and strengthen emotional connections between the audience and these regional champions. These emotional connections would mean that much of the audience was invested in the competitions and therefore engaged on social channels and wherever we distributed information about the competitions.

We’re about to get to the final phase of all our activations across the country, and we’re calling it the Nexterfest, where the various finalists in each of the competitions in each of the regions will be available to be challenged by anyone in that region. These plays don’t affect the competition, but they serve to keep the buzz going and create an ambience and a vibe.

​Can you tell me about the response so far?

I remember when we started discussions for this engagement, and the client was a bit hesitant, as naturally, they would be. They didn’t initially seem to like the ideas, because they didn’t understand the concept of a vox pop. So they wanted us to justify the reason for a vox pop and a showreel. So we told them to give us a chance to show how these content formats could drive value and brand equity for them. So when we did these formats in Nairobi and showed it to them, they saw how the showreel captured the vibe and the energy of the crowd, the reactions, etc.

We could see the client was pleased with the final product, because these formats exuded the brand ethos, and what they’re really about; and then we showed them what the vox pop was, and how it was more in-depth, more detailed in terms of what the feel of the consumer for your brand?

So for them it was almost like direct customer feedback to them which they can use later, or just for them to ascertain their actual positioning from real consumers

Once they appreciated that element, they were sold. They reached out to us for the Nexterfest part of the campaign themselves, and they want the same type of execution, because now they can see the value, and we’re also now discussing how to take up Pulse Gaming long-term.

We have helped them create a community of gamers, and a community of musicians, two communities that they can tap into, even after the campaign is done.

So the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.