KickStart knows that the MoneyMaker irrigation pump will help people make a lot of money, but its impact will be negligible if people do not know about them or don’t understand their value. Like Greenlight Planet’s solar lanterns, KickStart has learned that traditional marketing tactics like radio and print advertisements alone are not effective in reaching their target demographic: poor rural farmers.  Instead, KickStart has to invest in building trust and awareness of their brands through a large direct sales force, distribution of marketing collateral, and village “storms,” whereby a fleet of KickStart vehicles flood a village and host community-wide events like pump contests and demonstrations. To help develop Kickstart as a household brand, the company relies on innovative formats to reach a spectrum of potential customers.

Key Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different formats to reach new segments. Realize that everyone has interconnected networks, and likely knows someone who would benefit from your product.

Don’t Wait for the Rain Music Video

KickStart partnered with Masai rap artist Mr. Ebbo to create a memorable tune that will keep you humming for days. Lyrics are in Swahili, but here’s an excerpt from the English translation.

If you own a MoneyMaker pump what else do you need?
 You will plant and harvest all year round.
 Your poverty will end. You will be able to
 educate and feed your children,
 and even save some money.

Shujaaz Comic Book

Shujaaz, meaning heroes, is a comic book that aims to raise awareness of important social issues in Kenya.  The genesis for the comic book came from a businessman who believed that Shujaaz can change young people’s ideas about farming, and get them working with new technologies. Written in sheng, the contemporary slang language of Kenyan youth, Shujaaz accomplishes that mission through monthly publication in the Daily Nation newspaper, an online website, a daily radio show, and downloadable mobile content.

In April 2010, the Charlie Pele issue was launched. The comic tells the story of Charlie who is forced to irrigate the fields with a bucket – a slow, laborious process. Luckily he comes across a neighbor who has a rich crop of vegetables and learns her secret, a MoneyMaker pump!  Click on the images below to see the entire comic strip.

At the end of the comic, KickStart inserted a raffle contest where a reader could text a SMS message with the right answer to the question. Over 1,000 people responded to the question, and out of the correct responses, three winners were chosen to win a KickStart product. This is where the value of KickStart’s unorthodox marketing comes into play.  One of the winners, Ms. Judy Wambui, won the prize because her son Roi, 13, entered her into the competition by sending her name and correct answer to the query to a specified short code number.  By using a fun, interactive format and selecting an identifiable spokesperson like Charlie, KickStart was able to raise product and brand awareness among the urban youth and lessen the stigma related to occupational farming.

End Notes


Want to share feedback on this case study? Use this form!