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February 17, 2019

Nairobi's new wave of branded debit cards

Nairobi living
Nairobi living

What a Monday Transfer Deadline Day this was.

This is the last day when all football clubs in European football are allowed to do the business of selling or buying players. The biggest focus was on who the English Premier League sides Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United and City had brought in to ensure that they had their best chance of winning what is considered the best league in the world.

I wouldn’t have thought it was a thing Nairobi folk would take seriously until I was in Tuskys supermarket buying some groceries. I found the cashier and an attendant packing the groceries in deep discussion about this very topic. The same discussion was the order of the day when I took a matatu home.

It was the talk all over town, clearly. Facebook timelines were crazy all of Monday evening until 1am on Tuesday as football fanatics followed the proceedings in London.

Some savvy organisations have cottoned onto this Kenyan obsession. Instead of just offering football jerseys, the companies have introduced branded debit cards for the Kenyan market. Fans of the three most popular teams in Kenya, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea can now have cards which are branded in their favourite clubs’ colours and logos. These cards also offer fans a possibility to watch their favourite team play live.

The question on my mind is, now that one can get Mau-U, Chelsea or Arsenal-branded debit cards, whatever next? Health insurance from your Arsenal? Funeral plans from Manchester United? Chelsea-branded yachts?

As branded debit cards become the hottest marketing wave, you can expect many more banks to come up with even greater ideas to entice that customer who will help them grow their bottom line. With the popular English football clubs all done and dusted, what would the wily entrepreneur do to get their share of the debit card market?

There is hope. One needs not focus on the football market to get their market share but look for other things that intrest Kenyans. Whoever will come up with Kenya’s Referendum Card will do very well in certain parts of the country. This card would come in handy for certain Kenyan politicians who believe that the country should go the referendum route every time it is faced with any major decisions. It would also be for those who need to have consensus on every single thing be it at home or work. The referendum card will not only be a debit card. It will also allow you to change your mind when you have already made a purchase.

It’s not just the calls for a referendum that would be a great opportunity for the savvy entrepreneur. A brilliant card concept would be the Spy Card. With people nowadays calling everyone they don’t like spies, this card would be a sure seller. The target market would be those who feel that everyone is up in their business and they need to be wary of those who will come in and leak sensitive information. This information would be personal like a man’s mpango wa kando or professional like should one having gone on a job interview with their employer’s competition.

The offer would be a debit card and some extras that would be given to the customer like James Bond was given his gadgets in all of his movies by gadget expert Q. The goodie bag would include a pen which is not just a pen but is also a spy cam as well as a recorder for all your meetings in the evenings. It would also come with a cheque book that would have different identities ensuring that one pursues the idea of being a spook to the fullest.

Another idea for the debit card market would be Kenya’s first Msaliti Card. Msaliti is a traitor and so this card would be ideal for those who want people to believe that there are some people always out to get them. It would apply to those who are in the highest offices in the land, Judiciary, Executive and Legislature, as well as to those of lesser means. This card will also be for artists who are always singing about their “haters” even though from what one can deduce, they are singing to an audience of one; a studio microphone.

This one will come not just as a card but also a pair of sun glasses so that the haters who try to shine off the customer’s shine would fail to see them. It would also come with a special jacket that is designed for one to brush their shoulders in disdain of perceived haters. It will also come with a free copy of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, a book that will help them deal with haters.


Venue review: Sky Lounge Bar and bites, Kaunda Street

It was a Friday evening and I was heading home after a long day on the grind. I was strolling down Kaunda Street looking for a taxi to take me home when I saw a sign announcing a lounge that I had never seen before; Sky Lounge.

I decided to walk in and have a drink as I figured out how I would get home.

On walking in, I met a burly gentleman in a black suit and white shirt and he kindly informed me that if I was to access the venue I would have to leave my bag at the lockers by the entrance. I follow his advice, got a tag and walked in. I had to use a staircase painted in red to get to the first floor where all the action was. The downside was if I was on a wheelchair, accessing the place it would not have been the best experience.

On getting there, I got a great experience visually. There are two main areas in this lounge. One is a quiet area with a bar counter, several poker tables for people to gamble and a small area where one could have drinks at fixed tables. There were several TVs in the venue that were on different channels.

On one of the channels, Kenya’s newest 800 metres world champion Eunice Sum was on the tracks while on another, Nigerian band P-Square were singing their latest hit, ‘Personally’. I’m sure they air the English Premier League as well.

The other area which I assumed was the lounge proper was sort of an nner sanctum which was a bit dark and had several lounge-type seats of the velvet variety hugging the wall as well as some metal seats in the middle of the area. This was also the area where men’s washrooms were. They were very clean.

I opted for the outer area where I sat down and ordered my usual cold Tusker which was retailing for Sh200. This price is quite high in my opinion but the reality is that with the changes in the drinking game, this is becoming the standard in town. Madness!

The people I was sharing the venue with were a crowd in their mid 20s although there were more men than women.

The one thing I didn’t appreciate here was that there was only one entry and exit.

A quick recap of the venue;

Good: Central location, decent decor, excellent service, clean washrooms, sports junkies can get their fix.

Bad: No disability access, one exit and exit which is not idea for emergencies.

My verdict: If you want to have a quite drink you wouldn’t do badly at the Sky Lounge.

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