Warid launches Mobile Paisa

Warid Mobile PaisaWarid Telecom launched its mobile financial services on December 31, 2013, under the brand name Mobile Paisa. Partnering with Bank Alfalah, Warid is the last telecom company in Pakistan to add branchless banking services to its portfolio. The first service, Easypaisa, was introduced by Telenor and Tameer Microfinance Bank in 2009.

The branchless banking industry has grown steadily since, with players such as UBL, Mobilink, Zong, HBL and Ufone successively entering the market. Driving the momentum is a regulatory environment conducive to innovative models capable of providing access to banking services to Pakistan’s unbanked segment. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) estimates that this segment consists of about 50 to 60 million people, i.e. those who have mobile phones but no bank accounts, also known as the ‘bankable population’.

In June 2011, the SBP made an amendment to the branchless banking regulations and introduced a Level 0 category for branchless banking accounts, making it the most basic type of account with low ‘know your customer’ (KYC) requirements and low transaction limits. Further SBP amendments also provided more flexibility to agents in opening accounts and conducting transactions.

As the last telecom company to enter this competitive market, Warid sees a huge, untapped market. According to Usman Tariq, Senior Manager – Product Marketing Mobile Financial Services, Warid, “Branchless banking has become a very effective means of attracting low-cost deposits and providing banking services post regular office timings to customers.”

In his opinion, branchless banking activity will pick up pace in the coming years, and according to the SBP’s Branchless Banking Newsletter (July-September 2013), there were almost 52 million branchless banking transactions worth Rs 224 billion during that period. Warid is now looking at further penetrating the market by partnering with one of the top commercial banks (sister concern, Bank Alfalah) via a state-of-the-art branchless banking platform, the latest version of Fundamo, powered by Monet.

Mobile Paisa is currently offering OTC services such as money transfer and utility bill payment services to Warid customers across Pakistan. It follows the one-to-one model of branchless banking with Bank Alfalah as the partner financial institution and branchless banking license holder, and Warid as the telecom providing agent network.

For greater financial inclusion, Warid is also using the one-to-many model. The company has recently entered into an agreement with HBL and is in the process of finalising agreements with other banks. Similar to what 1Link did for ATM card users, this system will provide more options and flexibility to customers, while increasing the volume of Mobile Paisa transactions.

According to Tariq, although OTC transactions are the dominant product (accounting for an 81% share in the overall number of branchless banking transactions between July-September 2013), Warid intends to move beyond these services. Mobile Wallet is in the development pipeline and will be launched in April 2014.

Mobile Wallet will be a good step forward for branchless banking in terms of reaching out to the unbanked segment. Tariq explains that Mobile Wallet works like an actual bank account, providing ease in executing financial transactions like bill payment, money transfer and airtime top ups, without depending on an agent network. It is more convenient for customers to use these services through their cell phones instead of looking for an agent’s shop. In addition, Mobile Wallet will be 30% more cost effective due to lower charges on money transfer services (minus agent commission).

Although most other players in the market offer mobile accounts, Tariq says Warid will expand the range of services offered via the Wallet. In addition to money transfer and bill payments, the company will offer services such as salary disbursement, retail payment, ticketing and donations. He says this will link Mobile Paisa to the daily life of customers. For example, as with a credit card, users will be able to make payments at selected outlets with Wallet money. Tariq further adds that companies are eager to take advantage of the salary disbursement option especially for blue collar workers, while white collar workers will be interested in options such as ticketing and retail payments.

Warid employs both shared and exclusive agents, adding to an existing overall network of more than 110,000 agents (SBP Branchless Banking Newsletter, July-September 2013). In addition, an aggressive plan is in place to increase the number of agents by 300% in 2014 in order to be competitive in the market. According to Tariq, taking agents onboard is a challenge as the retail industry is largely undocumented, especially in rural areas where most transactions are made in cash. Keeping this and the market commission structure in mind, Warid is offering higher commissions than the industry average. The company has also launched a campaign offering double commission to agents who achieve their monthly targets as an additional incentive and it is also focusing on creating best practices. On the agent’s side, this means more efficient back end systems and processes; on the customer’s side, this means user friendly interface and technology and quick turnaround times in resolving issues.

Talking about the marketing aspect of Mobile Paisa, Tariq says, “Our communication is emotion-based because we know what it means to support your loved ones in an hour of need. Mobile Paisa liberates people from the restriction of having to pay bills within designated hours only, as well as from the long wait in transferring money over long distances. While everyone else talks only about convenience, we go a step further and talk about the hard work that every Pakistani puts in his daily life so that the wheel of the economy can continue to turn; hence our tagline ‘Chalta rahay Pakistan’.”

The brand name Mobile Paisa was identified three years ago as covering the full ecosystem of branchless banking: all financial services available to users on their mobile, instead of focusing on only one service or benefit such as time saving, Tariq adds.

So far Warid has engaged in BTL marketing only, mainly through in-shop branding and signboards. A 360 degree marketing campaign is to be rolled out simultaneously with the launch of Mobile Wallet, expected in April 2014.

The addition of the Mobile Wallet with its promised range of services and improved customer experience is likely to give Warid a differentiated platform in an expanding branchless banking market, where innovation is essential for survival.

First published in the March-April 2014 issue.

A blessing for milk consumers?

MabrookThe launch of a chain of milk shops called Mabrook sees Engro Foods venturing into the loose or fresh milk (khula dood) segment.

Mabrook is a test market project that will be piloted in Karachi only in the first year. The first retail outlet was launched in mid-November last year in Federal B Area, followed by others in December. Two to three shops will be launched every other week until Engro reaches its first year target of 30 shops.

According to Salman Goheer, Director Fresh Dairy Business, Engro Foods, the company entered the milk market in 2006, gaining market leadership in the UHT segment in 2009, and since 2012 it has enjoyed a market share of over 50% with brands like Olper’s and Tarang now household names. The next logical move, says Goheer, was to tap into the bigger chunk of the pie, which is the loose milk segment. Pakistan is among the top five milk producing countries in the world with an annual production of between 34 to 35 billion litres of tradable milk (the official figure keeps changing); Engro Foods’ internal estimate is at approximately 20 billion litres. The segment accounts for 92% of the tradable milk produced while packaged and powdered milk have an eight percent share, although the latter segment has been growing steadily since 2003.

To ensure continued and rapid expansion in the milk category, Engro has now decided to place itself at the front end of the value chain. Mabrook’s target consumer group is mainly the middle income segment and Engro will be matching the current prices for milk and yoghurt (Rs 78 per litre and Rs 110 per kilogramme, respectively).

Given that in Karachi, 90% of the loose milk is sold through shops, Engro has set up a franchise-based business model to operate the Mabrook shops. The company has identified 16 of its 30 franchisees and aims to reach its target in the next five to six months. Mabrook shops will be located in Gulberg, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, JamshedTown, North Nazimabad and Saddar although the exact locations are still under evaluation for visibility and easy access.

The criteria for selecting franchisees include reputation, financial strength and market history. Engro will handle the back end of the operation to ensure the smooth delivery of the milk to the shops and to this end has created its own milk procurement infrastructure; the milk is collected from areas within a 100 kilometre radius of Karachi and the processing plant is based in Korangi.

Goheer expects the company to face multiple challenges in this new venture, which is why Engro is test marketing the concept. Among the challenges are managing a one-day shelf life product, and ensuring consistent quality and hygiene inside the shops.

The venture will require Engro to invest over a billion rupees in 2014; so far the company has invested approximately Rs 200 million in infrastructure alone. Investment will also go towards establishing strong systems and training people to ensure that hygiene protocols and standards are followed by the franchisees. The design and layout of the Mabrook shops has been geared to guarantee that the product does not attract high bacteria counts as the day progresses.

Apart from the internal challenges of quality, shop design and implementation, Goheer says the biggest external challenge is the law and order situation in Karachi. For example, if the city shuts down for five days, Engro will have to figure out how to store the milk safely.

To ensure continued and rapid expansion in the milk category, Engro has now decided to place itself at the front end of the value chain.

The venture is not expected to affect Engro’s share in the packaged UHT segment as it caters mainly to SEC A+ (and to some extent SEC A) consumers and the company does not anticipate any overlap between the two segments. On the other hand, there is a lot of competition in the loose milk category with countless unbranded milk shops operating in Karachi, although the conditions there tend towards the unhygienic, and adulteration is common.

Goheer says, “Engro now has an efficient knowledge base in terms of milk. We will be able to deliver a good and consistent quality product in a very hygienic way to our customers, and this is how we will move against our competitors. Engro is deeply rooted in Pakistan, with a 50-year history, so the name helps a lot in attracting people to work with us and in reaching out to customers. We have sufficient experience with operational controls and will use it to keep a quality check on the Mabrook franchisees.”

In terms of the marketing strategy, the focus will be on ground activities and these are scheduled to start in the next couple of months. The name Mabrook is derived from the Arabic words barkat (abundance, auspicious) and mubarak (blessed) and has been endorsed by consumer research.

After the one year test marketing period in Karachi, Engro hopes to expand to other parts of Pakistan. Goheeer predicts that “we will rapidly expand next year. This year will be a learning platform and we will move forward according to our experience in the market. We are creating a new channel and once it proves successful, I am sure other companies will follow, which will be good for the consumer and the industry.”

First published in the January-February 2014 issue.

PRESS RELEASE: Chatterbox Café Brings Innovation To Town

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Pakistan’s premier bakery, Pie in the Sky’s newest café, Chatterbox opened its doors in DHA – Phase VI, Karachi. Chatterbox Café promises to bring innovation to the city’s food map with the launch of its new café. The café that grew out of a bakery, previously introduced Karachiites to the idea of a bakery-café for a unique dining experience.

“Chatterbox was initially an extension of Pie in the Sky, since there was no concept of having a seating area or a café with a bakery in Karachi; we introduced the idea for the first time in Karachi. Chatterbox evolved from there. Since I like to challenge myself, I decided to start this new venture to take Chatterbox in a new direction. Also, what drives me is the love and passion for the brand,” said Naila Naqvi, Owner Chatterbox.

Naila with friends

Naila Naqvi, Owner of Chatterbox, entertaining friends at the new café

The launch of the new café, located at Bukhari Commercial, brings with it a fusion of cuisines that are yet to hit Karachi. Breakfast items such as Shakshuka — a Mediterranean dish of eggs poached in a spicy sauce of tomatoes — and Beef Rice Bowl bring an element of exclusivity to the menu. Dishes that are not available in other cafés and restaurants also include Savory Granola and tantalising desserts for those with an insatiable sweet tooth, such as Caramel Budino with salted caramel, White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake, and Sticky Toffee Pudding. To maintain the taste and quality, the management imports most of the ingredients; Swiss chocolate is used for desserts that require chocolate and fresh fruits.

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The café has a country and rustic feel to it, thanks to the antiques and brick walls. “The idea was to create a comfortable and welcoming environment. We started off with antiques and brick walls to give it a rustic feel. The furniture and lights are from Dubai to create an edge,” said Naila Naqvi.

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A new diner is always welcome in Karachi, provided it keeps up with the foodies’ expectations. Chatterbox is sure to live up the expectations after setting a standard with its bakery café. If you are a food lover and looking for exquisite and innovative menu, Chatterbox’s menu is sure to surprise you! The café has not set a specific target market in mind, as all those who appreciate exquisite flavours are welcome.

Rishta brigade

Published in Spider (Dawn Group of Newspapers) – March 2014

mehndiBy Ayesha Hoda

“Muslim, Sunni, Syed, Pakistani, Pashtun, moderate, hailing from upper middle class, living in Dubai in a nuclear family, never married before, no children athletic, no physical disabilities, 6 feet 1 inch in height with a very fair complexion and non-vegetarian (halal) diet.”

This is one of the many descriptions of the eligible men on the countless Pakistani matrimonial web portals such as Pakistanimatrimony.com and Mehndi.com. If you have set your relationship status as “Single” on Facebook, you will see many ads and sponsored links offering to pair you up with the most eligible Pakistani Muslim man or woman.

Much like an eager and pestering rishta aunty, these websites typically ask you a thousand questions about yourself, including religion, social status, physical appearance, geographic location, cultural background, hobbies and interests. They give third parties, such as parents, siblings, relatives or friends the option to make a profile on someone else’s behalf, which is uploaded on a searchable database on the website.

After registering and updating your details, you can either wait for suitors (or their parents) to visit your profile or search for the “ideal” partner by entering the desired characteristics, in tools such as advanced search or auto matchmaker, and voila, you have at least a thousand plus matches available. These websites further promise that you will get better matches if you update a good profile picture. Arranged marriage just got easier with modern technology – no dependency on the not-so well wishing neighbours, relatives and friends to recommend someone – or so one would assume.
Sadly, the reality is quite far from this. While matrimonial sites are sometimes regarded as an Indian e-business success story, one rarely hears of any marriage in Pakistan that has been initiated through one of the local matrimonial websites.
Salman Siddiqui, a Pakistan PR professional residing in Singapore, is cynical about these sites because of the numerous stories he has heard in his social circle. “I think matrimonial websites are for either perverted men who sign up for the sole purpose to exploit others for their own indulgence or ‘kitchen-bound aunties’, in desperate hope to find a complete stranger for their inexperienced children. Marrying someone off the Internet is quite deplorable. Sure, one can meet another for dating and to see how it goes from there, but if your prime objective is to wed the person sitting on the other side of the screen, then my friend, you need psychotherapy.”

Too harsh and judgmental, some would think. But Salman’s opinion is based on a friend’s experience, who was “a victim of such heinous motives… it happens in Pakistan and even in India on daily a basis,” he says.

Harris Siddiqui, whose work revolves around web development and social media, reveals that many owners of these websites create them for the sole purpose of earning money through premium memberships, advertising and affiliate programs. For this they need to build a community for six months and therefore create many fake profiles of women and advertise “success stories”, luring people facing social pressure to tie the knot, especially women (as the proverbial clock is supposedly ticking!). Harris thinks these sites in Pakistan are rarely authentic and the matrimonial sections in newspapers are more effective.

Revenue generation does seem to be the main focus of these sites, some of which were also offering discount deals on Valentine’s Day. The commercialization of marriage seems to have no bounds!

Across borders
Matrimonial sites seem to have more success in India or for South Asians living abroad. While researching for this article, I came across a few real success stories. Zehra Farhan, a freelance writer, shares, “Matrimonial websites may not be of much use here in Pakistan but are useful for desis living abroad. One of my cousins in Canada got married through www.shaadi.com. Her mother searched for suitors on the website and found her husband, a Muslim of Indian descent from Singapore who was living and working in the US. So their experience has been great. You just need to be serious and look for other serious people. Most of the time, you can judge the seriousness on the other side, especially when parents are involved and operating the account. My relatives did not go for a Pakistani website, however, as most users there seemed to have registered for stalking rather than serious matchmaking.”

An Indian doctor, Amir Husain, shares how his family found his young sister’s second husband through shaadi.com after her divorce. He says there are many such Indian websites, with some exclusively for people who are divorced or widowed. Users can choose the level of confidentiality in account settings and find someone without the concerns and suggestions of all and sundry.

“Of course we were extra cautious while narrowing down the possible matches the system generated,” Amir says. “After selection you start communicating. It’s a time consuming process and ultimately takes a leap of faith, but then aren’t all marriages the same?”

Clearly South Asians living abroad are getting ideas based on the success of websites like shaadi.com. A new website called Hipster Shaadi – http://www.hipstershaadi.com – created by a group of American Muslims, seems to be a step in this direction. It has been defined by The Guardian as “the matchmaking site for hip young Muslims”. It gives people the option of making a unique profile, based on their individuality and preferences, rather than focusing on social status and visual appearance.

If you live abroad and can fathom the concept of online marriage-broking, these websites may be the route to go for a non-traditional arranged marriage, which might actually be less embarrassing and nerve-racking than the typical drawing room setting option.

Social Good

By Ayesha Hoda

Published in Spider Magazine – Dawn (June 2013)

The impact created by non-profit organisations using effective social media campaigns.

While many corporate brands in Pakistan have now realised the power of social media, very few nonprofits here are harnessing its power effectively to build a case for their cause.

Through blogs, micro blogs and social networks, a non-profit can create public awareness of its cause and mission, raise funds or promote fundraisers, reach new supporters and volunteers, and get people to take some action, all for free.

There are a few non-government organisations in Pakistan that have strengthened their digital presence in the last couple of years, mainly via their websites, Facebook pages and Twitter handles.

One such NGO is Bytes for All (B4A), Pakistan, a human rights organisation focused on information and communication technologies (ICTs). Some of its most prominent projects include the Take Back The Tech Campaign, Access is My Right and PakVotes.

Though its website – www.bytesforall.pk – is promptly updated as activities take place, Bytes for All considers social media the central hub of engagement. Its Coordinator Advocacy and Outreach, Furhan Hussain highlights, “That’s where the concentration of our primary audience is [with nearly 30,000 fans on Facebook]. We make it a point to keep engaging with people through tweets and status updates, share links of all activity happening at our front as well as all relevant press coverage.”

Furhan says that people have so much information coming their way these days that their attention spans have decreased drastically, and very few want to read complicated reports and tedious blog posts. That is why B4A has heavily shifted towards visualisation of information in small, palatable bits, using posters, infographics, photographs and videos.

Another NGO with a large following on social media is The Citizens Foundation (TCF), which builds schools for less privileged children in Pakistan. Its main Facebook page currently has more than 41,000 fans. There are several other pages created and run by supporters in different parts of the world. Interestingly, TCF gained a name on Twitter not through its official handle but as a result of active promotion by Tuba Mehmood (@Tuba_TCF), who was the former Assistant Manager for Volunteers and Alumni at TCF in Lahore.

Tuba started using Twitter in 2011, in search of volunteers in Lahore for TCF’s mentoring program. What worked for her was personally promoting the cause and replying to all queries politely but enthusiastically, followed by face-to-face meetings. People were drawn because someone spoke to them on a personal level rather than just giving updates via an official handle.

“I think interacting with people is extremely important if you’re selling your idea or product,” Tuba says. “I got a tremendous response and I’ve got many dedicated volunteers via Twitter. It helped with donations as well.”

Tuba currently has around 3000 followers on Twitter and is better known by her handle.

Similarly, Nuzhat Saadia Siddiqi (@guldaar), Press and Media Coordinator, WWF-Pakistan (World Wide Fund for Nature, Pakistan), started using social media in 2010 to promote her organisation’s work. Nuzhat’s was inspired by WWF International and Greenpeace International, two organisations that have leveraged social media tremendously to reach out to a global audience.

“A large number of young adults from Pakistan are now online and I believe that reaching out to them about conservation, sustainability and environment issues is a critical supplement to their traditional education,” Nuzhat shares. “No one really thinks about involving them [18-34 year olds] in the process of positive change through volunteer and environmental activities.”

Over the last three years, WWF-Pakistan social media campaigns have received an overwhelming response not just from Pakistanis but also from people in other countries, who were pleasantly surprised to see such work being done in Pakistan, a country usually associated with sectarian violence and terrorism. Due to its increasing importance for marketing of WWF-Pakistan projects, the social media function was recently outsourced to an agency.

Sharing her experiences of cause marketing online, Nuzhat says, “I believe the best way to engage with an audience via social media is to keep the tone personal, be pro-active, and share only what you really truly believe in. Several brands and organisations outsource their social media from the get-go and not all social media experts currently working in the field treat your organisation as their own, but rather as a brand. A brand is impersonal, a cause is personal. For me, it has been about believing in the cause and spreading my joy and trust in it. This has been the main reason that without spending even a single dime, we went from having 12 to 50,000 supporters on Facebook.”

Gradually, more non-profit pages seem to be springing up in Pakistan but only those with a well-designed strategy and persistent updates have an impact. For instance, HOPE (Health Oriented Preventive Education) Pakistan – an NGO that runs schools, vocational training centres, works in healthcare for vulnerable communities and provides emergency relief and rehabilitation – has recently become active on social media.

Tahiya Tul Husna, Social Media Specialist at HOPE, says their strategy is: Awareness > Influence > Action > Impact. HOPE encourages its employees to use their personal social media accounts to cross-promote social campaigns online and become online ambassadors.

“HOPE Pakistan cannot operate as a faceless organisation,” Tahiya says. “Every donor and volunteer has to be engaged and people are more ‘invested’ in the lives of the real people that they follow on Twitter than an actual brand, even if it belongs to a respected NGO.”

Important lessons are to be learnt from these and a few such other success stories of non-profits. First and foremost is that since social media is a free and powerful marketing tool, Pakistani non-profits, with their limited marketing budgets, should definitely use it (after analyzing any risks involved). Other things to keep in mind when developing a strategy are:

  • Universal appeal – Promote the cause as a whole, not only your organisation
  • Emotional impact – storytelling, photos and videos work more than lengthy updates or blog posts
  • A social exchange – build relationships online rather than simply disseminating messages
  • The human element – get some staff members on board who can become ambassadors for your cause online
  • Get them involved – tell people what steps they can take to make a difference (it can be as simple as requesting a retweet).

USAID: Changing Conversations

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Published in Aurora Magazine

By Ayesha Hoda

In an attempt at transparency and rebuttal of myths about US assistance, an ad campaign ‘Roshan Pakistan’ (Brighter Pakistan) was launched by USAID in May this year.

The campaign apprised us of the role of USAID, a US government agency which provides development assistance to countries around the world, including Pakistan. Over the years, USAID has been active in various sectors and socio-economic programs designed to impact hundreds of communities across the country.

The organization has only recently started focusing on directly and heavily advertising its assistance in Pakistan. USAID spends less than 0.5% of its annual budget on public communications efforts. It was only in early 2011 that it conducted the first large-scale ad campaign although it has been advertising for several years in other countries like Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia and Egypt. In Pakistan, USAID has previously advertised causes such as enrolment in modern teacher education programs, tourism revival in Swat and energy efficiency efforts.

Roshan Pakistan is the largest USAID ad campaign, not only in Pakistan but all over the world. Communications Specialist at USAID Pakistan, Virginija Morgan says that this is an effort to increase transparency and accountability.

“I am sure you have heard people of this country questioning how exactly US assistance is being used,” she says. “Advertising campaigns such as these help answer this question. Since the start of the campaign, we have heard many of our counterparts, and even people we meet in various communities, thank us for explaining what assistance is being provided to their country on behalf of the American people.”

Only a handful of people in Pakistan – government organizations, NGOs and teams of experts – deal with USAID directly. Hence, a need to utilize mass media tools was identified to reach out to the people who are experiencing the benefits of US funded programs in their lives. The primary target audience is thus SEC C, D and E, while A and B are secondary.

The campaign, whose concept was born in early 2012, was created by Interflow. The agency has been engaged with USAID indirectly for many years for other projects such as Key Social Marketing, PAIMAN, Abt. Associates etc. For Roshan Pakistan, Interflow was however contracted as a partner under the banner of the Public Communications Project (PCP).

Syed Atif Saeed, Group Account Director (Designated Director Operations for PCP) at Interflow, reveals that the umbrella concept/strategy of the campaign was “Roshan Pakistan”, selected on evidence based procedures through research.

“The rationale behind this is that everyone wants a ‘Roshan Pakistan’. The three areas USAID spends immensely on are education, poverty alleviation and energy. All these focused areas synergize with the umbrella concept aptly,” he says.

The campaign was run in three phases. According to Interflow, Phase I (May and June) consisted of information and education communication component (IEC), that is, it familiarized people with the development initiatives USAID has taken in Pakistan. The introductory print ad tells us how USAID is trying to achieve a Brighter Pakistan. The other print ads focus directly on education, energy and poverty alleviation, with detailed copy which sheds light on the areas and projects USAID has invested in. The second phase (August and September) ads are a combination of IEC and Behavioral Change Communication (BCC). This is a thematic campaign which was geared towards building an emotional connection between Americans and Pakistanis, by depicting friendship, tolerance and highlighting the contributions of USAID employees.

For Phase three (October – November), the agency tweaked and made some adjustments in the earlier communications based on feedback received. For example, research revealed that people often watch television by switching off/lowering the volume so written text in the form of pop-ups was introduced on the screen. The print ads in this phase were not too different except for some changes in copy.

Roshan Pakistan stands apart from other social development campaigns of NGOs and youth groups as it does not ask for donations or volunteering support or talk about patriotism or any cause in detail. It merely talks about USAID activities in certain sectors, what positive changes these can bring and Pak-American friendship. This serves the purpose of the campaign since the objective here is not to market any particular cause or program.

The TVCs and radio spots are in the same vein as the print ads but they tell a story: the story of making a difference through assistance and joint efforts. Three of the ads are based on common Pakistanis and their daily issues, which can be resolved by improving literacy, providing energy and employment opportunities to the less privileged. The main thematic ad shows USAID workers mingling with local citizens. Whether this has generated a wave of positive sentiment or not is debatable.

Unlike other local and international social sector campaigns, Roshan Pakistan also does not present anyone as a victim in need of assistance – no images of extreme poverty, dismal living conditions, children out of school etc. – and neither portrays development as a simple process by promising instant change. Watching it for the first time, you might think it is an ad for a telco or an FMCG brand. But the TVCs have the ability to draw you in. What works for the print ads are the examples of the large projects USAID has undertaken or invested in over the years.

The campaign was run on a 360 degree basis, including outdoor, TV, cable, cinema, print, radio and digital mediums. It was a nationwide initiative. The first year’s KPI was to raise the awareness level from 8 to 12 percent. The second year’s objective is to take it to 24 percent.

However, against the volatile political backdrop and anti-US sentiments of the public, the campaign, its entire look and feel, can seem highly optimistic, especially with regard to relations between common citizens and their American counterparts.

“In general terms the campaign was launched with a lot of apprehension and fear of backlash,” shares Atif. “But no noteable negative feedback has reached us. In terms of statistics, key performance indicator of raising awareness by 50 percent has been achieved.”

Virginija Morgan adds to this by mentioning that they are already witnessing the impact of Roshan Pakistan as dinner table conversations in many households have moved towards the importance of education, job training and energy efforts; people are showing an interest in replicating some of the initiatives.

The campaign is still at a nascent stage and as with any such awareness/image building campaign, significant impact can only be visible after subsequent reinforcements of the messages. Therefore, USAID plans to continue the campaign in the future.

PRESS RELEASE: Farah Leghari’s big comeback!

Farah Leghari has made a comeback (after four years) with her unique and elegant lawn prints. ImageThe credit of bringing Farah Leghari back into the world of style and fashion goes to Gohar Textiles Mills, a Faisalabad based company.

Farah Leghari’s collection has six distinct designs. Amongst her most popular designs are the ones infused with rich jeweled colours.

“This collection celebrates the femme fatale in all of us. Having designed for Royalty, I aspire to make each one of you feel like a ‘princess’ in my creation,” says Farah.

Farah has also participated in numerous fashion shows around the world and helped organize fundraisers abroad for charities like The Citizens Foundation.