ABSTRACT: The study’s objective was to investigate the influence of reality TV shows on the brand image with a focus on MTN Project Fame. MTN Project Fame is one of the strategies utilized to increase MTN’s support for the host nation and enhance its reputation. through organizing a variety of activities, shows, and sporting occasions, such as “MTN Project Fame” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” among others, as ways to give back and enhance the reputation of the company. As a research method, a cross sectional survey was employed while the data collection instrument was a questionnaire. The respondents were drawn from students of the University of Lagos, Akoka who were believed to be regular viewers of the MTN project fame. A total of one hundred twenty (120) copies of the questionnaire were distributed, and all of them were quickly collected because the researcher closely monitor the process. Frequency and percentage methods were used to analyze the data. 78.3% of respondents agreed with the study’s results that the programme is well-liked by the general public, and it was determined that MTN Project Fame enhances the MTN brand’s reputation. In order to draw in viewers from rural areas as well, it was suggested that MTN air the programme on rural or community television stations in addition to city media.
Keywords: Brand Image
1.1 Background to the Study
Television is an audio-visual medium that has the capacity to influence the attitude, behaviour, thinking, and socialization of an individual from childhood to the adulthood stage. The popular assertion of “See is believing” makes television messages more accepted, persuasive and very influential.
Television is used for several reasons including information, education, entertainment, and persuasion. Unlike other media structures, television has the advantage of utilizing vision for mass communication.
It is a socializing agent as information transmitted can easily affect consumers’ worldview, perception and behaviour. It exposes people to opinions that challenge traditional ethos. Television has thus become a major source of information acquisition, companionship and a relaxation tool as it provides millions with free leisure strategies and opportunities. Koblowe and Oluchi (2010) through its various programmes that catches the interest of different segment of publics.
Therefore, programming remains a key instrument for attracting audience and determining the viability of a station. Koblowe and Oluchi (2010) programmes attract advertisers in showcasing their products and services in the forms of Sponsorships where advertiser assumes total financial responsibility for producing the programme and providing the commercials and advertiser can control the content and quality of the program and the placement and length of commercials. Similarly, Product Placement can be used when a company pays to have verbal or visual brand exposure in a movie or TV program. The third approach is the use of Participations where advertisers pay for 10, 15, 20, 30, or 60 seconds of commercial time during programmes.
However, television’s effect on viewers is a subject that has been extensively studied in the last two decades and whose impact extends farther than most people realize (Olayinka, 2010). Many studies have focused on how television programmes that appear to be “real” (such as news and daytime dramas) alter the viewers’ perception of reality (or social reality). However, recently a new fad in television has surfaced and it appears to be taking over.
Reality television shows are overtaking the networks leaving behind an even bigger effect than that of regular television program which is believed to generate social forces of undeniable influence. Meanwhile, reality television is a genre of television programme that documents unscripted situations and actual occurrences, and often features a previously unknown cast. The genre often highlights personal drama and conflict to a much greater extent than other unscripted television such as documentary shows.
The genre has various standard tropes, such as reality TV confessionals used by cast members to express their thoughts, which often double as the shows’ narration. In competition-based reality shows, a notable subset, there are other common elements such as one participant being eliminated per episode, a panel of judges, and the concept of immunity from elimination (Wikipedia, nd).
According to StudyCorgi (2020), some of the reality television shows in Nigeria are Big Brother Naija, Nigerian Idols, The X Factor, Maltina Dance, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Gulder Ultimate Search, The Next Titan, Knorr Taste Quest, Nigeria’s Got Talent, Nigeria’s Top Model, Project Fame West Africa and The Voice Nigeria. However, Big Brother Naija is one of the most popular reality programmes, in the Big Brother Naija including dating, beauty pageant, alcohol consumption, conquering fright, and suggestive behaviour linked to sexual activity themes. It should be added that the show have received wider attention among youths “due to special features like reward options for the participants, format and their interactive nature.
MTN Project Fame, Big Brother Africa and “Nigeria Got Talents” are some of reality television shows that have many Nigerians undergraduates and talented youth as participants and fans. For the purpose of this study, effort is dwelled on MTN Project Fame. Project Fame is a regional music talent TV reality show filmed in Lagos, Nigeria, aired in the West Africa. It is a local version of Star Academy reality series that was developed and is licensed worldwide by Endemol. The show features contestants from Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the show is broadcast by 4 networks in these four countries.
Run by Endemol production, Project Fame’s inaugural season began on July 18, 2010. The production format consists of gala evenings held each Sunday night in prime time and hosted by Joseph Benjamin and Adaora Oleh . Additionally, there’s a weekly recap show and the Eviction night on Saturday night.
In the meantime, as part of the efforts to improve the image and contributions of MTN to the hosting communities or nations, it organizes different activities, programmes and sporting event such as: “MTN Project Fame” and “Who wants to be a Millionaire” etc to hunt talents, promote talents, and encourage talents not only by given then fame but also given catch and assist in building their careers especially as unemployment is on the increase in Nigeria. Graduates and undergraduates who are talented see it as avenue to try their luck while those who did not really have the talent enjoy the show as an entertainment.
Because lots of the participants in the past are now celebrities in Nigeria such as Niniola who performed with her mentor Kcee, Ayoola the winner of MTN Project Fame Season 5 release a song titled ‘Aya Wa’. Also, Project Fame alumnus Tolu drops ‘Missing you’ single, Project Fame Season 6 winner, Olawale drop new single titled ‘Is Notin’. And many other that are now super stars (mtn project fame, nd).
The show is serving dual role apart from the fact that it is a form of social responsibility to the Nigerians and other Africa nations where MTN subscribers are, it also offers MTN a unique platform to promote its brand image and products/services. At least people buy MTN card to subscribe in order to enable them vote for their desire artistes. It is against this background that the research examined the influence of reality TV show on brand image using MTN Project Fame as a reference point.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Reality television as it is known today emerged in the last ten years and very little has been written about it, let alone been researched.
It is agued that an element of reality programmes’ appeal is that it help viewers to feel important because seeing ordinary people on the shows allows them to ‘‘fantasize that they could gain celebrity status by being on television.
Green et al., (2004). Opined that reality TV show contributes to enjoyment by distracting audience members’ from personal concerns or stress, allowing them to learn new things, and fostering a sense of connection with characters.
James (2006) revealed that no prior studies had been conducted on reality television in Africa and Nigeria context in particular up to 2005. It is therefore clear that reality television research is still in its infancy stage and that research approach is currently most needed in this field of study as it is been used to promote brand or product identity.
However, the research examines the extent of which reality television show influences audience on brand image of product and some of the elements or factors that determine audience interest in watching reality television show. To this end, focus is made on MTN Project Fame since it is very difficult if not impossible to study all reality TV show in Nigeria and researcher shall limited the study to the students of University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos State.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Although, the primary objective of this study is to assess the level of influence which reality television show has on brand image of MTN using MTN Project Fame as a case study. The specific objectives of this study are to:
- investigate the influence of reality television show on brand image of MTN.
- examine factors that influence viewers to participate actively in MTN Project Fame.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- To what extent has reality television show influence brand image of MTN?
- What factors influencing viewers to participate actively in MTN Project Fame?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There is no gainsaying in the fact that a relatively new topic like this will be beneficial to lots of people, corporate bodies and media. It is important to state some of the beneficiaries of this research when completed.
This study will show parents how to be responsible for the upbringing and training of their children instead of living such training to their peers, television, teachers and determine watching hour and programme exposure of their children.
Therefore, the findings of this research will serve as a good literature for both scholars and students of mass communication and those in other related field who might want to carry out similar or related research in the future.
Media houses will also learning how to schedule their programmes and know the nature of the programmes to be televised to youth. Media planners will also know how best to package reality show and to let them know what people wants.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research which investigated the influence of reality TV show on brand image using MTN Project Fame as a reference point was narrowed in scope to students of University of Lagos, Akoka. Thus, the geographical scope of this study was within Lagos State. The choice of University of Lagos, Akoka was due to its proximity to the researcher, inadequate time to study all universities in Nigeria among other logistics.
Hence the demography of the respondent will be examined before the preparation and administration of questionnaire to the selected respondents.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Television: This is an electronic device that presents event and situation in audio visual manner with the capacity to make viewers see the event in a real sense.
Reality TV Show: These are television programme that are designed base on happen in society, or it is the imitation of reality.
Brand Image: The impression in the consumers’ mind of a brand’s total personality
MTN Project Fame: Is a regional music talent TV reality show filmed in Lagos, Nigeria
“INFLUENCE OF REALITY TV SHOW ON BRAND IMAGE“
Format = MS Word, Price = ₦4000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 52, References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes