Transcend Media Group Responds to the Numerous Reports in Electronic, Print and Social Media Pages.
Our attention has been drawn to numerous print, electronic and social media reports with regard to Transcend Media Group Limited (TMG) and wish to clarify as follows:
TMG is a wholly owned Kenyan Company specializing in advertising, media and communication services.
The Group employs more than 80 young Kenyan professionals directly; and offers opportunities to thousands of others indirectly through third party suppliers whom it constantly engages. These include producers, artistes, creatives, activators, printers, event organizers, IT and emerging media practitioners, among others.
The Group espouses patriotism and has a Kenyan bias with regard to employment and sourcing of services.
At the same time, the Group is affiliated internationally to one of the largest Advertising networks in the world; that is, Inter Public Group of Companies (IPG), namely McCann Worldgroup and Mullen Lowe. This partnership has enabled the Group to tap into the best in class strategic tools to provide top-notch communications solutions to clients. Further, the Group has invested in a robust operating system to support work flow processes and efficiencies.
The Company has experienced organic growth over the years, to become a major player in the media, communications and advertising industry by attracting the best talent, applying best industry and corporate governance practice. The Company is a signatory to the Code of Ethics of Business in Kenya, through its membership in the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).
Over the years, TMG has competitively won major blue chip company accounts, as well as Multinationals, Kenyan Corporates, NGOs and government agencies. The Group has satisfactorily carried out major assignments to the full satisfaction of its clients leading to recognition awards from the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK) and International Quality Crown Awards (IQCA) and African Sun Advertising Awards (ASAF).
With regard to the foregoing, we wish to state as follows:
On 19th December 2013, Safaricom Kenya (Safaricom) sent out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for a creative and digital agency pitch to eight out of hundreds of potential media, advertising and communication agencies in the country. The pitch included the following:
a) Ability to deliver both ATL & BTL (Above the line and Below the line); b) Strong financial capability due to Safaricom’s huge spends; c) Working relations with any of Safaricom’s competitors; d) Strong worldwide partnership and international network ; and e) A clear Strategy proposal.
The selection of the eight companies was based on an intense market research by Safaricom to identify the country’s top agencies that satisfy the RFP requirements.
Notably, four of the eight agencies that bid were interestingly WPP/Scangroup affiliated companies.
It has now emerged that Scanad were awarded the contract as detailed in a KPMG report which noted that “Although Transcend Media was ranked first during the technical and commercial analysis, we observed that they were not selected”. Notably, the award was for a period of one year, yet two years down the line, Scanad continues to offer services without being subjected to a rigorous procurement process.
Fast forward to January 2016, with Scanad as its agency, Safaricom sought to procure a second agency to specifically handle the youth segment brand communication. Once again, TMG was identified and shortlisted by Safaricom among the leading Kenyan agencies to bid for this specialized communication.
TMG was further identified to bid for four other categories owing to the fact that the Company is a full service integrated marketing and communication agency. The events that unfolded were thus; a) The Company went through three stages of the rigorous bid process. b) Before officially communicating the results of the tender to the participating agencies, Safaricom awarded the business to Saracen Media Limited (Saracen), an exclusively media buying agency. c) Details have emerged that Saracen had initially bid with a creative agency known as 5ive Ltd., which was dropped at the behest of senior Safaricom management staff. d) In short, Safaricom, awarded the business to Saracen and a Company owned by former TMG staff who were involved in our bid for Safaricom including the team leader. The said Company is now illegally implementing TMG’s intellectual property. e) TMG has already instituted a legal process with regard to the staff departure, corporate espionage and sabotage; as well as infringement of its intellectual property and proprietary tools. Further, TMG has severally demanded for return of its submitted strategy and creative body of works from Safaricom but to no avail.
The ongoing malicious and defamatory media campaign against TMG and its directors is a diversionary tactic aimed at intimidating them from pursuing justice and fairness with regard to compromise of our intellectual property rights.
Indeed, it is a concerted affront on an indigenous Company by multinational entities which are privileged to carry out lucrative business in the country, and which are enjoying the patronage, goodwill and profits on account of the very Kenyans that they are illegally denying business through lack of corporate probity.
Every Kenyan or Kenyan Company has a Constitutional right to seek justice and to seek answers from public corporations in regard to the conduct of their affairs.
We wish to underscore the importance of fostering creativity through respect and protection of intellectual property rights of others. A nation cannot be built on disregard for originality and promotion of copy cats.