Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

KAMN Members Vote on Their Favourite Ads

Alifya Sohail reports on KAMN’s new initiative.
Published 04 Mar, 2024 10:13am

Fourteen years ago, Khalid Alvi approached select individuals in the marketing industry of Pakistan to launch ‘Khalid Alvi Marketing Next’ (KAMN), an educational initiative providing practical knowledge to students that was not included in traditional marketing curricula. However, after Alvi’s departure due to a job offer from abroad, hosting physical events featuring marketing modules became impractical. Thus, the co-founders shifted their focus onto the only thing that remained of KAMN – the Facebook community group.

Today, KAMN has established itself as a well-respected online community within Pakistan’s marketing and advertising sphere, attracting advertising enthusiasts, industry experts, and marketing students alike. The purpose of KAMN, according to founding member and communications expert Neil Christy, was to take advantage of the marketing potential of platforms like Facebook and offer a space for brands to create communities and engage with unfiltered feedback. This belief led Christy to merge his previous marketing groups into one, doubling down on his belief that social media would indeed become the future of marketing and advertising.

Driven by the goal to elevate Pakistan’s marketing standards through daily open discourse and critical evaluation of current trends in advertising, KAMN necessitated a strict membership criterion from the outset. To maintain the group’s credibility, prospective members were carefully vetted before being approved by the admins. According to admins Christy and Nazia Ahmed, “the blocked list is twice as long as our membership list,” which currently stands at 51,000. The group’s evolution has been driven by three key approaches: daily knowledge blogs written by the admins and industry experts, analysis of new campaigns that garner the most engagement, and KAMN’s penetration in business schools (80% of its members are students). KAMN’s opinions on campaigns are closely monitored, and Christy has had numerous brand managers quote their supervisors: “Improve the work or it will be bashed on KAMN.” Although the group is criticised for being overly critical, such discourse is simply a reflection of the standards of Pakistani advertising, which “gets the bashing it deserves.” This is what distinguishes a good campaign from the rest, even though this “phenomenon is as rare as a fair election in Pakistan.”

In December 2023, KAMN reached 50,000 members and to celebrate this milestone, the KAMN People’s Choice Awards were conceived. An amalgamation of the ethos, purpose and organic evolution of the platform, the KAMN Awards had one criterion underpinning the entire undertaking: let the people decide. Each stage of the process was an attempt to democratise an otherwise rigged system of meritocracy, a system no different from anything else happening in Pakistan. The sponsors were Kashmir Cooking Oil, supported by Bake Parlor, House of Ideas and Peridots.

Nominations were made by the people on the platform instead of the administrators. Despite a decent sample size, the focus was on showcasing merit. A limited number of typical and non-typical categories were chosen by the administrators to gauge the reception of the inaugural awards. Akin to the rest of the process, a live poll was created in the group for members to vote on the categories for the awards. The most popular categories were then narrowed down to the final five: Most Loved Brand, Best in Customer Service, Best Brand Ambassador (Male and Female), Best Content Creator, and Best TVC. Notably, the results for the category ‘Worst in Customer Service’ went unannounced, so as not to cause upset.

Once the categories were finalised, the main challenge was getting KAMN’s members to vote. KAMN announced each category with a call for members to submit their nominees. There was no limit on the number of nominees, and a timeframe was established for submitting nominations. KAMN then shortlisted five to six of the most popular submissions and created a live poll for a final round of voting. The results from the final polls were assimilated into a Google form which was made publicly available, actualising the goal of transparency. No rewards, in cash or any other form, were given. The awards were hosted and executed online to gauge public response. After the KAMN awards were announced, the winners were informed about the main criteria that won them the award – the people’s choice.

Most Loved Brand

  1. Winner: Khaadi
  2. Nominees: Pepsi, Shan, Tapal, BBQ Tonight, Kababjees, PSL, Meezan Bank

Best in Customer Service

  1. Winner: Careem
  2. Nominees: Naya Pay, Foodpanda, HBL, Sada Pay

Best Brand Ambassador (Male and Female)

  1. Winners: Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan
  2. Nominees: Babar Azam, Zara Peerzada, Erica Robin, Naseem Shah, Mushk Kaleem

Best Content Creator

  1. Winner: Junaid Akram
  2. Nominees: Ali Gul, Irfan Junejo, Taimur Salahuddin Mooro, CBA Arsalan Naseer

Best TVC

  1. Winner: My Suzuki My Story
  2. Nominees: Shan Khushyaan Bananay Wali, SIUT Ramadan, Peek Freans Sooper Ramadan, Pepsi Why Not Meri Jaan, Sprite Thand Rakh, Dairy Milk Cricket

Alifya Sohail is a content coordinator at Aurora magazine.