It is generally expected of firms and corporate bodies, to give back to the society by funding good community projects, engaging in philanthropy, etc. to benefit their host society. This has been accepted and is known as Corporate Social Responsibility CSR).
Many firms now see Ghanaian people as their host to be rewarded, placated, enticed and seduced at the same time. Consequently, all sorts of promo, TV reality-shows and what-not have inundated the landscape within the last few years. While many of our youths have been turned into instant millionaires, celebrities and common-folk turned into ‘tear-rubber’ car owners, with others given opportunities to kick-start a career, it is unfortunate that a critical analysis reflects inadequacies in the arrangements and regulatory monitoring.
The trend these days about CSR is worrying. It seems some companies would stop at nothing to take advantage of the populace, just because we have leaders who have fostered a plundered economy upon us, such that ordinary niceties of life have become luxuries in our nation.
Below are some examples, you might want to ponder on as you start your week.
1. The Who Wants To Be Rich, hosted by Kafui Dey- arguably one of the most popular programmes on TV. Chances of participation are fair and open. It tasks the intellect; you earn for the breadth of your general knowledge and must be prepared, not just for a few days but depend on your overall IQ and courage.
2. Vodafone Icon – A programme sponsored by Vodafone to discover and nurture talents in the music industry. The star prizes being a recording contract and modest sums for the winning group. are to perform popular songs as well as compose their own – great concept.
3. TV3’s Ghana’s Most Beautiful – This is another show that seeks ‘Beauty and Brains’ amongst Ghanaian ladies from the ten regions of the country. The prize is not too immodest and the competition has had its fair share of scandal about the fact that organizers sleep with girls, just for them to get into the competition.
4. The Next Movie Star- The aim is to discover Hollywood’s next talent. The prize is a little flamboyant in my opinion.
5. Mentor on TV3- To me, this is a Vain show with a ridiculous prize just so they may claim to have the ‘biggest entertainment show on Ghanaian TV. Being rewarded for remembering lyrics of songs is okay but what is the big deal really and why the preponderance of foreign songs?
6. Big Brother Africa Series By Mnet Africa – This is a show with little or no benefits. What is to be gained by locking people in and forcing strangers to live together in a house just so that we may observe them with their knowing it? It is not a scientific study, is it? The prize is ridiculously high in my opinion.
7. Glo X Factor – This is another waste of money and everyone’s time by a corporation simply because they can afford it.
8. Others – There are others like Miss eXcel Plus, Miss Ghana beauty pageant, Miss Universe, THE NEXT GOSPEL STAR, MTN Hitmaker etc. They all promise great returns for little effort. Several multinational organizations, especially the Telecommunication companies have promos promising millions of ABC, thousands of XYZ, etc. to be won.
In reality, very few prizes are given out or just the cheap ones not the major prizes. Who keeps track to ensure they give out EXACTLY what has been promised? Some Text-and-Win shows even give the false impression that the user would win once the correct answer has been supplied, whereas a raffle draw is to be done to select the winner out of several entries.
Do we have a functioning Consumer’s Protection Agency? Are there uncompromised regulators doing their job? Perhaps, I envy the youths and their numerous opportunities to strike it rich and become a wealthy celebrity overnight? May be not.
I think there should be moderation in everything and we should not send the wrong message to the younger generation. Values such as hardwork, morality, patience should not be eroded. I sometimes fear for the kind of managers promoting brands in our corporations that they could even think up some ideas, is really nauseating.
Throwing Millions and SUV’s at people for participation in a promo like the banks save-and-win OCCASIONALY is okay.
That is pure chance at work. But throwing same at fee-paying registrant youths for participating in a few-days TV reality show is NOT. It sends the wrong signals and so many of them now think of only that avenue.
Life is not like that. There are many honest people who labour and contribute to society in numerous ways and barely earn enough to survive – doctors, vulcanizers, teachers, clerks, etc. They do not get wealth thrown at them. For instance, a telecommunication firm appoints ambassadors (on whom is splashed millions) but considers mostly entertainers who are already famous and rich.
Are these necessarily the most suitable role models for young people? What is wrong if they select some renowned lecturers writing useful software or books for the nation or renowned traffic wardens, policemen, etc. who excel in their day-to-day duties? The matter has not been treated exhaustively and these are only my opinions but I think we all need to reflect on the kind of society that we want.
If people are made to believe in spontaneous prosperity then we should equally remember that ‘Easy come, Easy Go!’ It is not surprising that about three quarters of lottery winners worldwide normally squander their winnings and return to penury within a few years. Greed, desperation and keeping up with the neighbour’s material taste will only stimulate the crime rate. The reality of life is not depicted in TV promo cum reality shows.