Safaricom claims ownership of Blaze

Safaricom has told a court that it owns the Blaze brand in court papers it has filed against Transcend Media Group (TMG) accusing it of malice.

Recently, Transcend took the unprecedented step to get court orders to allow it to seize Saracen’s properties as part of its claim to copyright ownership of the Blaze brand. The court allowed the media agency, through the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) to seize computers and other hardware from Saracen’s offices to aid it in a suit in which it wants to prove that it owns the brand.

Saracen, a rival media agency won the two year Blaze contract. Blaze is a youth empowerment platform within Safaricom and also a tariff. Blaze which cost sh700 million to conceptualize, develop and was launched on May 27th

An article published by Business Daily affirms that Safaricom has asked the High Court to stop Transcend from further linking it to tender-related corruption, arguing that the advertising agency’s allegations are an attempt to hijack the sh208 million deal that was awarded to its rival Saracen Media Limited.

Transcend Media had not only claimed that it owns Blaze copyright but also that it won the tender in a letter to Vodafone, Safaricom’s majority shareholder. It feels aggrieved that even after winning the contract, Safaricom went ahead to hand Saracen the lucrative deal.

Transcend further claim that  Safaricom engineered the resignation of some of its senior staff, who formed a company to partner with Saracen on the project.

Business Today published an article indicating that the sub-brand was the brain child of Scanad Group. It is understood that because of the nature of many businesses and campaigns that Safaricom runs, it was prudent to get a different agency to run this youth-specific campaign, aimed at guaranteeing 25 per cent of Safaricom’s revenue in the next three years.

This saw  Saracen, Seven Brand, Brain Wave and TMG invited to bid for the job.

While Transcend is yet to respond to the suit, the telecommunications firm holds that the allegations are inaccurate, and an attempt to force it to sever ties with Saracen and award the “Blaze” tender to Transcend instead. Safaricom have also protested an advertisement by Transcend paid for in a local daily in which it claimed to have won the “Blaze” deal.

Transcend Media had earlier been in the news for engineering bad publicity against Safaricom after it lost another public relations and advertising deal with Safaricom to Scanad.

Safaricom’s yearly marketing budget is approximated to be sh3 billion, indicating the enticement of any company wanting to claim a stake of it.

Saracen has already signed the contract and started implementing the campaign.


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