afrol News, 8 June - A UN agency has teamed up with Sony Corporation to market TVs in poor areas in Cameroon during the World Cup, showing example matches to the football loving nation. Short anti-AIDS statements turn the campaign into "development aid".
Although football is the most popular and closely followed sport in Cameroon, and their national team will play for the FIFA World Cup, nationwide household TV penetration is around 22 percent, limiting the number of people who are able to watch the games.
A delicate campaign is now launched in the country, officially to "kick out poverty" by using football start Didier Drogba and Zinédine Zidane to advocate against AIDS. But the campaign could also be seen as a giant marketing campaign to allow for TV sales in the vast African market.
The campaign is to set up large screens to broadcast live and free of charge, a total of only eight World Cup matches in different locations around Cameroon, allowing people with no access to TV in Bamenda on 14-15 June, Nkongsamba on 17 June, Buéa on 19-20 June and Mbalmayo on 23-24 June, to see Cameroon and other teams play.
Those wanting to see more will need to buy their own TV. TV sales normally skyrocket during a World Cup.
The campaign is presented as a development aid effort by Sony's partner, the UN's Development Programme (UNDP). During halftime, UNDP and local partners are to provide the viewers with HIV and AIDS counselling, male and female condoms as well as other advocacy materials. UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors and football luminaries Drogba and Zidane are to hold broadcasted appeals.
"There can be no spectators in the fight against poverty," UNDP Administrator Helen Clark explains the ties with Sony. "The World Cup brings people around the globe together," she says, describing the event as a unique possibility to reach out to people.
Sony Chairman Howard Stringer naturally is "delighted" by the cooperation with UNDP. "The 'Public Viewing in Africa' campaign featuring our innovative technology can bring joy to the people of Cameroon," Mr Stringer hopes.
UNDP and Sony so far have not publicised the price tag of the campaign.
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