This document sets out a final and comprehensive report for all stakeholders and partners of The Challenge Reality TV Project initiated by British Council Ghana in June 2007. The Council co-produced and co-sponsored the reality TV to deliver a programme which mixes academic excellence and the competitive spirit to create an intelligent, powerful and thought-provoking show.
The concept of The Challenge was created by the British Council as a competition that provides opportunity for three Ghanaian university graduates to win full scholarships for postgraduate study at three prestigious universities in the UK. The winners of the competition are also guaranteed management positions with Ghana Club 100 companies on completion of their courses, while the first prize winner also receives a brand new saloon car.
The vision above was only achieved by creating a collaborative partnership between the British Council, Charterhouse Productions and three Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in the UK, namely the Universities of Westminster, Thames Valley and London Metropolitan, with commercial sponsorships from tiGo (Millicom Ghana) and Zenith Bank Ghana. A number of Ghanaian corporate organizations namely, Virgin Nigeria, PHC Motors, TV3 Media and BusinessGhana.com also supported the project with substantial in-kind sponsorships; while donors included FairGreen Computers, Woolworth Stores, Simbins Funiture, Joy FM and RVI.
A key strategic thrust of the British Council is to ensure that a high number of the Ghanaian populace becomes aware of its work in promoting UK Education, professional development and in facilitating cultural relations between Ghana and the UK. Through The Challenge we specifically sought to aggressively achieve our Corporate Outputs of promoting the UK as offering a wide range of high quality, inspirational opportunities for personal development while encouraging return of UK university alumni back to Ghana to contribute to Ghana's development). A related intent for British Council Ghana was to pilot an event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary celebration of Ghana's independence.
The association of our HEI and commercial partners with this innovative project was to provide a platform to market services to socio-economic group ABC aged 18 - 45, thereby reinforcing corporate image while increasing appeal to the target. Through this we envisaged that sponsor organizations raise the profile of company as a corporate establishment supporting a worthy educational/ human developmental cause in Ghana.
This stage was the preliminary one where prospective participants were invited to submit applications. This was achieved through the institution of a web-based application system that automatically screened all applicants on the basis pre-set eligibility criteria. The use of this system, apart from being cost effective, allowed us to accept applications from all the regions in Ghana in a relatively short time.
Close to 2000 applications were received from first-degree graduates within the first two weeks of going live; out of these, 900 applications met the eligibility criteria and these were invited to two pre-selection auditions in Kumasi and Accra.
The Pre-Selection Auditions
The first audition was held at Miklin Hotel, Kumasi on Saturday 3rd November 2007. Although 240 eligible applicants from the Northern sector of the country were invited, only 70 turned up by the end of the day. Remarkably, only two female applicants turned up. In sharp contrast, the audition held at the British Council office in Accra on 11th November had close to 700 applicants turning up. About 40% of these applicants were women.
The process of screening applicants to arrive at a short-listed pool of 100 applicants involved two stages. All the applicants were required to write an aptitude test made up of ten quantitative and qualitative questions. All applicants who obtained a pass-mark of 50% and above qualified to go through the second stage.
Stage two of pre-selection involved an interview with three members of The Faculty, namely Messrs Ebow Spio, Kwasi Appiah and Ms Diana Yanney. While in Kumasi, this stage was concluded in a day that of Accra spanned two full days in consideration of the sheer number of applicants. During the interviews applicants were required to provide evidence of their academic qualifications. They also had to demonstrate creativity and good presentation skills.
* Observations & Learning
More than 90% of applicants in Northern Ghana were products of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Clearly the fact the Kumasi audition was held just within just ten days of advertising the programme gave unfair advantage to applicants who were based in Kumasi. The question of holding the pre-selection auditions in just two locations requires a second look in future. Further, an innovative solution would have to be found to ensuring that all regions of Ghana are proportionately represented in the preliminary pool.
In sharp contrast to the Northern sector, the Southern sector auditions turned out an impressive number of nearly six hundred candidates with an appreciable increase in the number of female applicants. In subsequent editions of the project, cognisance needs to be taken of the dearth of female participation in Northern Ghana, and affirmative measures would have to be taken in this regard.
At the end of the two week audition sessions, 102 applicants were short-listed for the semi-finals stage of the competition.
Held at the British Council Monday 12th November 2007
The 102 pre-selected candidates were divided into five groups and assigned case-studies developed from real management challenges facing the organizations that were in our major sponsor category. Apart from the obvious value of providing orientation into the operations of our sponsors, it enabled recall and mention for purposes of TV broadcast.
The groups were tasked to present their results of their analysis and solutions to the three-member faculty, after which all members of the group were randomly picked to answer questions or explain concepts and issues that the faculty deemed appropriate. The faculty members then scored individuals in the group on ability to think quickly on one's feet, analytical thinking, power of communication and articulation. The Faculty also looked out which members of the group demonstrated leadership potential. Through this exercise, 25 semi-finalists were selected to compete in the next round.
* Observation & Learning
The structure adopted for this stage of the selection process made it difficult for the faculty to ascertain the top performers in the group without equivocation. In the process, it is likely that some good performers were dropped at this stage. The structure and mode of selection at this stage needs a re-think in subsequent productions.
The Finale 12
The process to determine the 12 finalists involved three components:
All 25 semi finalists were required to demonstrate qualification for post-graduate courses and scholarships at all three sponsor HEIs. In all of these cases, the applicants submitted an essay to make a pitch for the scholarships. The Universities applied their standard selection criteria and systems to determine which of the 25 finalists qualified to read for a Masters Programme as well as qualified for a scholarship. To make it to top 12, an applicant's had to be given the heads-up by all three universities.
British Council conducted background checks of all 25 applicants.
Upon receipt of feedback from the partner universities regarding the applications, and the background checks, the 25 participants attended a workshop facilitated by Options Group (Dolores Acolatse - Faculty Member) on public speaking and delivering effective presentations. After this workshop, each of the 25 selected a topic through ballot for which they had to prepare presentations and deliver to a panel of two made of British Council Representative and an Interaction facilitator.
The results of the three components above formed the basis for determining the twelve finalists to be out-doored to the public at the official public launch of The Challenge 2007.
Held at the British Council, Accra
Friday 16th November 2007
The official launch of The Challenge was successful notably due to the attendance of most invited VIPs among whom were two high ranking Ministers of State, The out-going British High Commissioner, Gordon Wetherell, Senior Entry Clearance Managers of UK Visas, Senior Managers of Westminster University and all the corporate sponsors. The British Council auditorium where the event was held was filled to capacity. Conservative estimates put total attendance at over 300.
The event was nearly marred by a later than scheduled start due to the late arrival of the Master of Ceremony, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. The tiGO marketing team also came in late to mount branding materials when guests were seated. There were also minor but numerous technical hitches that affected the smooth flow of the event; these are attributable to the late set up of set and equipment, as well as sloppy coordination in some respects.
It was also clear that the Master of Ceremony, due to the late arrival, had not been adequately briefed and therefore made mistakes in some of his presentations. Further, he neglected or was not cued to bring in the audience and family/friends of the semi finalists in hyping up excitement and tension which would have made the show more engaging for the audience.
Taken as a whole however, the launch was an impressive event with good entertainment from a renowned up and coming R&B act Irene and Jane.
The 12 finalists were announced and decorated by the Honourable Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment, Hon, Nana Akomeah. Again, it was clear that that segment of the programme had not been properly planned to the detail.
The 12 finalists were:
* Esther Quaofio
* Joan Tsorhe
* Jojo Quansah
* Lily Atutigaba
* Lisboa Quarshie
* Nana Afia Twum Barima
* Seth Miah
* Thomas Abor
The Challenge House
Activities & Eviction
The intent for The Challenge House at the planning stage was for a location that would serve the purposes outlined above. The plan was for the finalists to move into the Challenge House immediately after the launch event. However this arrangement did not materialise on account of the fact that no suitable facility had been secured and readied for the stated purpose. An apartment was hurriedly rented in East Legon, but the suitability of this facility was questionable. This compelled the production team to jettison the original arrangements and only sequester the contesting finalists for 2-3 days in the week in line with activity and filming. Indeed, by the time the Challenge House was ready for full occupancy, the first finalist had been evicted. The candidates checked in on Wednesdays, sometimes Tuesdays depending on the recording schedule and checked out Saturdays. This approach presented production challenges and inconvenienced the contestants, as they had to leave for home late on some days when filming was finished late. On one occasion, Belinda was severely attacked by robbers on her way home late after an episode filming. This may have had potentially negative PR consequences had this issue found its way to the press. The legal implications for both British Council and Charterhouse may also have not been welcome.
It is also noteworthy that the general up-keep, maintenance and security of the facility left much to be desired. No systems were put in place for cleaning, laundry and general maintenance of the house. Quite disappointing was the fact that none of the contestants took leadership of this issue to galvanize their colleagues to maintain high standard of cleanliness in the house. In sum, cleaning and maintenance was ad-hoc.
Security in the house was an issue of prime concern throughout the duration of the show. The lock systems to the major entrance of the house were porous, put mildly. While security guards were posted to the facility, they were absent for long periods during days and nights, visiting other security guards in the neighbourhood or simply fallen asleep. It was therefore not surprising that the house was robbed twice during our sojourn, with electrical and electronic items made away with. There were numerous instances when the landlord of the facility visited without notice to conduct unwarranted inspection of the rooms (in most cases without knocking). On one occasion he entered one of the female contestant's bedroom whiles she was undressing. He would also constantly complain to the participants that he was not happy with the condition of the house The lax control and commuting arrangements also meant that friends and family of the contestants visited the house regularly. The exposure of the contestants to such loose security arrangements could have had dire PR and legal consequences for the British Council and Charterhouse.
The contestants were judged by a three member scholarship committee: named “The board” made up of Madam Esther Cobbah, Dr. Kwasi Appiah and Mr. Keli Gadzekpo.
The role of the Board was to:
* Assess performance of participants against set criteria
* Provide feedback to participants on basis of assessment
* Nominate two participants for weekly SMS voting/evictions
* Provide input into development of tasks and criteria
* Serve as jury during the grand finale event
* Make input into personal & professional development modules
Very high commendations are extended to the Board members for their commitment to this endeavor, particularly considering the heavy responsibilities they shoulder at their various organizations. Worthy of special mention is Dr. Kwasi Appiah for his unflinching dedication, consistency and engagement across all levels of production. He went an extra mile by visiting the participants in the house, joining in on training sessions, and editing of the scripts before they were presented to the public. Since the Board members were the moving force behind the show it may be advisable to get a ONE face of the board, supported by a pool of board members (say 6) with a rotating schedule. This will also enable their involvement in the weekly task to give them a better understanding of participants' performances, attitude and behaviors
In-between weekly episodes and tasks, the finalists were taken through a number of personal and professional development training modules facilitated by experts in the respective fields. This was facilalted by a number of seasoned resource persons known as the faculty. Members of the faculty were:
Mr. Ebow Spio
Mrs. Zayna Taiwo
Mrs. Grace Amey Obeng
Mr. Martin Mensah
Ms. Dolores Acolatse
The role of the faculty members was:
1. Assess performance of participants against set criteria
2. Provide feedback to participants on basis of assessment
3. Provide input into development of tasks and criteria
4. Serve as jury during grand finale event
5. Make input into personal & professional development modules
Most of the Faculty members were very dedicated and this helped in the success of the event. Ebow Spio, Dolores Acolatse and Zayna Taiwo were the faculty members consistently supportive throughout the duration of the project.
There were seven main tasks that were designed to test the intelligence, creativity, innovation and knowledge of the Challenge participants. Through SMS voting 7 out of the 12 contestants were evicted over the eight week period.
· Profiling (Vision Board)
This was an introduction stage of the show. The purpose of the task was to give the participants a platform to introduce themselves with the use of a vision board and pictures to the public. This was an important stage since voting formed an important part of the show, therefore the need for the public to get to know the participants. This crucial stage in the future could be made more interesting by allowing participants to decide on the different presentation styles such as the use of film, audio and multi media instead of restricting them to the use of the vision board.
The shooting of the task started at about 10pm and ended around 4am. This was due to the late start of production and filming, a feature that was to dog the rest of the production.
· Sponsor Visit
This stage was to help create mileage for our sponsors and media partners. This was also to make the participants aware of the job opportunity that awaits the winner upon return from the UK. Among the sponsors given this privilege include Virgin Nigeria, PHC Motors, TV3, Graphic Communication and Joy FM.
At TV3 participants were made to assume the role of the news editors and readers after they had been given an insight into news editing and presentation. At Joy FM, participants were made to experience how to develop headline stories and also review daily newspapers.
Although the purpose of this task was to create mileage for sponsors, it was difficult to arrange visits. For instance, Zenith Bank was given short notice of the visit, thereby creating an inconvenience for the Managers on the day of the appointment.
1. Business Simulation Task
The objective of this task was to help participants understand the impact of marketing strategies on business performance and appreciate how to measure and generate cash and profit to prepare them for the corporate world.
Participants attended a business management practical workshop facilitated by Suganthan Allotey of BizLiteracy Solutions. They were then put into four groups of three and made to run a pen manufacturing company for the second and third years as well as forecast for the fourth year. The groups came up with business names for their companies namely, WriteRite Company Ltd, Jet Corporation, Increaz Ltd and Web. Based on the task, Jet Corporation was found to be the strongest team and Write rite Ltd was found to be the weakest team. From that team Sheila was evicted from the show.
This was a good learning platform for all business men and students as it addressed key issues pertaining to the business world. We propose more of such task be designed as it prepares the participants for the corporate world.
2. Smart Brains Quiz
The quiz was designed to test participant's knowledge on current affairs and global socio-economic development. Before the quiz, participants had the opportunity of having Uncle Ebow Whyte, a renowned motivational speaker visit them at the Challenge House. Ebow Whyte shared some words of wisdom with them in preparation for the quiz. Some issues that were addressed were gratitude, being pleasant, etc. He encouraged them to use their knowledge to make the world a better place.
The structure of the quiz was a three-round competition. Round 1 concentrated on Africa-related issues. Round 2 was about identifying prominent faces while Round 3 was about identifying popular speeches and quotes.
With the absence of the quiz master, Dr Appiah, a Board member was called in to serve as the moderator of the event. This however affected the show as he did not have time to prepare for his role. The questions were too simplistic considering that it had been titled ‘Smart Brains'. Further, the participants were given areas to study, this did not reflect their knowledge in the areas addressed and did not bring out the competitive spirit among them.
Joshua performed poorly, with only one mark he became the second nominee for eviction. Nana Afia and Seth however proved themselves by scoring 7 points out of 8 and for that week both of them worn the Gold Medallist award.
3. Charity Task
The task required The Challengers to ‘bring Christmas to the children of two orphanages in Accra'. The main objectives of the task however were:
1) to test their creativity
2) to ascertain their ability to work under extreme pressure
3) to test their ability to derive value from minimal resources
4) to determine their organizational and team working competencies.
They were put into two groups of four, and assigned to the Osu Children's home and Teshie Orphanage, each group was given seed capital of GH¢100.
At the completion of the task the Group A, made up Jojo, Belinda, Joan, Esther and Lisboa, assigned to the Osu Children's Home was identified as the strongest team. This is on account of the adoption by the group of a strategy that delivered results to meet objectives of the project. This task, according to the participants, brought fulfilment into their lives knowing they were able to make a difference in another's life. According to Nana Afia, this task made her realise that “success is not about attaining set targets but about your sense of accomplishment”.
4. Speech Day
The Speech Day's objective was use awareness of global issues ranging from economic, social and political topics to identify which of the participants had good communication and public-speaking/oratory skills. The discussion demonstrated intelligence and desire to make a difference in the economy. This was staged in front of the public and the media. Participants were prepared in advance to take stands on various issues, after which they were asked questions based on their presentation. The topics that were discussed included Unemployment of University Graduates, Brain Drain in Africa and Achieving a cashless economy in Ghana to name but a few.
This task really demonstrated real intelligence and must be encouraged as it serves as a learning platform for the viewers and the participants. For Seth, this was the task that taught him a great lesson “In life one is expected to take a stand and stick to it, because people must know what you stand for and what your principles are”. It was just a shame that the lesson he stood by that week was the task that sent him to the eviction room.
For many people the choice of topics was stimulating and addressed very important issues in the world at large. The media interaction being a vital tool as it enriched the show and highlighted the knowledge of various issues
5. Film Task
The film task was aimed at challenging the participants to bring to life creative ideas as they address issues of sanitation in Ghana. They were expected to produce a 10 minute audio visual that would impact positively on society's attitude towards sanitation.
A session by Jim Awindor was organised to equip participants with the technical skills to enable them to undertake the task. They were put into two groups of four.
The first group known as SLOAN production settled on narrative documentary to address sanitation issues at the Madina market. The second group known as Oasis production produced a “docu-drama” to address sanitation issues in the urban areas.
The market sanitation documentary produced by SLOAN productions “carried very powerful visuals of a typical open market in urban Ghana”. Felicia Nyame, one of the reporters of the Challenge website www.thechallengeghana.com wrote: “the film footage captured choked gutters in very disturbing proximity to food vendors, dilapidated toilet facilities, ineffective and inefficient waste-disposal systems; and what was really evident in the video was the manner in which buyers and sellers and market authorities carried on with a ‘business-as-usual' attitude, seemingly oblivious to the health risks posed by the unsanitary conditions. Seth Mia, who wrote the script, says: ‘We knew at the beginning that this was an issue that had received a lot of attention without any identified change or impact. We therefore decided to adopt a new strategy of using the stakeholders, that is, buyers, sellers and market authorities, as our main characters to describe the problems and prescribe solutions to improve sanitation'
6. Great Debate
The debate was designed to test the participants' power of analysis, persuasion and ability to debate on points of view in a lucid succinct manner.
The moderator was Ghana's renowned TV host, Paul Adom Okyere. The debate sought to put participant's argumentative skills into play as they challenged each other by airing out their views on various topics ranging from education, crime and law enforcement, politics and leadership as well as the environment.
The debate was to test the participant on various aspects. They were assessed on the following criteria:
* Presentation style in addressing the key issues
* Speaker is engaging and holds audience interest
* Demonstrates clarity of thought
* Is eloquent
* Provides credible facts and s to support argument
* Powers of analysis
The way the debate was structured did not reflect the theme of the task as a “great debate”. It was more about expressing one's opinion as opposed to an interactive debate. The moderator did not know the nature of the task until an hour before the show was due to air. Having little time to prepare he contributed little in creating a lively upbeat debate. .
7. Interview Task
The main objective of the interview task was for the sponsors to access the participants and identify those who could qualify for the managerial role that will be offered to the winner upon return. The panel was made of Heads of Human Resource from Millicom Ghana and Zenith Bank and Martin Mensah, faculty member. The interviews were conducted in two stages. The first stage involved leaderless discussion on the topic “Cash is king, profit is vanity”. This was followed by a group debate with the panel, who sought to challenge the participants on viewpoints and positions taken during the discussion. The second stage was an individual interview by the panel to ascertain their respective skills, competencies and ability to perform on the job. This task proved very popular with the young followers/audience of the Challenge on TV as it exposed the audience to rudiments of effective interviewing and behind-the-scenes discussions/negotiations of a job interview panel.
Video clips of weekly tasks and faculty assessments were sent to the Board prior to filming of evictions. The eviction episodes were always preceded by the in-camera Board deliberations of the outcomes of the tasks. The purpose of the eviction was to eliminate the weakest performer from the show on a weekly basis to arrive at the shortlist of five for the final show. The evictions were a thirty minute show that took place on Wednesdays and broadcast on Thursdays.
The eviction process was structured in such a way that the board, after interviewing the participants, would put up the bottom 2-3 performers of the week's task up for eviction. After this stage the public vote is used to evict the person with the least votes. The voting system played an important role in the eviction process as it was the final determiner of who should be evicted. The voting was such that the person with the highest votes was automatically immune from eviction and the person with the lowest votes automatically gets evicted. Below are a list of the evictions and the individual tasks the contestants were evicted from.
Business Simulating Task
Smart Brains Quiz
Lisboa Yemotiokor Quashie
John Kesse Jnr
Held at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel
1st February 2007
Seated audience: 600+.
Esther Quaofio, Jojo Chartei Quansah, Joan Selorm Tsorhe, Seth Miah and Nana Afia Twum Barimah were the five candidates who made it to the grand finale event. The show in itself was fantastic with few, though quite long speeches. One significant quandary though, was the fact that we didn't expect such a positive turnout and under estimated the audience size. A lot of visitors could not find seats nor was there standing room. A large number of invited guests had to be turned away. The need for a larger venue was made apparent.
That not withstanding, the performances were nicely coordinated and at the end of it all, the combined efforts of the candidates themselves, KPMG, the faculty, the board and the general public crowned Jojo Chartei Quansah winner of the challenge 2007. He received a prize package with a total value of £40,000 made up of full scholarship from the University of Westminster, fully paid accommodation in an international student hostel, a monthly living allowance, return air ticket to the UK valid for one year and a brand new laptop computer. On completion of the graduate course he will return to Ghana to pick up a pre arranged lucrative job placement and a brand new TATA Safari SUV Car.
The 1st and 2nd runners-up were Nana Afia Twum Barima and Seth Miah respectively. They received a one-year Post Graduate Scholarship and accommodation from London Metropolitan University and Thames Valley University. In addition they also received return air tickets from Virgin Nigeria and living allowance from British Council.
The Challenge was broadcast at prime-time on TV3 three times a week. The main episode was shown for one hour on Sundays at 4pm. There were two 30 minute broadcasts on Thursday at 8.30pm and Saturdays 11am. A typical week's broadcast resulted in potentially 989,700 households with total a total of five million people watching the programme across the country.
Despite strenuous efforts to achieve the contrary, the production team's relationship with TV3, our television partner was dogged by numerous challenges, with dire consequences for consistency of transmission and quality delivery. The extent of cooperation and support received from (production section of) TV3 did not lend credence to the tenets of the partnership. Indeed, the posturing of TV3 at times was reminiscent of a competitor rather than a partner. While in limited instances the intervention of the head and members of TV3 Marketing department did make a difference, by and large TV3's posture was as if they were doing the Challenge a favour. This is unfortunate, considering that TV3, having produced in-house reality TV were aware of the challenges that reality TV posed.
To be fair to TV3, they also articulated legitimate concerns regarding Charterhouse's blatant disregard to deliver tapes per mutually agreed deadlines. It took a number of meetings between TV3, British Council and Charter House before the former became flexible on what they termed company policy on transmission ( all tapes to be aired on the network had to be submitted at least 24 hours before transmission time). Then again, TV3 without any regard to our viewers took off and aired some episodes as and when they pleased, especially at the inception of the football season when they changed their transmission schedules to favour the 26th edition of the MTN African Cup of Nations. Then again there was that issue of their refusal to air all voting promos unless the voting revenue was shared with them. TV3 was also not generous in its offer of programme (broadcast) support and publicity, particularly in the initial stages of the show. Promos, teasers, etc to drive audience awareness and viewer ship was very scanty and ineffectual. Given the partnership status of TV3, it is appropriate to benchmark this against the programme support that TV3's in-house production receives.
Publicity and Advertising Mileage
After having a successful launch, the Challenge TV programme was fast in gaining a niche following across the country, through the various publicity coverage and media exposure.
Based on independent media Survey reports, The Challenge's 3 weekly episodes were watched by an average of 5 million people across the country. This transfers into an in home penetration of 900,000+ urban and semi-urban households in 6 regions of the country's 10 regions. The broadcast episodes featured the following:
* Up to Two 45-60 second commercials of all the major sponsors
* Logo insertions of all sponsors and donors
* Sponsor/donor mentions
* Sponsor/donor acknowledgements in credits roll
Weekly updates of The Challenge were featured on Joy FM's popular super-morning show and drive-time programmes both of which reach up to 1 million people daily in Accra (mostly students and young professionals). Numerous interviews were conducted on the Start Breakfast Show on TV3 with British Council officials, contestants, and faculty and production crew. All interviews featured sponsor mentions
The Challenge website www.TheChallengeGhana.com received a total of 1,824,079 hits from September 2007 to February 2008. The average daily hits are 14,664 and 16,249 for December and January. The site continued to provide a live on-going platform of engagement with our audience and free mileage for all sponsors as the links to all sponsors are still active. The internet also gave us the added advantage to branch out via links to other websites such as www.Ghanaweb.com and www.myjoyonline.com which showed a live broadcast of the programme.
Usage Statistics for thechallenge.com
Publicity, especially before the auditions was vibrant and well delivered by the media. As the show progressed, however, publicity started to slack. A prompt meeting was arranged and the issue of exposure was efficiently rectified during the latter episodes of the program leading to the final event. Regular interviews at Joy FM and TV3 plus press reviews in the print media were all adopted. For future series a need to adopt a media coverage time line in advancement of the event is of paramount importance to maintain high interest and constant hype around the show. In furtherance of this, it is proposed that the linkages are maintained but direct delivery executed independent of the production team. This will enable a fleet-footed approach to using print and electronic media to drive top-of-mind awareness, interest and participation by the target audience.
The Guardian Newspaper in the UK will published a story in Week 2 of January 2008 about The Challenge and this story featured interviews with Steve Berridge of the University of Westminster and quotes from BC Ghana officials.
The Challenge was made possible by the partnership with diverse organizations which are leaders/prominent players in their respective field. This therefore created an ideal partnership between the sponsors, the show and the British Council as they shared similar target audiences - young, upwardly mobile people striving to obtain and be the best - each mirroring a reflection of the others success and achievements.
The categories of sponsorships are represented below:
University of Westminster
tiGO (Millicom Ghana)
Virgin Nigeria Airways
Intl. Students House
Holy Trinity Spa
The table below provides a comparative analysis of the sponsor benefits promised in the sponsorship proposal and the actual delivered.
General Communication Plan applicable to all sponsors signed on before launch of the program
- Two-phase publicity blitz running on all the major Fm Stations in all urban towns
- Over 100 Advertising spots on GTV and all Charterhouse produced programs
- Over 10 Full Page Advertising pages in the Major Daily Newspapers
- Deployment of two thousand (2000) A3 Posters nation-wide
- Deployment of five thousand (5000) A5 Double sided flyers
- Web advertising on all popular Ghanaian web portals
- Regular write-ups and program updates and coverage in all the major newspapers
- 10 Banners displayed at major youth centres like; busy internet,
- SMS updates sent regularly to contestant fan clubs
National awareness was driven largely by print media and internet. Radio was limited to Accra and Kumasi
- Over 200 Advertising spots were placed on TV3 through crawlers & promotional clips
- 6 Full page advertisements were placed in Graphic and Mirror; all featured logos of all sponsors
- Not done. Spend was rather re-assigned to production of 25,000 fliers for more impact
- Over 25,000 flyers were produced and distributed nation-wide. This had logos and/or mentions of all sponsors
- This was achieved through programme dedicated website & ref in other portals
- Not consistent in the earlier stages, but this improved in the 2nd month onwards
- Spend was re-allocated to SMS promos
- All communication will feature adverts, logos, artwork, web links, as well as general information of corporate sponsors
- One 30 - 45 second TV commercial spot in 30 minute mid-weekly episodes a minimum period of eight weeks
- Two 30 - 45 second TV commercial spots in 1 hour weekend episodes for a minimum period of eight weeks.
- Delayed broadcast on Africa Magic on DSTV for additional mileage.
- Where available Platinum sponsors were allocated two 45-60 second commercial spots in all the episodes over a 14 week period. In absence of TVC, voice-over mentions were used
- Where available Platinum sponsors were allocated two 45-60 second commercial spots in all the episodes over a 14 week period. In absence of TVC, voice-over mentions were used
- Not achieved yet
- All communication will feature adverts, logos, artwork, web links, as well as general information of corporate sponsors
- One 30 - 45 second TV commercial spot in 30 minute mid-weekly episodes a minimum period of eight weeks
- One 30 - 45 second TV commercial spots in 1 hour weekend episodes for a minimum period of eight weeks.
- Delayed broadcast on Africa Magic on DSTV for additional mileage
- Where available Gold sponsors were allocated One 45-60 second commercial spots in all the episodes over a 14 week period. In absence of TVC, voice-over mentions were used
- Where available Gold sponsors were allocated One 45-60 second commercial spots in all the episodes over a 14 week period. In some instances, two spots were allocated
- Not achieved yet
All communication will feature adverts, artwork, web links and general information of corporate sponsors.
One 30 - 45 second TV commercial spots in 1 hour weekend episodes for a minimum period of eight weeks.
Delayed broadcast on AfricaMagic on DSTV for additional mileage.
- None of the silver sponsors provided TV commercials to be used. . In absence of TVC, voice-over mentions were used
- Not achieved yet
- Donor clips in all episode broadcasts
- Acknowledgements by presenter in all episode broadcasts
- Acknowledgement in credits roll
- Reference to donor when prize package is mentioned
What is the impact The Challenge has made so far? - a few examples
· Social change - the case of Madina Open Market in Accra
The article below, culled from a report at the British Council Africa website was an adaptation of a story reported at www.thechallengeghana.com
“What began as just another task on The Challenge has surely come a long way.” - writes Felicia Nyame (Press Liaison Officer & Reporter of www.thechallengeghana.com )
British Council in Ghana staff member Felicia Nyame writes on The Challenge website: “When the SLOAN production team decided to do a story on market sanitation for their creativity task, little did they anticipate the impact this 10-minute video would have on the community of Madina in Accra. Felicia continues “The car park is now taking shape with pavement blocks providing a more welcoming appearance to the market entrance. That is not all, there are more refuse containers, the abattoir is in better shape now, and the general sanitation has improved”.
The video obviously has had an impact on sanitation in the market. According to Seth Mia, he was told by a friend at church to visit the Madina market since a change was taking place.
‘When I got here I was surprised, there were pavement blocks all over, cars were parked in an orderly manner... it seemed too good to be true! So I went to the K.V.I.P section and realised the place was cleaner, even though some tomato sellers were still too close to the toilet facility. There were more containers... it was a pleasant surprise, and I felt good about it, considering the part I played in the change'.
Some of the traders were quick to point out that the video had an immediate impact. Others assert that there were plans to 'sanitise' the market but The Challenge reality show fast-tracked it. Bystander at market -“The video obviously has had an impact on sanitation in the market. WhenI got hereI was surprised, there were pavement blocks all over, cars were parked in an orderly manner... it seemed too good to be true! So I went to theK.V.I.P section and realised the place was cleaner, even though some tomato sellers were still too close to the toilet facility. There were more containers... it was a pleasant surprise”
· What credit do other people give us for what happened?
In his keynote speech during the official launch event, the Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment Hon. Nana Akomeah, described The Challenge as “the most effective and productive TV event which has ever taken place in the country”. He said The Challenge is very “unique and different from all other competitions in and out of the country and Africa as a whole”. Hon. Nana Akomeah said the fact that The Challenge is a competition which requires “raw intellectual and mental power” of the contestants makes it even more different from any other competition.
The British High Commissioner, His Excellency Gordon Wetherell who was also present at the launch said “the relationship between Ghana and Britain for the past years have been very strong and I hope with the British Council's effort to initiate an educative programme like The Challenge, the relationship would even grow more stronger”. Mr. Wetherell described Britain as a country with the leading International educational system. He further stated that Britain is doing its best to extend their level of education to developing countries in Africa. He said 70,000 students worldwide have been given scholarships to study in leading Universities in Britain and that keeps the standard and reputation of British Universities very high. Mr. Wetherell advised the winners to make good use of the opportunity while studying in Britain. He concluded with the “hope that The Challenge would make the relationship between Ghana and Britain grows stronger”.
Dr. K. Appiah, Chairman of Civic Foundation and Board member of the Challenge remarked “This is a good stand that the British council has initiated and is undertaking, I hope this effort is not wasted and that the candidate who wins makes Ghana and British Council happy and proud by making an impact when given the opportunity”.
Nana Afia Twum-Barimah, one of the 12 finalists remarked “I think this program will be great for challenging young optimistic students. It will give us a chance to show how much we care for our education. The prizes are also very promising for us graduates and our future”
Diana, a guest at the launch “More grease to the elbows of the innovators and organisers of the Challenge. It is pretty outstanding and inspirational. I believe programmes of this sort will help whip up the zeal and enthusiasm in education to the farthest extent. I am particularly glad”
· Interest and recognition from other BC offices across EWA & beyond
There has been a considerable amount of interest shown by other British Councils offices across East and West Africa who are seeking to replicate our success in their countries. We have been inundated with emails requesting information and reports with the hope of emulating The Challenge as a possible future venture. The Challenge Team from Ghana won an award in the recent BC-EWA Regional Recognition Award Scheme for impact and income. “………….Albert Eliason, Diana Yanney, Roy Aboku and Angelina Diyuoh in Ghana for the Challenge Ghana Reality TV initiative. This initiative attracted £169,000 in sponsorship and promoted Education UK much more effectively than the usual advertisements. With almost 2 million web hits and 5 million viewers, this is really a lesson for us all. Well done! £500 to share! Congratulations!” E-mail circulated to all BC EWA staff on 2nd April 2008 by Philip Goodwin Regional Director British Council, East & West Africa Region.
Elements of The Challenge have been incorporated in the PMI Marketing strategy for 2008-2011 periods. The Challenge Reality TV has also recently been nominated for the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) Award in the category BEST TELEVISION PROGRAMME OF THE YEAR 2007
· Increase in awareness and patronage of sponsor's operations
“……………..Finally, so far and the deadline is not until 31st May, Ghana has supplied more scholarship applications than any other country, up c.40% on last year. Regards, Colin”
Colin Matheson - Director of Scholarships, University of Westminster in an e-mail he sent to Albert Eliason, Business Director, British Council Ghana and leader of The Challenge team.
The winner of the London Metropolitan University scholarship-Nana Afia had her first shot at being ambassadors of the universities she would be attending this summer! The opportunity was presented through the British Council's Education UK Exhibition from 15th to 16th February. The Education UK exhibition is organised annually by the British Council with the aim of giving Ghanaian students desirous of studying in the UK the opportunity to interact with academics and representatives of reputable higher educational institutions in the UK. Through this exhibition details of courses and scholarship opportunities are also exposed.
During the fair on Friday, Nana Afia was also assigned to the stand of London Metropolitan University. It was an interesting sight to watch them her work as ambassador for the very institutions she will be attending in August 2008. Not only did people join long queues to make enquiries at her stand but also to have photo taken with her. Nana Afia Twum-Barima said “The exhibition has been very interesting, meeting all these people who came to my stand for enquiries. I feel so lucky knowing that without the Challenge I could be one of them .Most of them were also looking for scholarship opportunities and knowing that not all of them will be getting what they want, just shows how lucky I am. I am glad I was able to get students for my school. Most of them were anxious to fill the application form and also book appointments. I enjoyed myself. I am looking forward to doing more of this for my school”
Production & Administration - what worked well & what didn't
The Challenge 2007 was co-produced and administered by British Council and Charterhouse Productions. This collaboration general worked well and led to the launch of a project within very tight deadlines. There were also challenges and areas of improvement that ought to be highlighted.
What worked well?
* The delivery of the project to very tight deadlines, especially considering the relatively limited budget, is worthy of mention. This was as a result of spirit of understanding and compromise exhibited by principal managers of the two organizations.
* The flexible approach to decision making also allowed for an alternative to GTV to be agreed upon quickly. This allowed for the development of technical and non-technical support to be derived for the production and broadcasting of the programme.
* Development of media /technical partnerships to ensure credible selection/eviction methods through panel judging and audience use of SMS text message and web forms for voting/eviction
* The design and build of performance stages for most of the shoots by Charterhouse was well executed. The sets looked very professional and contemporary.
* Provision by Charterhouse of all technical requirements, including lights, sound equipment and visual equipment needed to execute the project was very remarkable.
* Willingness of the technical and production team to work long and in most cases late hours to ensure delivery is also commendable.
* By and large the production of a technically sound programme involving live events, pre and post production work regarding all episodes of the Reality TV show
* Provision of technical logistics to support participants of the show, implement projects/tasks set them by the Board or Faculty. Arranging with third-parties for facilities, logistics and permits required to implement participants' projects, as well as filming and post-production.
What didn't work so well?
* The provision of transport to ensure safe commute of participants from Challenge House to home after weekly eviction was completed.
* Pre-production planning (with British Council team) was either not done or things changed last minute without notification. Setup for most programmes in the auditorium was mostly late and this contributed to the delay in the shooting of the main task.
* The requirements, output and deliverables some of the tasks were sometimes not well-thought out or coordinated. Some tasks were set without agreement and publication of a comprehensive assessment criteria.
* Communication between Charter house and British Council was not always effective as changes and decisions were not communicated in good time.
* Centre of co-ordination between Chartehouse and TV3 was missing. This was manifested in the TV station and Charter House changes of broadcasts were not communicated in time to reach all parties and sponsors involved. Most importantly viewers were not given timely and adequate notification of changes/cancellations of scheduled broadcasts.
* The nature of some of the tasks, and their overall output/quality seemed to be limited by technical/logistical challenges. In some of these instances, creative solutions would have delivered top class outputs, but the team limited its achievement on account of undue focus on financial limitations.
* We did not maximise the use of media and the internet to generate a massive following for The Challenge. This was due to the team's unwillingness or inability to implement agreed strategy for media and web support.
A number of technical difficulties were encountered and this affected the quality of the show. A number are highlighted below:
* Inadequate number of (lapel) microphones. The effect may have been imperceptible but did take a lot of the quality and professional output. This also delayed shooting as hand-held cordless microphones were passed on from one contestant to the other in most of the episode filming, and where a contestant forgot to pass on the microphone, this called for re-takes. This depreciated the professional output of the production.
* There were an inadequate number of cameras for group/syndicate work off-site; this posed production challenges when participants were split up on different assignment and locations.
* There were a limited number of instances where the camera crew were left to cover activities without hands-on direction. Even though a general brief was provided to the camera team, this was inadequate as the case of the Business Simulation Exercise proved. The output of some episodes also belied conformity to effective production planning.
* The need to pre-shoot episodes in considerable advance of studio editing is of paramount importance, leaving enough time for the editing of all episodes before broadcast.
* The lack of a permanent venue for shooting all the episodes brought to bear logistic and organizational nightmares for all parties. There is the need for all venues to be secured ahead of time before the day of shooting.
* There were inconsistencies in the broadcast of the show, sometimes exacerbated by the poor communication between Directorial/Editing team of Charterhouse and TV3. TV3 on the other hand did not promote the show consistent with the outputs of a media partner. It is proposed that in future TV stations should bid for the show to ensure a better delivery. There is also need to select a TV station with national coverage to create a better impact and reach a much larger audience.
* The show did not benefit from the execution of a well-thought out media support intended to generate public interest and understanding of the concepts as played out on TV. It is proposed that a team independent of Charterhouse be engaged to take a lead on execution of this in future production.
To ensure that The Challenge achieves the desired impact, national broadcast is an imperative. It is proposed that in future selected media partners have national coverage of their network or present a combination of network partnerships that deliver complete/near-to national coverage.
Trend analysis of web hits at www.thechallengeghana.com demonstrates the potential for this reality show to generate a massive following and larger audience s. An integrated media support strategy that dovetails press, radio and web formats to TV broadcasts will reinforce the impact and coverage of the show. To achieve this, the imperative to have a third-party working in tandem with Charterhouse is paramount.
Review of press stories of The Challenge over the entire period of Season1 production and broadcast reveals numerous inaccuracies and factual misrepresentations. To prevent this in season2 it is expected that the proposed third-party media liaison/agency be made responsible for writing and circulating stories to all press houses. Further, this will ensure consistency as well as control and direction over what is written in each article for all media forms.
An obvious need is to focus more Media attention in regions other than Greater Accra especially in the weeks leading up to the auditions to generate a higher number of applicants would be necessary; with a desirable component homing in to address the need for greater female participation.
To address the production challenges and outputs referred to in earlier pages of this report:
* Central direction is required at all times to provide linkage between concept development, execution and coordination between camera/sound crew and the editing bench.
* Director and production team (inclusive of the editing bench) be guided/quality-controlled by input of three distinct panels.
a) Concept Development Panel. This should be made up of representatives of BC, Charterhouse, Faculty, Board and external consultants who will be co-opted to contribute to concept development, inclusive of tasks and content of episodes. The panel will feed-back into proposals by production/technical team with a view to providing guidelines for the director, producer and technical crew.
b) Quality Assurance Panel. It is proposed that this panel be made up of one or two technical experts from the TV station partner, Director and Editor, who will review all finished tapes of episodes to confirm/advice on conformity to all quality benchmarks, viz sound, light, cinematography, etc. Tapes that are sent for broadcast should pass the assessment of the QA panel.
c) Audience Focus Group Panel. This would be made up of a core group of target audience who will pre-view episodes to determine suitability to audience preference, interest and appreciation. The bottom line is to establish appeal of recorded episodes to target audience.
Ultimately input and feedback from the 3 proposed panels is to ensure that final output that is presented for broadcast delivers on all quality benchmarks.
* A major challenge in season 1 was the use of an ideal venue to house contestants and provide a central/control point that serves as a fulcrum for effective production work. It is highly recommended that a permanent suitable venue be identified and secure in time for the show so that equipment is not moved back and forth unnecessarily. At best the production crew have a clear two day access to the recording venue for setting up, thus saving a great deal of production time.
Consistency of broadcast
The lack of consistency of broadcasts in season 1 brought into question the professionalism of Charterhouse and British Council and affected the overall quality of output. The causal factors that culminated in the shortcoming have been analysed from all perspectives. To ensure consistency of broadcasts in season 2, it is recommended that at least four episodes to be recorded and canned before the airing on the show.
Research on advanced program scheduling is needed when evaluating air time availability /slotting, especially when important national and local events, and other reality shows are being aired as these shows compete with our target audience. This could be achieved by inviting TV stations to bid for the broadcast rights to The Challenge.
Ratings, audience feedback and assessment of impact
With regards to determining the ratings and popularity of the show, it's extremely important we gain a clear understanding of the impact each episode/ task has on the audience. In future it is suggested that a system be developed to capture and store sufficient data to make this analysis possible. Market research in the form of questionnaires, polls at www.thechallenegghana.com for viewers, interviews and phone-in data could be captured and uploaded onto a data system. Analysis of this information could form the basis of a SWOT, fine-tuning of tasks and expanding to capture larger audience ratings.
Furthermore, an in-depth weekly review should be incorporated, this can then be edited to compose a ‘highlights' version to be added to the challenge website.
For future series statistics from our channel broadcaster is required not just for the broadcast of the entire show but for each individual episode aired. This could be cross-referenced and cost-analysed relative to popularity of individual tasks.
To achieve a good balance between the educational aspect and entertainment impact it is recommended that all tasks be thoroughly discussed by all parties involved in the recording process. The institution of the proposed Concept Development Panel will facilitate this to a much greater extent. This should enable a smooth and acceptable interpretation of the tasks recorded on the show
A scan of business reality shows such as The Apprentice may provide useful pointers of many interesting tasks (ref. www.nbc.com/The_Apprentice) which have in-depth comprehensive links of the show, episode recaps, weekly tracker, lessons learned, etc.For example a task could be based loosely around the format of The Dragons Den show which, consists of entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to secure investment finance from business experts.
The general feeling from all contestants was the issue regarding business attire. A number of them felt they hadn't been informed prior to the airing of the show of relevant clothing needed, with the attendant cost implications. It would be an unfair advantage for someone to be eliminated due to the fact they looked less professional. It would be advised that consideration be given to bringing on board a sponsor from a fashion house or reputable tailoring firm/entrepreneur to provide comprehensive wardrobe for contestants.
Security and insurance
The need for improved security and care/well-being of all contestants has been highlighted against the background of the Belinda-incident. Not only did she have to pay for her own medical expenses, but no after-care was offered on behalf of the British Council such as counselling or a follow up medicals. The potential for negative PR if this were to occur in the future should not be under-estimated. At least one person should remain on call in case of any emergency, with basic insurance granted for each contestant while on the programme. This also demands the imperative of full sequester of all contestants for the entire duration of the programme.
A full check of the facility to serve as Challenge House should be conducted to ensure compliance with to BC Health and Safety regulations.
Contestants felt they had to cover a lot of minor costs related to tasks they had been given, for example transport and mobile phone top-up cards. A number of the assigned tasks required considerable research which came with attendant costs. Allocating a driver and people carrier for the contestants, (which could be heavily covered with the show and sponsors logos) would not only solve this problem but also create a great opportunity for free advertising. For mobile-phone top-ups, it might be useful to include an additional term to the existing mobile contract, stipulating all contestants are given top-up cards and mobile phones in return for specific advertising mileage in the use of the service.
Appreciation and Gratitude
The successful execution of The Challenge is due to the immense contribution of the following institutions and personalities, to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude:
University of Westminster London Metropolitan University Thames Valley University
Steve Berridge Catherine Downes Cliff Condell
Colin Matheson Alex Malley Catherine Spargo
Paula Robles Ian Jones
TiGO - Millicom Ghana Zenith Bank Ghana Limited Virgin Nigeria Airways
Anita Erskine Andy Oje Jilly Holley
Ransford Nyarko Eva Richter-Addo Sodie Osei-Bonsu
Gwendoline Okwabi Joy FM
Frederick Quainoo Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Percy Grundy Bola Ray
Eric Meijer Edward Owusu
The Board BusinessGhana.com PHC Motors
Esther Cobbah JE Allotey Managing Director
Kwasi Appiah Kweku Regional Sales Manager
Keli Gadzekpo Emmanuel Marketing Manager
The Faculty British Council Donors
Ebow Spio Christine Bateman AVI Reality Vacations
Dolores Acolatse Arlene Griffiths FairGreen Limited
Martin Mensah Jean Kamara Woolworth Stores
Zayna Taiwo Philip Goodwin 3E Quantum
Grace Amey-Obeng Ann Russell BizLiteracy Ghana
Suganthan Allotey Simbins Furniture
Holy Trinity Spa
TV3 British High Commission ISH
Nana Kutin Karen Rogers Chris Hutty
Derrick Degboe Andy Holden Kevin Coyne
Nana Adjoa Amanda Lambert Peter Anwyl
Gordon Wetherell Carol Sutcliffe
Uncle Ebow Whyte
This report is the product of interviews and consultations of stakeholders of The Challenge Reality TV Show, made up primarily of representatives of:
* British Council
* The Board
* The Faculty
* UK Visas
The last word
The three scholarship prize winners and technical crew have had visas approved to travel to the United Kingdom from the 20th September. An elaborate itinerary has been agreed with the UK HEI Sponsors and British Council's Welcome UK team to ensure that our winners are accorded a fitting welcome.
The week's PR activities will include:
Meetings with dignitaries and VIPs
Receptions in their honour
Guided tour of London
All the engagements will be filmed by the crew and footage will be used for production of documentary that will precede The Challenge Season II.