Case Study

How Safaricom used Twitter to unite Kenya for Kipchoge record attempt

Key results

impressions worldwide

positive brand sentiment


The opportunity

Safaricom (‎@Safaricom), Kenya’s largest network and owner of mobile money service, M-PESA, saw the ideal opportunity to enable its 27 million subscribers to rally behind one of the country’s biggest sports stars.

Long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge was attempting to become the first person to run a marathon under two hours. The run, dubbed INEOS 159, would take place in Vienna, thousands of miles away from Kipchoge's homeland.

Leveraging Twitter, Safaricom wanted to connect Kenyans to Kipchoge and the rest of the world. 

The strategy

Safaricom saw Kipchoge’s run would unite the country and connect the brand with a cause all Kenyans would support. It used the opportunity to show that it was behind Kipchoge by temporarily redesigning the M-PESA logo and replacing with ELIUD.

Safaricom launched the Eliud 159 campaign four days before the race. It used a Custom Emoji that would show up whenever anyone tweeted using the hashtag #Eliud159.

The emoji became part of conversation beyond the race and allowed M-PESA and Safaricom to connect with Kipchoge’s record attempt.

  • Europe, Middle East, and Africa
  • Creative Canvas
  • Telecommunications
  • Case Study
  • Audience Targeting
  • Kenya


Show support with a brand name change.

The brand showed its support for Kipchoge by changing its brand name for the record attempt.


Engage with an emoji.

Safaricom used a custom emoji to drive engagement and become part of the nation’s conversation surrounding Kipchoge’s record attempt.

The success

Safaricom’s campaign hashtag #ELIUD159 along with the ELIUD emoji overtook the sponsor hashtag and trended in Kenya for three days reaching over 12 Billion impressions.

Additionally, the campaign reached celebrities and global brands joined in the conversation generated by the campaign. The Safaricom brand sentiment picked up and hit an all-time high of 85.5%.

Twitter enabled Kenyans to take the front seat and rally the ‘world’s fastest man’ through their messages using a custom emoji created for a once-in-a-lifetime event. The emoji and mosaic allowed each individual connect to something bigger than them; it made them connect with each other.

Carolyne Kendi, Head of Brand and Marketing Communications

Solutions used

Creative Canvas

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Audience targeting

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