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Titled “Welcome to the New World,” the campaign launches tomorrow in selected countries across Africa.
The campaign articulates MTN’s belief that emerging markets are on the cusp of a brand new world. This is a world where the distinction between the first and third world no longer exists, thanks to digitisation.
“For many years, there has been a gap between the first world and markets in which we operate,” says Jennifer Forrester, Executive for Group Marketing at MTN.
“This campaign is designed to communicate that as MTN we do not believe there’s a first or third world anymore. Our belief is that we are getting to a new world, a digital world that is a great equaliser. This is a space where a mobile handset is not just a phone anymore, but a bank, a jukebox, a mobile office and even a library. That is a new world that MTN is welcoming its customers to.”
The campaign is MTN’s most ambitious yet. It comprises 17 television commercials, filmed across all of MTN’s 21 markets in Africa and the Middle East. It also includes a combination of market-specific print, online, outdoor and mobile creative executions.
Forrester says a key criterion of the campaign brief was that it showcases and celebrates what makes MTN markets special, and what MTN thinks the rest of the word should celebrate.
“What was important for us is that the adverts show what we see, and that is beautiful, sophisticated, vibrant Africa and Middle East… and the innovation, creativity and excitement percolating our markets,” she says. “This is what we want the entire international community to see as we welcome them to the new world. But it was equally important for us to portray all of that in a specific way.”
To this end, the campaign also seeks to celebrate what individuals in all of MTN’s markets are able to do because of the role MTN plays in their lives.
Forrester says MTN has grown over the years from being a generic telecommunication company known for basic telephony to a lifestyle-enabling, one-stop solutions shop that supports consumers through every moment and every stage of their life. Therefore the campaign needed to illustrate this growth and transition.
This year, MTN became the first African company to crack global research group Milward Brown’s BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands listing, coming in at 88th position.
“We decided we do not want to be just a global brand. We wanted to start acting like a global brand, which was important to us,” says Forrester.
As a result, in the brief to our creative agency, says Forrester, it was important that an emphasis on MTN’s long-term view is highlighted.
“It was important that the campaign speaks to how we drive MTN forward as a business and a brand taking a long-term view. MTN is passionate and committed to creating an enhanced user-experience for our customers. And we aim to achieve this alongside our pursuit of business growth opportunities, especially in the new digital space”, she says.
Forrester adds that the digital space is a very interesting area for MTN “because we believe access to the new digital world is really what is going to redefine our markets in the short to medium term.”
MTN believes a strong focus on digitisation will usher in a new world order for emerging markets. To this end, the company has a strong focus on relevancy of its digital services, as showcased through its revamped MTN Play portal, also re-launched this week in selected markets. The new-look MTN Play portal will be available across multiple operating systems and mobile handsets in MTN markets in Africa and the Middle East.
“MTN, as a business, is focused on driving sustainable growth through digital services, our enterprise offerings and opportunistic partnerships. However, it's equally important for us to drive growth in a manner that delivers value to our customers and communities. We believe that the areas we are exploring in terms of new growth have enormous potential to transform our markets and the lives of people in those markets,” says Christian De Faria, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer.
The global campaign will be rolled out in all of MTN’s 21 markets, starting with the English and French Pan-African markets in December, followed by a Middle East execution in early 2013.