Can we port back a little to 2013 and discuss that MTN’s I Don Port Ad?

A.K.A Why Saka’s dance moves were not the point

A man with his back to the crowd in green traditional attire taps his feet to the beat of the music, swinging his arms around wildly with his back to the crowd in the manner of a choir master conducting the choir with wild hand signals. The beat gets sicker and you can see his body respond to the change in tempo; the tune is infectious.

He sings of how he can now port to a different network. Still singing, back still turned to the crowd so we cannot see who it is, he is cloaked in darkness and at the moment of the big reveal, he jumps and spins around and the lights come on! His clothes have turned yellow, the MTN brand color! And he is no one but Saka, the man normally associated with the Etisalat brand. The Etisalat guy has ported to MTN!

This was the way the popular telecommunication company, MTN, announced to users the availability of the option of moving from one network to another without losing their phone numbers.

Brilliant idea, brilliant timing, perfect vehicle.

The apt change of his costume from green to yellow did not go unnoticed and it had everyone talking about the great port. The ingenuity of the MTN’s I don port Ad with Saka is one that was not lost on many, MTN has had so many memorable adverts and the I Don Port ad remains one of the top.

The question on everyone’s mind when Saka ported was ‘Why? Why did he port?’ and stories of Etisalat’s inability to pay him well and MTN’s better offer circulated amongst the masses.

The reason for his port is not what I believe should be considered when we think about the ad. Rather, the creative genius of the brains behind that ad and the perfect use of another network’s popular brand artiste’s defection to showcase the new network port offer (which is also a defection) is what should be admired. To show users they could move from one network to another, MTN made an advert that showed that Etisalat brand artiste Saka had become an MTN brand ambassador.

Proper timing is extremely important in strategy. The announcement of the engagement of TWP stars, Adesua Etomi and Banky W coinciding as it did with the announcement of the sequel, The Wedding Party 2, went a long way in gaining publicity for the movie.

How many times have you tweeted or shared something online that seemed like it could be gold and had it flop, probably because the timing, audience or context was wrong, only to have another person share that exact same thing at a different time and ‘blow’?

Timing and context work hand in hand, the right content has to be produced in the right context at the right time. Timing should be optimized for maximum impact in brand or social media strategy. Optimal timing is key — well, one of the keys.

The efficacy of what you put out there is dependent on several other factors and when developing strategy, the end game should be kept foremost in mind.

What are you trying to achieve?

Do you want to get people to just talk about a product or are you more interested in getting them to buy a product?

Your audience should be your primary focus so you want to tailor your offerings to your target audience, keeping in mind what you want out of the audience.

Some ads are created for the buzz; to get the audience talking; and some achieve only that and nothing more. This happens despite the fact that the original intent was to exploit that buzz and gain something more.

That said, I just watched the I Don Port ad again on Youtube and I personally think it was brilliant. Plus, it still makes me want to dance. Click here if you want to dance too, or if you just want to watch the old ad because Saka’s moves were LIT!