Who Won Ramadan’s Telecom Race In Egypt?

Telecom is Egypt’s #1 influencer industry online and on-ground. This Ramadan, Telecom ads showed major differences in marketing disciplines, content-production schools and customer behavior.

In this piece, I review the 3 telecom campaigns and discuss where they succeeded and where they missed out.

#3: Etisalat

Agency: King Tut’s Playground- KTP

Etisalat had one objective in mind for this season, to hijack Vodafone’s hype. They thought, somehow, that repeating Vodafone’s move by bringing Mobinil’s funny midget would still be funny. What made it worse is ridiculing Vodafone’s ad amidst a not-so-subtle visual cues of elements of previous Vodafone campaigns. The joke was injected by silly, shallow and contradictory statements about Vodafone’s advertorial policies.

This is middle-school feud, not market competition.

#2: Vodafone

Directed by: Omar Hilal — J. Walter Thompson Cairo

This had a great potential to hit the jackpot with a powerful copy backed with an actual benefit to customers: Vodafone worked on a great feature that wins you free calls and SMSs which you can share with 5 designated numbers when you recharge a scratch card (Family Card). To capitalize on this feature for their ad, they tapped into a major Ramadan-inspired value: Family. It all went wrong when they derived from working to communicate the main advertorial message to creating a noisy, star-studded musical with celebrities. They even over-done the Nostalgia-tickle trick where they remind you of Hussein Fahmy and Magdy Abdel-Ghani because, honestly, why not. Distracted by Yousra’s redness, the main message and aim of the whole ad copy was mentioned in a subtitle at the end of the copy.
Most of the audience didn’t even notice what this is all about, yet they liked the cool tricks it played.

#1: Mobinil

Directed by: Marwan Hamed — Leo Burnett Cairo

The collective achievement of this campaign in terms of Creative Direction, Production and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) puts it on top of the competition as the best campaign this season.

Here are 5 reasons why:

1- It‘s not about Charity.

Brands and nonprofits usually tend to create partnerships of convenience rather than strategy when it comes to CSR. This campaign, however, forges an ongoing relation with consumers that is flexible enough to contain and sponsor further long-lasting activities. It doesn’t take the easy way of donating a chunk of money to a charity in exchange for a “Thank You” logo. Not to say that charity isn’t useful, but it’s not sustainable.

2- It grew.

The campaign took its turn slowly, from spreading “#فاعل_خير” over the streets of Egypt to holding unbranded on-ground activations creating a genuine buzz over the initiative. This guarantees a long-term impact for the campaign as well as for people who share the initiative morale.

3- It practices what it preaches.

The campaign didn’t target to position Mobinil as the almighty saver of a desperate population in a selfish act of promotion. It portrayed a sense of collaboration, one that is rare to observe in the Egyptian society recently. You get to see underground-artists, state institutions, volunteers and passersby sharing the same plane. It shows millennials capturing the moment and sharing it on social media using their smartphones and tablets (subtle promotion of Mobinil’s Internet services) This mainly derives from Mobinil’s main branding motif “دايماً مع بعض” (Always Together).

4- It’s real.

You can see effort in the video, tens of simple acts of good serving real people. The campaign doesn’t pop the brand in your face to let you know how gracious of a corporate Mobinil is. It derives its power from the authentic call-to-action “فاعل خير” which entails messages of community and self-denial. This is shown through the majority of shots either showing action from a point-of-view angle or from elevated wide angles.

5- It’s simply, beautifully produced.

The production quality of this campaign emerged from the brilliant choice of DSLR and GoPro cameras as the main utility to capture the action, it’s not over-produced and gives a sense of originality. It portrays the visual richness of Egypt’s diversity through the variety of locations in fast-cuts. Not to mention, the song is beautiful in terms of lyrics, catchy tunes and the choice of homegrown talents that added a fine final touch to a masterpiece.

I fell in love with this campaign. It’s carefully crafted, precisely executed and simply inspiring.

Digital Strategist Ibrahim Gamal Eldin fuses a background in media production and political science with expertise in digital marketing to build full-fledged digital marketing strategies, Arabic and English online content, and creative direction for digital advertising. His portfolio includes 30+ clients including: Google, Sony Music, USAID, Kevin Spacey Foundation, Amr Khaled and Carole Samaha.

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