By Emmanuel Elebeke
MTN Nigeria, last week dismissed any speculation that its sponsorship ofÂ 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was for profit. The company said the reason behind its dolling multi million dollars to light up the world event was to articulate the can do spirit of Africa before the visiting countries, thereby justifying its brand management philosophy ofÂ selling Africa to the wider world.
It also said that the sponsorship is aimed at offering the African people the rare opportunity to exhibit their rich cultural potentials and heritage at the world stage.
Disclosing this in Lagos, at a workshop organized recently by the company in partnership with Philips Consulting, Senior Official at MTN, Mr. Quasim Adekunle said the decision by MTN to sponsor the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa was to prove to the world that Africa has not justÂ come of age, but is capable of hosting the world at all level.
â€œThe idea is that if MTN can host 2010 FIFA World cup, then any Nigerian company can also do it,â€ adding that the sponsorship is expectedÂ to make MTN a leading telecommunication operator, not only in Africa, but also at the world level,â€ said Adekunle.
Apart from showcasing the rich potentials and culture of Africa, he explained that the sponsorship was a systematic effort to prove to other continents of the world that African nations had indeed grown upÂ and are capable of competing favourably with their counterparts.
â€œMTN wantÂ to use the sponsorship to make a statement to the world. To tell the African story, the way it is and not the alien story that is available to the rest of the world. Weâ€™re also using the opportunity to project the MTN brand to the global worldâ€Â he said.
Adekunle further pointed out thatÂ the sponsorship apart from enabling the African peopleÂ make a positive difference to their lives, they will also use the opportunity to affect lives in their various communities, countries and the world in general.
Since MTN has its root in Africa, he believed that the telecom companyÂ owes it as a duty to tell theÂ world what the continent stands for, and who the people are, using emerging technologies.
The MTN Data and Devices manager, Mr. Tayo Judge also added that the African talents had not been given the desired recognition at the global stage, stressing that the sponsorship would do that, in addition to bringing theÂ MTN brand to life and provide excellent opportunity for the brand to touch and interact with consumers on a personal level, rather than on a mass exposure level.Â For him, MTN will continue to commit to global sponsorship that will bring the local champions to the world stage.
â€œCustomers want to be entertained, stimulated, emotionally affected and creatively challenged. That is why we are sponsoring the global soccer competition. We believe that sponsorship in Nigeria needs to be taken to the next level too,â€ he posited.