Idowu Adesokan, SM, High Value of MTN spoke with Vanguard after the MTN Season of Surprises campaign. He narrated that in 2018 the company visited 90 communities within 31 states of the federation giving various gifts to subscribers not minding the network they subscribe to. Excerpts.
By Princewill Ekwujuru
What is this MTN season of surprises pro gramme all about, and what is the intention?
As we know, the Yuletide season is a time synonymous with sharing and giving, and we took this as an opportunity to spread the love and kindness through the act of giving. Season of Surprises is a plethora of surprising activities hinged on giving back to not just MTN customers but everybody.
We saw the impact which resulted in the 277,718 lives touched in the 2017 edition. We put lasting smiles on people’s faces, and even going into 2018, there were ongoing positive conversations regarding the recently concluded Season of Surprise. It was just unbelievable to Nigerians that a brand like MTN will give without expecting anything in return from people. Therefore, it was crucial to take it a notch higher in 2018, in order to continue the chain of giving commenced in 2017.
In every location visited during Season of Surprises, we ensured there was no transaction, we didn’t say bring N10 or make this number of calls on you MTN lines and get this, it was solely hinged on just giving back to Nigerians nationwide.
What people fail to realize is that giving back should be irrespective of your social status. We had gifts catered for all social economic classes, all geo-political regions, and all types of settlements. The primary goal was to give back to Nigerians as a whole. Regardless of your social status or standing, giving back transcends that. For example, we visited and gave back to communities in three (3) IDP camps, within Benue and Abuja, and I can say those are the most vulnerable set of people in the country at the moment; however we also visited bus parks and airports to put smiles on the faces of travellers.
When it comes to giving people always believe that you give to the less privileged that is the thought line. If I want to give people will think I want to give to the less privileged. However, we say giving transcends wherever you belong to in the social status.
No matter what your social status is, whether you are upper class, whether you are in the middle class, whether you are one of the less privileged giving transcends that. What we did, for example, we were in two IDP camps in Abuja and Benue and I can say those are the most vulnerable set of people we have in the country right now
How many locations did you reach in 2018 Edition?
In 2018 Season of Surprises edition, we carried out different impactful activities in 31 states plus the FCT pan Nigeria, in which we successfully touched 325,491 lives compared to the 277,718 lives touched in 2017. We visited more than 90 communities within the 31 states and the FCT, which made up of 17 States in the South, 14 States in the North plus the FCT. However, due to security challenges, we were unable to carry out activities in the remainder 5 states.
Part of our 2018 activities included our Supermarket surprise and delight in 50 Supermarkets pan Nigeria, where gave out N8, 000 worth of shopping vouchers. These vouchers were given to customers irrespective of if they were an MTN Customer or not.
We also visited to 10 public primary schools, in which every single student was given an amazing quality and sturdy school bag stuffed with educational items in anticipation of the new term in January. We are extremely happy knowing that 7500 student lives were made better and happier by MTN.
Of course, the tertiary institutions were not left out; we gave back to students in 6 tertiary institutions pan Nigeria. Although, not the usual well known Universities, but Colleges of Education such as Schools of Nursing, and Technical Colleges, which are often overlooked by major brands. Hence, the deliberate decision to visit such schools like, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education in Oyo State, Enugu State College of Education etc. We were in schools up North; we also handed out gifts in the school of nursing in Kano.
As you know, Transportation is quite synonymous with the festive period. We decided in 2017 to leverage the transportation hubs by paying for transport fares of people travelling home for the Yuletide. This was a huge success and even taken up a notch higher in 2018.
In 2017, We were at the parks in Jibowu, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, Utako, Abuja, and we also paid for the train fares of people that travelled from Abuja to Kaduna between Dec 22nd and December 24th , but this year we increased the excitement by not only visiting new parks such as Ajah Bus Park,, but by offering a subsidy of N30,000 on Air fares of some customers. We needed to ensure we touch as many lives as possible.
In the 2018 edition, we also included an exciting leg targeted at movie goers. We were at 15 different cinemas pan Nigeria to give out free movie tickets, popcorn and drinks. We also visited 30 general hospitals where we shared provisions to patients. This turned out to be one of the most emotional initiative introduced in the 2018 edition.
I know we can all testify that Fuel is a pure necessity. We continued the surprises in 50 fuel stations pan Nigeria as well. We succeeded in giving out N2000 worth of fuel to 60 customers within each of these 50 fuel stations in
Why did we do all these? You might ask. We did these to guarantee we spread our tentacles far and wide, and to as much people as possible by impacting their lives. We were able to use 10 different activities to touch 325,491 lives.
The ultimate goal and objective for us are the lasting smiles we put on people’s faces, and the long lasting impact on these lives touched..
What drove our commitment to give beyond the 2017 edition, as people expected it to be a one-off due to the scale and costs incurred. However, as the market leader in the telecoms industry, it is important we continue to lead by example. Imagine if we can have three or four brands continue this chain of giving back, the country will definitely be a better and happier place for our deserving citizens.
Beyond touching people’s lives, what other intention do you have doing this?
Another main objective here is to create a culture of giving back. It is not just from a corporate point of view, but as individuals also. We want you to be a giver and put smiles on the faces of people around you. We need to bring back the culture of sharing, giving and spreading kindness during the Festive period and even beyond.
Another school of thought said you are doing this to increase your subscribers’ base. How true is that?
That is absolutely incorrect. Over the years, Nigerians as a whole in one way or the other have contributed to the success of our company and this is our way of just saying thank you through the power of giving. Our sole purpose was to give back to people around Nigeria in order to make the Yuletide Season a happier and brighter season. We had instances where gift receivers wanted to buy and register lines, however we were unable to fulfil that request as that was not the objective.
Among the telcos, your company presently is the only one that has done this in Nigeria, how do you think this impact on your customers and the company
We are of the opinion that our customers are not just our ambassadors but our partners as well. Hence the kudos is not just directed to us but to our customers. Therefore, they should be proud of also being part of the successful execution of MTN Season of Surprises; We wouldn’t have been able to do this without our customers.