TBWA Creates MTN’s Mathata Towers Lockdown Campaign


In support of the lockdown, MTN, in a new TV commercial/online film, showcases moments in life that can be cherished just as much by staying home, staying safe and being connected.

South Africans are currently dealing with many challenges that, if given the choice, we’d rather avoid. But, despite these challenges, South Africans always find a way to keep strong and stay positive.

The ad introduces us to a section of South African society living in the same apartment block, Mathata Towers. Mathata Towers is a place filled with lots of mathata (problems), especially during these tough times. The power has just tripped in the building – the result of a nearby lightning strike. As we move from one apartment to the next, we see little moments in which MTN is helping these people to keep going (when we see people using their cellphones, whatever is on their screens is animated over picture). 

Some of the scenes are funny, some are quite emotive, all of them depict moments that the vast majority of South Africans can relate to. The track ‘Three Little Birds’ is integral to the storytelling, it’s the thread that holds the entire ‘no worries’ narrative together.

The ad, MTN ‘Mathata Towers’ forms part of an expanded public awareness campaign, that started with the telecom heavyweight changing its pay-off line from ‘everywhere you go’ to ‘everywhere you stay’ for the duration of the lockdown. Unprecedented times called for drastic measures, so this is the first time in MTN’s history that they have tactically changed their pay-offline. 

The ad, created by TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, underscores the ‘single most important thing South Africans can do’ – that is to stay at home to reduce the risk of transmission. Peter Khoury, Chief Creative Officer at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris said, ‘South Africans know exactly what they need to do to protect themselves and their loved ones. The ad serves to remind everyone that simple pleasures matter the most and unravels how MTN helps you find the magic in these moments even if life is a little constrained for now. Without a doubt, the public health crisis facing South Africa today is the biggest to be witnessed by this generation. This was preceded by regular power cuts. The knowledge that you have a service provider like MTN supplying products and services that can address their customer’s needs holistically and in real-time is reassuring in the new normal.’

‘As we enter the fourth week of the lockdown and many amongst us are beginning to adjust to the idea of staying home, brands are finding their voice and lending support by pushing out communications in their particular tone and brand language to empathise with their audiences. Brands must not be opportunistic and stay true to themselves so that their voice and actions remain distinctively theirs, or their messages will be lost in a sea of sameness. Combating this virus requires a national effort. We all have a role to play to slow its spread, to protect and to show kindness and compassion to fellow South Africans. At a time like this, where there are more questions than answers, MTN’s voice is clear. They are there with you in the good and the bad times, everywhere you stay,’ Khoury concluded.