The Observer (Kampala)

24 August 2014

Uganda: MTN Dominates Digital Awards

For instance, in 2006, tweeting was something that only birds did, but now, it's our number one way to insult celebrities and corporate brands without getting punched in the face. In return, they too use many of these sites to promote themselves; this is because of their direct connection with the public.

Last Thursday, HiPipo, National Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), CyberPlc and Global Networks partnered on a project to award companies that hire individuals to do nothing but facebook and tweet. The companies organized the first-ever Digital Impact Awards Africa. With the theme: "Maximizing the digital dividend", they awarded companies that have thrived in using famous social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus to prove their relevance.

The awards categories included: digital financial service, corporate brand on social media, best website and radio on social media, among others. It must have been a good day for MTN as they scooped many of the awards they had been nominated for.

The telecom company won five awards, including the brand of the year award. However, many didn't concur with the fact that MTN's "Egg hunt" indeed beat Airtel's "Uganda Cranes we believe" or Smart's "Give us a name" for the best corporate digital campaign award.

MTN was, instead, applauded for winning the best commercial advert award. This was the most interesting category where Airtel's "Mr Money", Riham's "Whatsup", UTL's "Everlasting airtime" and Orange's "Tokota" adverts competed with MTN's "Oh, the things you'll learn (Gonya Zirya Ki?)".

The advert has a sweet young girl finding an egg at a river bank and embarking on hatching it, assuming it is for a duck. Directed by Michael Middleton, the advert has taken Uganda and Africa at large by storm. It wasn't a surprise that the entire room was abuzz when this little piece of creativity won.

"It's always fantastic setting a trend," said one of the MTN officials while accepting the award.

Other winners included: NBS for the growing brand on social media award, KCCA for government agency on social media, and Galaxy for best radio award. Delivering the message on behalf of the Bank of Uganda (BOU) governor, Richard Magyembo, BOU's head of IT, noted that technology, especially mobile money, has tremendously changed the way people transact business, and pleaded that the award shouldn't be a one-off.

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