MTN (Mobile Telephone Network) Promo, Case study CONNECTOR BOT by Metropolitan Republic Johannesburg


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Industry Telecommunications Services, Mobile Communications
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market South Africa
Agency Metropolitan Republic Johannesburg
Director Duvan Durand
Executive Creative Director Peter Khoury
Creative Director Wesley Phelan, Robert Rutherford, Ray Man Photography
Art Director Dale Mullany Candice Mcleroth
Copywriter Keith Manning
Designer Sechaba Kgala
Producer Simone Bosman
Editor Carlos Feyder
Released May 2013

Credits & Description

Advertiser: MTN
Category: Best Use of Live Events and/or Stunts
Advertising campaign: CONNECTOR BOT
Engineer: Daniel Schoeman (CSIR)
Director: Duvan Durand (Institute Of Amazing Shit)
Copywriter: Keith Manning (Metropolitanrepublic)
Creative Director: Ray Ray (Metropolitanrepublic)
Designer: Sechaba Kgala (Metropolitanrepublic)
Creative Director: Robert Rutherford (Metropolitanrepublic)
Producer: Simone Bosman (Metropolitanrepublic)
Art Director: Candice Mcleroth (Metropolitanrepublic)
Editor: Carlos Feyder (Institute Of Amazing Shit)
Art Director: Dale Mullany (Metropolitanrepublic)
Client Service: Delia Ferreria (Metropolitanrepublic)
Chief Creative Officer: Paul Warner (Metropolitanrepublic)
Executive Creative Director: Peter Khoury (Metropolitanrepublic)
Creative Director: Wesley Phelan (Metropolitanrepublic)

Client Brief Or Objective
Connect students to the Design Indaba, give them the full experience and inspire them to create change for good. Display MTN’s network capabilities.Position MTN as the catalyst for positive change.

Campaign Description
MTN wanted to connect design students from the Tshwane University Of Technology to the most inspiring design conference in the world, Design Indaba. Problem is, Design Indaba is very far from these students. Flights and registration are also very expensive. Design Indaba though, is essential for the growth of young designers. So we decided to send someone to represent the students. The MTN Connector Bot, a robot we built with the help of some really smart robotics and mechatronics engineers. The Connector Bot ran a live two-way uplink between Design Indaba and the University. Through the camera feed and touch screen controls the students were able to pilot the Connector Bot around Design Indaba auditoriums and conference halls. They even had interviews with the Design Indaba speakers. Giving them more than just the usual Design Indaba experience. We also ran a Twitter promo where we asked delegates to tweet #MTNConnectCreate. For every tweet we would donate data to help keep students connected to the Internet. With all the tweets, blogs and social networks speaking positively about the campaign, news spread like wildfire. The Connector Bot was even invited to do a live interview of South Africa’s biggest morning TV show, Expresso. Our message of 'Connected we can create change for good' was broadcast to millions of South Africans. The result that excites the most is the one that we’ll only see in a few years time, when our students use what’s inspired them to create social and environmental change for good.

By building one robot we connected 20 students to over 6000 industry leading delegates and 23 of the worlds brightest minds.Through our twitter promo we donated enough data to keep students connected for an entire year.We received thousands of positive tweets and messages across all major social networks.Millions of rands of free PR from the live TV interviewTotal cost of campaign $3800campaign message of connected we can create change for good was intended just for the delegates and students but with the buzz created around the connector bot it was spread to millions of south Africans and thousands of people around the world.The result we’re most excited about is the one we’ll only see in a few years, when the students use what they’ve learnt to inspire them to create positive change for good.

As soon as we landed Cape Town, the students took over the handling of the bot. We programmed a clever app that enabled the students to drive the robot around the Design Indaba conference auditorium from over 1000 kilometers away. Our robot head contained Samsung tablets that ran a live two-way uplink between the students and Design Indaba. We did this so that the students could see where they were driving the bot as well as talk to anyone that they met. Using LTE we had a great connection and this helped everything run smoothly.The robot appeared in a public setting that catered for 6000 delegates everyday for the first three days and then once the expo was opened to the public that number increased to 12000 people. The bot was seen by thousands of people who took pictures and through social networks helped further spread our message.

Careful planning was crucial because of our limited budget and limited time. We brought in top engineers to help build our robot. With only one month to execute everyone was working around the clock to bring the Connector Bot to life. We tested many different types of robotic equipment to ensure we had the right materials to deal with whatever the robot would encounter. Like the balance of the robot, we doubled the power source batteries as the weights that lowered the Connector Bot’s centre of gravity, giving it ultimate stability. Each piece of the robot was designed to be easy to take apart and put together. We knew that people would respond positively to the bot and they did. Just as we anticipated most of the delegates at the Design Indaba tweeted and spoke about the bot, they also were very excited to connect with the students.

We knew that if we built the robot and got people excited about it we could highlight how technology can help solve many of the social and environmental issue we face in South Africa.With the interest generated around the students and the bot people spread the news fast and wide.