Old-school advertising and storytelling meet modern technology in 'Duck Egg', the new MTN Africa brand commercial made by integrated creative advertising agency MetropolitanRepublic.
In the spot, a little girl - played adorably by young South African Mamahlape Magome - finds a lonely egg while playing by a river. She takes it home and uses the New World of MTN to immerse herself in all things "duck" through her online research. Her adventures then take an unexpected turn.
Filmed in South Africa for broadcast in Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and South Africa, the commercial was directed by Michael Middleton in a creative collaboration between MetropolitanRepublic's Ugandan and South African branches.
The challenge for the creative team working under chief creative strategist Paul Warner was to create work that would cross country boundaries with big thinking about a simple human truth - our ever-present thirst for knowledge.
Says Warner: "MTN wanted to show its customers the amazing things they could achieve through the use of the internet and modern technology. The creative team used the dichotomy between old-world nostalgia - such as the idea of children playing happily outside - and new-world innovation to show how technology can enhance humanity without overtaking it."
Mamahlape, the star of the ad, got her first acting job when she beat hundreds of other children to be cast as the curious egg-hunter.
"We fell in love with her the minute we saw her on the casting tape," says writer Candice Hellens. "She's not a professional, yet she brought a studiousness to the character that's given the ad real depth."
Art director Moira-Gene Sephton Gous agrees, adding: "Her performance is highlighted by the high production value of the commercial and detailed props and styling, which required many hours of hard work by the art department on set, led by Sue Steele. The amazingly life-like animation by Sinister Studios that is seamlessly integrated with the filmed images completes the story beautifully."
Even the music was composed specifically for the commercial by Alun Richards of Cut & Paste.
In Uganda, the campaign includes an interactive element - a digital Egg Hunt. Also developed by MetropolitanRepublic, it mirrors the TV commercial by encouraging customers to use online research and technology to find the answers to a series of digitally presented clues.