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#FillUpOrlandoStadium a roaring success

MTN South Africa was the main sponsor of the #FillUpOrlandoStadium concert featuring local hip hop artist Cassper Nyovest. The campaign followed the success of the #FillUpTheDome concert, and exceed expectations.
MTN SA have always been a strong supporter of local music, so it's no surprise they helped Nyovest fill up the 40,000 seater stadium. They managed to do this with a clever marketing strategy and getting influencers to jump on board the campaign.

We spoke with Larry Annetts, chief consumer officer at MTN SA, to find out more about the campaign and the success they had.

Larry Annetts
Bizcommunity How did MTN get involved in the initiative?

Annetts: MTN SA has a proud and rich history of supporting local music. When MTN signed up Cassper Nyovest as its new brand ambassador, it reaffirmed its commitment to its quest to continue to develop music and associate with artists that resonate with its values of innovation, leadership and ‘Can Do’ attitude.

So it was no surprise that when the idea of filling up Orlando Stadium with Cassper as the headline performer was proposed, MTN saw a unique opportunity to raise and build upon the successful #FillUpTheDome concert.

Bizcommunity Talk us through the marketing strategy...

Annetts: Both the MTN and Cassper’s team were aware of the enormity of the task ahead of filling up the historic Orlando Stadium with 40,000 revelers in a one man act. This mammoth undertaking hasn’t been done in the history of music in South Africa, particularly on such a grand scale. The teams had to find astute and innovative ways of using available resources to make this daring project a success.

The team adopted an integrated and multipronged marketing strategy that outlined the roadmap of this initiative and ensured that it remains top of mind in the public sphere, from the announcement stage, to on-the-ground activations and to the actual hosting of the concert.

To ensure everything was about filling the 40,000 seater stadium, MTN SA worked closely with Cassper, ensuring our sponsorship was entrenched and aligned to his musical style and personality. Our objective was to not only attract Cassper or hip hop fans, but music lovers in general and highlight the power of local music.

In a bid to heighten awareness about #FillUpOrlandoStadium and to give the public a sense of participation and ownership of the event, MTN launched a competition called Light Up the Stage. The competition invited unsigned artists and DJs to send their clips to be considered for opening acts for Cassper.

Over 1600 tracks and mixes were submitted in a period of 10 days. The quality of the music exceeded expectations. Every upload was produced and delivered in radio quality sound. The entries were whittled down to the top 10 finalists who embarked with Cassper on a roadshow in Johannesburg. The Light Up the Stage competition encompassed teaser posts, video content from Cassper, public voting, kasi tours and the public getting an opportunity to choose the top four finalists, and Cassper selecting the final three.

The Light up the Stage campaign site on MTN Play received:
  • 98407 Pageviews
    58661 Unique visitors
It’s Our Time

We realised that in order to create mass awareness we had to come up with a campaign theme that would reflect the vastness of Cassper’s endeavour. Cassper started using the words “It’s Our Time” early on in his campaign and it became a motto of inspiring the youth and building the “can do” attitude that embodied this venture. The phrase “It’s Our Time” surpassed music alone – also capturing the sentiment that Cassper embodies – of being able to achieve one’s dreams. It further speaks to the historic moment that Cassper and MTN seek to create. It is a call for youth to be empowered and take ownership of their destiny. This bold statement provided a strong call to South Africans to come together and celebrate the momentous moment when Cassper achieved his dream of uniting 40,000 fans at Orlando Stadium.

When approaching the strategic and creative direction for this campaign, we realised that the history that Cassper was trying to make was a perfect marriage with Orlando Stadium’s rich history of iconic moments in music history in South Africa. The idea to create an epic piece of video content that reflects the rich music history of Orlando and the history to be made by Cassper was borne.

The result, an emotive video that showcased some of the best historical music and sports events at Orlando Stadium, all building up to a shot of Cassper in the centre of the empty stadium, awaiting Mzansi to join him for “It’s Our Time”. The filming and post-production costs were kept tight, whilst pulling off the impossible to create a cinema-like video using a drone camera at night to produce larger than life footage of Cassper and the majestic Orlando Stadium. The video was launched on Friday night 14 October on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and within 40 minutes we saw fellow celebrities in South Africa and abroad talking, sharing and retweeting.

In addition to the main “It’s Our Time’ video piece we created numerous engaging video content of Cassper to drive awareness and FOMO of missing out the biggest South African music event.

The “It’s Our Time video” went viral on Facebook with 212,074 views and 2805 shares as well as 13000 reactions on Cassper Nyovest’s page. There was intensely positive sentiment by the audience as they applauded MTN on taking the initiative of empowering young South Africans. Family Tree as an influencer also shared the content on their page and it also started trending with 272 reactions. Celebrities caught on to the conversation and heeded to the rallying call with the video giving inspiration to Fill Up Orlando.

On the MTN Facebook page the video performed well with a reach of 357,921 and 99000 views, 3200 likes and 134 Comments as well as 185 shares.
Household musicians played a role in spreading awareness of the #FillUpOrlandoStadium concert. Some of the users that referenced MTN in their tweets included popular House DJs like, Real Black Coffee (1,169,487 followers), DJ Euphonik (796,265 followers), J’Something from Mi Casa (134,910) and Khuli Chana (500,004 followers).

We identified a number of tweets posted by the Family Tree artists and supporting artists which included the #FillUpOrlandoStadium hashtag. In total, we identified 3,138 tweets and subsequent retweets which accounted for 2.5% of the total #FillUpOrlandoStadium commentary. A breakdown of these tweets is below:
    • Gemini Major - 102 tweets that in turn received 201 retweets.
    • Nadia Nakai - 66 tweets that in turn received 187 retweets.
    • Mr Carpo - 59 tweets that in turn received 56 retweets.
    • Family Tree World Twitter profile – 113 tweets that in turn received 878 retweets.
    • Emtee – 2 tweets that in turn received 163 retweets
    • Ricky Rick – 8 tweets that in turn received 1 269 retweets
    • Babes Wodumo – 7 tweets that in turn received 26 retweets
Our digital efforts were rewarded when the Department of Arts & Culture (272,172 followers) came to the party and tweeted about the event, as did Minister of Sports, Facile Mbalula who has 602,266 followers.

YouTube was another avenue that was used to galvanise support for the “It’s Our Time” video – it was viewed 198,153 times in October, generated 305 likes and was shared 172 shares times. ‘It’s our time’ is the second most viewed video on the YouTube channel following the Mafikizolo ad. And it’s only been live for two weeks.

The video was also covered by Times Live with journalists encouraging other South Africans to go #FillUpOrlandoStadium.

The social approach

Social media was used to drive messaging and to enable the communities to fill up Orlando Stadium, drive CallerTunez downloads as well as drive positive brand affinity.

Hip hop is undoubtedly the most influential genre of music in South Africa, engaging on a daily basis with affluent black female and male youths between the ages 15-35. Thus, music was the driving force behind this campaign and we included Cassper in each part to fill up Orlando Stadium, drive CallerTunez downloads and drive positive brand affinity, thus demonstrating MTN’s involvement and give credibility to the brand association.

Not only did we leverage Cassper, but we offered up and coming artists a chance of a lifetime – by uploading their track, they could get shortlisted by the public and Cassper will choose his favourite who will then open up for him when he fills up Orlando Stadium. Cassper drove all content and this, as well as the tone of voice used, resonated with his die-hard Cassper fans, by coming from Cassper’s perspective. It’s the world Cassper lives in, a world they love. It’s also an opportunity for MTN to use this imagery to tap into that love and own a little piece of Cassper’s world. We focussed on video content as this allowed his fans, and hip hop fans in general to resonate with the content on a much deeper level and engage with it in order to meet the overall objectives of this campaign.

Social tactics:

1. Brand Love moments

a. Light Up The Stage, which included teaser posts pushing the overall campaign, video content from Cassper, top 10 finalists, public voting, Kasi tours, four finalists chosen by public, and then top three winners chosen by Cassper: We gave undiscovered talent a chance to share a stage with Cassper. What’s more, Cassper fans were the ones who put them in the spotlight and Cassper chose the final three.

b. Teaser posts speaking to the campaign and introducing the campaign as well as building hype were utilised. Our main messaging included static images and video. We promoted the different CallerTunez, and created hype by showcasing lyrics to some of Cassper’s songs and asked the audience to name the track. We recorded Cassper during the filming of the “It’s Our Time” video sending out messages to the public to submit their tracks and mixes and then also to vote for their favourite artists. This really resonated well with the audience as the content was tailor made to them and because it came from Cassper, they could feel the connection more. The video content and artwork was authentic as it was culturally immersed in the music and the movement. This delivered the campaign message and the brand equity in the most credible way, amplifying its effectiveness even more.

c. Kasi Tours focused on promoting the concert and driving CallerTunez downloads for fans to stand a chance of winning prizes. We live tweeted these at various locations around Soweto, as well as live tweeted the VIP dinner and the three winners’ performances at Cantare in Monte Casino. By doing so we created hype and excitement for the actual concert as well as fan engagement and awareness. We also helped drive the motion of filling up Orlando Stadium, driving CallerTunez downloads and also to drive the brand affinity.

d. Ultimate fan dinner: Cassper invited 22 of his biggest fans to become part of his entourage for a day. This took place the day before the concert, and we live tweeted this event. This again met the objectives of this campaign by driving the brand affinity.

e. Win tickets: We helped Cassper fill up Orlando Stadium by giving away tickets through Twitter’s Blue Robot tool.

2. Call to action

a. VIP Concert experience: Fans that downloaded selected CallerTunez during the campaign went into a draw to win the ultimate VIP experience at the concert.

3. Social Channels

a. MTN blog was the primary channel where all content was housed, we then posted natively on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter which hosted the static imagery and videos, and ultimately pushed traffic to the blog. The blog gave an overview of the different stages to the campaign as it was the central content point. We also used Instagram Stories for some of the live tweeting moments.

4. For the first time we moved the Loop Room into the concert venue and this worked magically. The main objective for this day was to share real, authentic content on the day and to engage with real time content surrounding the event.

The Loop Room is a team of 15 consisting of social, ORM and content specialists who monitor and track real time conversations – supported by advanced listening technology and an on the ground team.

The social team were part of the action and could see the engagement happening right there and then. We received tens of thousands of mentions on the day of the concert – many of these from top influencers from across the continent, and some from across the globe, congratulating Cassper and wishing him luck for the day.

Bizcommunity Which social media platforms were mainly used for the campaign?

Annetts: MTN has a pervasive social media presence, we leveraged its permeating digital platforms, including its blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram page to evangelise the #FillUpOrlandoStadium message. The content that was posted on social media directed traffic to MTN’s blog which gave a detailed overview of the different stages to the campaign.

In the run up to the #FillUpOrlandoStadium concert, MTN kept Twitter ablaze with tweets and retweets from Cassper, using the MTN Twitter account and even other popular artists were endorsing the upcoming musical extravaganza. Cassper retweeted and reposted MTN’s content, and MTN in turn did likewise.

Between 1 and 31 October, a total of 123,993 tweets that mentioned #FillUpOrlandoStadiumn and 8% of these tweets made specific reference to MTN (10,019 tweets). The MTN #FillUpOrlandoStadium tweets potentially reached 10,326,487 Twitter users.

Bizcommunity What was the response to the campaign? Research stats etc..

Annetts: Twitter
    • There were 123,993 tweets that mentioned #FillUpOrlandoStadium posted from 1 – 31 October 2016, 8% of these tweets made specific reference to MTN (10,019 tweets).
    • The MTN #FillUpOrlandoStadium tweets potentially reached 10,326,487 Twitter users.
    • 12% of the MTN #FillUpOrlandoStadium commentary was positive, this is three times higher than the average proportion of positive MTN commentary we have seen since Jan 2012 (57 month average of positive sentiment is 4%).
    • Positive themes in the commentary included:
      - Positive feedback about the It’s Our Time advert.
      - Praise for MTN for supporting Cassper Nyovest and sponsoring the concert.
      - Enjoyment of Light up the Stage Mall activations.
      - Finalists of Light up the Stage thanking MTN for the opportunity.
      - Enjoyment of the concert on 29 October.
    • More than half of the MTN #FillUpOrlandoStadium commentary was retweets of @MTNza (58%). The top performing tweet shared by MTN received 1286 retweets (posted on 21 Oct encouraging followers to retweet in order to win ticket to the concert).
    • Cassper Nyovest posted four tweets about #FillUpOrlandoStadium that mentioned MTN, these tweets received a total of 725 retweets and accounted for 7% of the total MTN #FillUpOrlandoStadium commentary. Nyovest’s top performing #FillUpOrlandoStadium tweet (that mentioned MTN) received 300 retweets (posted on 29 Oct giving MTN subscribers attending the concert 10GB free data).
    • 16% of the commentary was about the It’s Our Time advert, the majority of these were retweets of @MTNza’s tweets and @CassperNyovest’s tweets.
    • MTN South Africa shared 36 posts about #FillUpOrlandoStadium, these posts reached 1,206,387 people.
    • These posts attracted 15,245 instances of engagement (1490 comments, 13,250 likes, 505 shares).

Most Influential users participating in #FillUpOrlandoStadium


Despite the rapid uptake of social media platforms in South Africa, MTN was cognizant of the importance of reaching out to music fans that were not necessarily on social media. This is where traditional media was an important and strategic partner and played an important role in contributing to the success of #FillUpOrlandoStadium. This meant diversifying the communication platforms and reaching these music fans on the platforms that resonate with them.

This included an outreach campaign using community radio stations that have a large listenership in their respective communities. In addition, out of home properties were used in the form of wall murals in 20 locations across Johannesburg and branding on backlit mirrors in popular clubs and restaurants. The MTN LED billboard on the N1 South route to Soweto was tactically used to drive the Light of the Stage competition and ticket sales, flighting new countdown creative every day for 8 days prior to the concert.

YFM Partnership

Tactics: Partner with YFM, which will allow MTN to drive interaction and engage with the youth market while creating hype around #FillUpOrlandoStadium
Utilize different elements within the YFM platforms to create brand awareness and frequency

    • Interview - Finalist Announcement (Announcing the top 10 finalist)
    • Voting Powerspots (Pushing listeners to go to MTN Play and vote)
    • Roadshow Messaging (Promoting the kasi tours on the 14th, 15th, 16th)
    • Live Crossing DJ Fee (Having a DJ on-board the tour bus who will report back live on air what is happening)
    • Live Crossing (On-air report back from the tour bus)
    • Winner’s Announcement Cassper to announce the final two winners to open up #FilliUpOrlandoStadium)
    • Competition Promo (Drive listeners to download the CallerTunez)
    • Station Social Platforms (Use Twitter & Facebook to drive engagement with listeners)
Community radio stations

We used community radio stations to target the areas around Gauteng to create hype around #FillUpOrlandoStadium and reach the audience who are not on social media. No budget was allocated; the partnership was based on the ticket give-aways.

They were:
    • Alex FM – 141,000 listenership
    • Cosmo FM – 1,000 listenership
    • EK FM – 9,000 listenership
    • Eldos FM – 29,000 listenership
    • Kasi FM – 158,000 listenership
    • Mix FM – 30,000 listenership
    • Mogale FM – 13,000 listenership
    • Rainbow FM – 76,000 listenership
    • Shoot FM – 10,000 listenership
    • Thetha FM – 184,000 listenership
Bizcommunity What kind of marketing strategy are MTN looking at going forward?

Annetts: #FillUpOrlandoStadium was unprecedented, and MTN did not have a blueprint it could copy and follow – consequently some mistakes were made in the process. In the same breadth, #FillUpOrlandoStadium was a roaring success and exceeded expectations – it re-wrote the history of music in South Africa, raised the profile of South African music and emboldened the local artists to believe, with conviction, that It's Our Time.

This was one of the most successful campaigns that MTN have run. It was amazing to see MTN run an event of this magnitude and aid in making history by aligning to one of South Africa’s top Hip –Hop artists – Cassper Nyovest. It was said to be “one of the biggest music festivals that SA has ever seen” – Timeslive.

Bizcommunity How important is it to MTN to support local music?

Annetts: Music is the first love of people South Africans and MTN has committed itself to be at the forefront of developing music and backing activities that resonate with its customers. Music has the power to unite people, and it remains an art form that people use to celebrate, mourn, express joy and sadness.

Through platforms such as MTN Music+, MTN will continue to showcase and champion the growth of local music.

About Beverley Klein

Beverley Klein is the editor of the Marketing Media South Africa section on With a background in journalism and historical studies, she's dived into the world of industry news, curating content, writing and interviewing thought leaders. She's often spotted in a forest on the weekend and rarely seen without a camera. Follow @BevCPT.
Ugonwa Nwoye
Wow. This is really impressive! Historic effort. Best wishes to Cassper.
Posted on 14 Nov 2016 16:47



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