It was a first for the daily tabloid when the 32-page edition had only one advertiser. "With the exception of five pages of classifieds, the entire newspaper carried only the yellow giant's 'Mahala' campaign," says advertising manager, Musa Shongwe.
A mix of formats - strips, half pages, full pages and a centrespread, added variety but overall the newspaper had a distinctive yellow look. "We had to negotiate with some regulars but, we're a 'can do' team here," says Shongwe. "And nothing gets us going like a bold concept."
What made the edition look even better was that the advertising content was all in isiZulu. "A few brand campaigns use the vernacular," says Shongwe, "but the overwhelming majority of national ad content tends to be in English and we love it when advertisers speak isiZulu," he says.
For MTN chief marketing officer, Serame Taukobong, it's about plugging into media channels that customers can identify with. "Brands like us strive to maintain a solid street cred. Isolezwe plays a significant part in communicating with our key customers; and in particular in the KZN region."
"We find Isolezwe fitting into our broader strategy on how one can localise talkability," says Taukobong.
Isolezwe has been publishing since 2002 and reaches 943,000 average issue readers. Its newer weekend editions - ngeSonto and ngoMgqibelo are the fastest growing newspapers in the country, based on audited sales.