• Friday, June 21, 2024
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MTN Y’ello Santa campaign: Championing digital channels for CSR project

As digital technology is moving forward, it is taking companies’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy with it.

MTN Nigeria, the largest telecommunication company in Africa’s most populous nation, realized this that is why the telco giant launched a digital version of its 2021 Season of Surprises.

As part of efforts to reward customers for their continuous patronage and loyalty, MTN Nigeria empowered and enabled customers to do the giving. Customers had the opportunity to give and receive different gift items, without having to perform any chargeable activity, on the new myMTN NG app or via USSD.

Fuelled by the restriction on physical movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s edition of the MTN Season of Surprises was made digital, the first-ever online version of the project.

Speaking on the company’s digital direction, the Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria, Adia Sowho said, “This year’s edition was digitized because of the restrictions on physical movement due to COVID-19. It was a great opportunity for people to connect through giving and this time, we were all Y’ello Santa spreading happiness and good cheer!”

According to industry players, the initiative by MTN Nigeria holds lessons for other companies as it brings about transparency in companies’ CSR projects.

“A digitalized Corporate Social Responsibility platform is the easiest way to foster measurable change in the world while having a grasp on the real impact of the firm and each employee,” Alaya Furniturewalla, cofounder of Alaya, a company on a mission to increase corporate social responsibility said.

According to her, in today’s world of rapid information, companies’ CSR efforts need to be public, transparent, and attainable, so everyone can see the positive impact the companies are making with just a few clicks.

In the 2021 edition of the Y’ello Santa campaign, over 120,000 MTN subscribers received gifts from their loved ones. MTN customers were made a part of the giving process as they were allowed to refer any MTN subscriber of their choice, using the new myMTN NG app or dialing *135#, to receive an array of gifts.

These include Jumia shopping vouchers to purchase curated festive hampers, 1GB data valid for seven days and TECNO mobile devices for free.

Season of Surprises is in line with MTN’s practice of giving back to communities and Nigerians as a whole. In previous editions, Nigerians have been surprised with food items, electronic gadgets, home appliances, mobile devices, bus and airfares as well as cash donations.

“We were committed to making Nigerians smile in the special season. It presented a unique opportunity to spread the giving spirit and inspire people to show love to those around them,” Sowho stated.

The telco’s decision to put two spins on the 2021 Season of Surprises campaign got a lot of accolades from industry players.

Unlike previous years where the company goes to different Nigerian cities to surprise their residents, participation was completely digital this year.

Secondly, in an unexpected, yet brilliant, turn of events, the company empowered and enabled its customers to be Santa. Even better, it is at no cost to the customer or recipient of the gifts.

“MTN customers were able to nominate someone special they would love to send a gift to during Christmas on the new myMTN NG app or by dialing *135# and following the prompt at no charge, it was very innovative,” an MTN customer who simply identified himself as Peter said.

Customers who participated in this year’s season of surprises redeemed their gifts through direct phone calls, data and Jumia.

Phone call

Winners of the Phone gifts received a phone call from 180 and was sent to the MTN Shop closest to their preferred location.


Customers who receive the free 1GB Data had it automatically configured to their phone lines.


Customers who received the Jumia voucher code to redeem the curated Festive hamper were asked to visit www.jumia.com.ng, to sign-up or log in.

They selected the item tagged “MTN Y’ello Santa Festive hamper”, added the item to their cart and input their code at the point of payment.

Read also: MTN introduces its first-ever digital season of surprises

The payment was not required for the hampers, the voucher code received from their loved one courtesy of MTN was all that was needed.

Winners of the curated MTN Festive hampers redeemed on the Jumia website did not need to pay a delivery fee for their hampers, as it came with free delivery. The voucher codes are valid for months only, the telco said.

The Y’ello Season of Surprises is one of MTN’s campaigns that customers look forward to yearly, for obvious reasons. It’s a time of exciting giveaways, pop-up events, material and cash gifts. The company embodies the character of Santa and rides on its sleigh (planes, cars and buses, actually) and spreads good cheer across the country, leaving a trail of happy Nigerians on its way.

According to industry players, MTN Season of Surprises is arguably one of the biggest things done by any company during the festive season with the simple aim of thanking and giving back in a massive way to Nigerians.

In the past edition of the campaign, the largest telecom company in Nigeria reached as much as 325,491 customers in one year alone. The numbers have been off the charts.

Reaching ninety locations across the country, from Benin City to Makurdi, Kano to Calabar, Abuja to Uyo, MTN Nigeria, during the physical editions of the surprise project, covered hundreds of shoppers in 50 supermarkets in 2018.

Travelers across the country had bus and air tickets paid for; nine tertiary institutions (Colleges of Education and Polytechnics) and ten public primary schools were visited by the telco and hundreds of people in 50 filling stations were surprised with vouchers.

Some of the neediest Nigerians, including patients in 27 General Hospitals who received gift bags from the staff of the company and residents in three IDP camps got food items and provisions to share with their family and loved ones.

The best part about the exercise has been the fact that all gifts were given at random, with no criteria as to who was surprised, the digital edition is expected to further deepen this part of the surprise initiative.

The company has said it will keep doing this every year – the 2018 run was its fourth, which makes the 2021 edition the seventh by the mobile service operator.

MTN’s journey in Nigeria began in 2001 with a core group of Nigerian investors who provided the seed funding and who have been partners over the years, watching the business grow and thrive. In this 20th year of its operation in Nigeria, in recognition of the part Nigerians have played in the success story of the company in the country, MTN said it is expanding its ownership structure and is inviting Nigerians in every part of the country to join in on the next phase of its journey.

Recall that MTN recently sold 575 million shares in Nigeria to retail investors, the telco giant is allowing individual investors to have a stake in one of the country’s most profitable businesses at an attractive entry price. MTN said it planned to sell 90 percent of the public offer.

The public offer is MTN’s way of broadening its local shareholder base, thus providing the opportunity for as many Nigerians as possible to become shareholders in MTN Nigeria and share in the growth and value which the business creates.

MTN Nigeria’s public offer, which is the first to be delivered digitally in Nigeria, was sold to retail investors at N169 per share. The offer is the first from MTN since the 2019 listing on the Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX).

“This year’s edition was digitized because of the restrictions on physical movement due to COVID-19