The Impact of MTN Advertisement on Subscribers in Nigeria

The Impact of MTN Advertisement on Subscribers in Nigeria – A Study Of Uyo Metropolis

For a long time the question has been, what is the actual impact of the Mass Media on audience, institutions, cultural values etc, and over the years, this has been a theory question, spreading across so many disciplines. Debate, discussions and conferences are still on, on the possible and actual impact of the mass media on the various variables highlighted above. As research on the issue deepens, the debate between those who say it has an all powerful effect / unlimited effect and those who say it has a limited effect heightens. The question has given rise to the proliferation of different communication theories. The question also led communication researchers to examine the role of communication.

Meanwhile, many criticize the mass media as being too powerful “The powerful effect theory”, because of the mass media to affect the way people think and do things, people now credit it with the ability to; change attitude and behaviour. This theory dominated the better parts of the 1930s and 1940s. it was based on the thinking that people receive information direct from the media without intermediaries and such information was personal or individual based. Opubor (2002, p.22). As the name implies, the message is likened to the hypodermic syringe content which, when administered to somebody, takes immediate effect. This, the message is not subject to external influences, interpretations. Misrepresentations. (Bittner, 1989, p. 376).

2.2   Impact of Advertisement on Consumers

Mccarthy E. Jerim, (1978), in Okafor (1995, p.207) postulated;

Although a Marketing Manager might prefer to use personal selling exclusively, it can be expensive on a per-contact or per-sale basis. Mass selling is a way around this road block.

Stason (1981, p 414) defined advertising as:

Consisting of all the activities involved in presentation to a group a non personal, oral or visual, openly sponsored message regarding a product, service, or idea. This message called an advertisement is disseminated through one or more media and is paid for by the identified sponsor.

Jefkins (1973, p.23) defined it this way;

Advertising presents the most persuasive possible selling message to the right prospects for the product or service at the lowest possible cost”.

From the foregoing, before any promotional message or information can be called advertising, it must possess the following; – (a) Non-personal outlook (b) Must be through a paid media, and (c) The sponsor of the message must be easily identified (Okafor 2006, p. 208).

Advertisement is the message communicated via advertising. Thus advertisement impact the consumer’s in several ways. Advertisement can persuade prospects and customers to continue purchasing the company’s brand among competiting brands. This is true about MTN’s advertisements. They are very powerful promotional tools which the Group applies in its strategy to keep customers ever loyal and sustain their patronage. No wander, subscribers in Uyo Metropolis speak volume of the impact of the advertisements on their choices or preferences about the network service to patronize.

For instance, Media Communication Process begins with gaining attention of an audience, then proceeds to generation of awareness (cognition) leading to comprehension (understanding) which may generate attitude change that may motivate the audience to action or behaviour.

Okafor (2006, p. 209) supported the above postulation when outlining the role played by advertising. It (advertising) informs potential buyers of availability of a product.

Advertisements impact on the consumers by influencing their attitude towards a particular brand. It motivates consumers to want to purchase the product. Thus, an hitherto unfavorable behaviour or attitude towards the product may change into a positive  inclination towards the product. According to Okafor (2006) Advertising reminds both potential buyers and customers about the continued existence of a particular brand in the market, so that, when it comes to the purchase decision time, the buyer can likely choose the firm’s brand among competiting ones.

In real sense, Mass Media Communication can be beneficial, adverse or neutral depending on the circumstances of the audience or receiver. Every receiver of communication, be it public service, announcement, advertisement, information, policies, news, issues, movies etc, does four major things to the content: Receive it, understand it or not, respond to it or not, accept and behave according to its demand or not. When one receives and understands a message, then the communication is effective, that is, the content is clear to one.

2.3   MTN and Subscribers

        Mobile Telecommunication Network is one of the major telephones in Nigeria. They secured one of the four licenses to operate digital Global System for Mobile Telecommunication Telephony on February 9th, 2001, from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

Following this development, on May 16th, 2001, MTN emerged as the first Telecommunication Company to make a commercial call on its GSM Network. Therefore, the company launched full commercial operation beginning with Lagos. Abuja and Port-Harcourt and Awka Ibom State in August 2001.

The main objectives of the network are to improve its capacity, quality and coverage, introduce alternative transmission capability through self-provisioning, modernize the network and make it more efficient, support and maintain infrastructure, stimulate and support the development and launch of new products and services. Also, changing core infrastructure, replacing 0.8 percent of the monolithic network moving from classic transmission (using microwave of time division multiplexing) to internet protocol fibre-based transmission.

MTN subsists on the core brand values of leadership, integrity, relationship, innovation and a can-do attitude. They pride themselves on their ability to make the impossible possible, connecting people with friends, family and opportunity enriching lives through their products and services. Since commencing business operation ten years ago, they have consistently placed a high quality premium on first class network, excellent customer’s service and value added services which truly enrich subscribers or customers’ lives. Indeed MTN has the most expansive coverage,  spread across 2,394 cities, towns and villages in all the 35 states of the country.

2.4   Impact of MTN Advertisement on Subscribers.

Though MTN has been in the fore-front of Telecommunication Industry in providing services to people in a bid to better their life, however, the question remains; are they the only service provider in Nigeria? No! There are others; Airtel, Globacomm, Starcomm, Etisalat, Zoom, NITEL, etc. an understanding of the impact of these services on the consumers and the choice of network depends on the subscribers. Therefore, the questions of who buys what? Where do they buy? Why do they buy? Of what benefits are the products or services to subscribers? How do they use the products or services? How frequently do hey buy? what are the impressions or comments of subscribers about such products and services? Schultz and Martin (1999, p. 23). The analysis here employs the demographic and psychographic characteristic of subscribers.

2.5   Theoretical Framework

        Since no serious minded work or study can be completed without reference to a theory.

McQuail (1987, .111) defined theory as;

A set of ideas of varying status and origin which may explain or interpret some phenomenon.


Infante et al (1990, p.46) said, “A theory is a tentative explanation of a phenomenon. For the purpose of this study therefore; the researcher has chosen the following theories:

  1. a) Individual differences theory and
  2. b) Social category theory.

Individual Differences Theory:

According to Berelson (1959, p. 140)

Some kinds of communication on some kinds of issues brought to the attention of some kinds of people, under some kinds of conditions have some kind of effects.

Nwosu (2005, p.39) said, the individual differences theory holds that individuals react differently when exposed to some media message thus, the effect the media has on one person, could be different form its effect on another, even if they belong to one social category.

For instance, in a family, everybody may not have the same appreciation for MTN services. The father may have an entirely different line or network from every member of the family who may be MTN subscribers. Other members who patronize MTN may be as a result of the effect of MTN advertisements but because of their individual differences the father may not feel the same way they feel about the services of MTN. In Uyo Metropolis, subscribers’  preference for MTN, GLO or AIRTEL represents their individual differences.

Social Categories Theory

According to Nwosu (2005, p. 38). Social Category Theory, “simply show that social groups etc can influence the effects of media messages on individuals or audience. Precisely, society is completely heterogeneous. This heterogeneity means that there are numerous groups, the religious, social, political, peer, which individuals belong to these groups have their rules, expectations and are made up of other persons with collective belief patterns. A member of a group is wittingly or unwittingly given to belief or attitude generated by the collective resolve of that group”.

Meanwhile, MTN advertisement effect or impact on subscribers could be limited given the fact that individual subscribers belong to social groups whose belief system is binding on them. Thus if the advertisement content is against the belief system of the individual subscribers, their attitude towards the network may be negative.

2.6   Summary

Advertising is a combination of art and science. It involves the effective blending of the behavioral science (Anthropology Sociology, Psychology) with the communication arts (writing, drama, sculpture, graphic, and photography) to motivate, modify or reinforce consumers perceptions, beliefs, attitudes and behavior.

To accomplish this, marketing and advertising practitioners must constantly be aware of consumer’s likes and dislikes, habits, fear, want and desires. As societies change, consumer’s behaviour and advertising techniques changes too because the behaviour characteristics of large groups of people gives the directional force to any advertising aimed at those groups. In short, advertising truest to use the trends in mass consumer behaviour to effect changes in specific consumer behaviour.

The knowledge of the various appeals as effect consumer’s behaviour is very important. First the advertiser must learn about the knowledge of motivator (appeals) to design appropriate messages (media and time)

Consumer reaction is that aspect of human attitude or behaviour that relates to planning purchasing and using economic goods and services.

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