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Cell Phone Libraries Offer Books To Every Ugandan Home And School

Phone provider MTN Group gave access to a vast selection of literature to anyone with a mobile device.

Kristen Nozell
Kristen Nozell on October 3, 2013. @kristen_n

South Africa-based telecommunications company MTN Group  teamed up with ad agency MetropolitanRepublic Group to increase access to books in Uganda, using just print ads and regular mobile phones, in a campaign called ‘The Everywhere Library.’

Full page print ads in the most popular Ugandan newspapers featured an image of bookshelves, with a unique code on the spine of each book. To access a book, users simply entered this number into any mobile phone, and they would immediately receive the full text of the book on the phone, for free. To enable this instant exchange of data, MTN used USSD (unstructured supplementary service data), which allows a real-time exchange of a sequence of data between a mobile device and the network provider. The campaign ran for four weeks, with a new section of the library added each week, which students could collect and post on any wall.

The campaign won a grand prix for media innovation at the 2013 Loerie Awards in addition to the Loeries Ubuntu, which is awarded to a brand that has a positive social or environmental influence.

MetropolitanRepublic Group – MTN’s Library

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