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#ThrowbackThursday Was the famous "mama na boy" advert sexist?

The MTN advert was a hit back in the day but will it connect today?

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The famous MTN advert from wayback. Would it have been a hit in 2017? play

The famous MTN advert from wayback. Would it have been a hit in 2017?

(MTN )

Today we are going back to circa 2003 to dust up an old advert by MTN Nigeria.

The telco had been in Nigeria for a few years and was ahead of the pack with its aggressive marketing and catchy TV commercials. One of its standout ads was the famous "mama na boy" commercial.

The commercial starts with a man pacing nervously in front of a labour ward in the hospital. A female doctor comes out and gives the man the good news. His wife has just given birth.

The pensive husband play

The pensive husband

(MTN )

The man is overjoyed. He calls his mum in the village and delivers the famous line "mama na boy!" The mum is elated and she gives the good news to the villagers. She starts singing a folk song and all the villagers come out for a celebration.

The good news play

The good news

(MTN )


It was a pre-woke era back then so not many Nigerians saw anything odd with the commercial. It was just a well-produced advert that resonated with us.

Looking back at the ad in 2017, you might be thinking that it comes off as sexist. Maybe this was the man's first child and his family were simply elated that he is now a father.

Mama in the village receives the good news play

Mama in the village receives the good news

(MTN )


There is also another narrative which is that this was his first male child. In the Nigerian society, the birth of a male child is a cause for huge celebration. The birth of a female doesn't necessarily call for dancing in the village square.

Times have changed indeed. We wonder if this advert would be a hit today?

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