I remember back in 2013, when my then colleague and I were so thrilled about attending our first Cosmopolitan Magazine event. It was in January, when we all took to Taboo Nightclub in Sandton, for the unveiling of the highly coveted Cosmo’s Sexiest Man 2013, hosted by the gorgeous Lalla Hirayama. The moment we had been waiting for finally arrived, our crush in the famous Cosmo Calendar, Maps Maponyane, was crowned as the fairest of them all. I convinced my friend to ask for a picture, I was obviously too shy to get that close to the stud. Somehow, we ended up with his beautiful mom and brother and got to witness this man, the model, Maps, take picture after picture with his fans, without a single frown. Not once did he make us feel out of place, not once did his supporters feel like he had just won the most important title of his career.Maps soon became the most crucial guest to every PR person, yes it’s that important to brands to have the hottest celebrity of the moment at their launches. I know many have criticised him for attending “every” event, with some referring to him as “MTN – everywhere you go” lol. Brands became obsessed with SA’s golden boy, it didn’t matter which celebrity didn’t show up, it all became about Maps respecting brands enough to honour them with his presence. Brands began to notice, they started paying him an appearance fee to ensure his attendance, they booked him to host their events, and most importantly, they started enlisting him for brand campaigns. The media could not get enough of him, he was on every social page, which soon saw him scoring key career defining covers in the process.
Masego’s visibility strategy may not work for everyone and is certainly not the secret to his success. I attribute the success his brand continues to see to his charm. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean this in a romantic way, but Maps is a charming boy. He is so refreshing to work with in an industry filled with ego and prima donnas, who are on a mission to outdo each other with their outrageous antics. He has showed me nothing but respect, humility and willingness in the times I’ve encountered him. These qualities are essential to the brand teams and agencies that appoint talent for jobs. I’m not surprised that Maps has gotten this far in his career over such a short period of time, having worked on campaigns with the likes of WeChat, Axe, Woolworths, Joop Homme and Sorbet Men.
This year, Maps cemented his position as a leading celebrity brand when he was named an ambassador for Investec’s Private Banking sector. “After working with Maps over a few months, we were very impressed by his professionalism. Although he is young, he exudes warm confidence, ambition and charisma,” Deon Katz, Head Of Banking SA commented on why they selected Maps to represent the prestigious brand.
He was also named one of Samsung SA ambassadors, alongside Olympic swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, celebrity chef Reuben Riffel, Afrikaans singer and actor Bobby van Jaarsveld and former Miss SA Jo-ann Strauss. “I’m proud to be a Samsung Brand Ambassador, because Samsung is all about engineering excellence and style,” said the ‘Tell Me Sweet Something’ actor. As if co-hosting E! Africa’s Live from the Red Carpet was not enough, Maps was recently added to Top Billing’s A-List celebrity hosts, joining the likes of Bonang Matheba and Janez Vermeiren. In addition to being a superb “Buddy”, may Maps continue being the charming guy he’s always been. #Onwards!