The agency has been named the global strategic communications adviser to the International Marketing Council of South Africa following a six-way pitch.
MS&L's SA office will lead the agency's involvement alongside the ‘Brand South Africa' team, with its London office performing an international hub role.
It is thought the entire brief is worth more than £1m globally per year to the agency.
Stuart Wilson, CEO, MS&L London, said: ‘The brief has a broad remit. It encompasses corporate, trade, investment and consumer work, and will use the 2010 World Cup as a platform to highlight South Africa as a market and brand.'
He added: ‘The recent election of a new government and the build-up to the 2010 World Cup have created a unique platform to profile the country, its economic policies and global competitiveness.'
The account will include a significant level of media relations work, but MS&L will also seek to engage key opinion leaders and stakeholders in business, government and legislative posts across the world. Preparation for Africa's first World Cup has been dogged by negative headlines, questioning whether building projects to upgrade infrastructure and sporting facilities in SA would be completed on time.
However, Wilson insisted that the World Cup story was a positive one that reflected well on the country's economy. He said SA's infrastructure was ‘fantastic' and that FIFA was ‘extremely pleased' with the progress of the development programme.
The agency is also likely to use the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos and a forthcoming session in SA to help boost the country as a brand. MS&L will help the country target ten key global markets: UK, China, India, Brazil, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, the EU and the US.
It will also provide additional support in countries requiring economic, trade and investment profiling. The SA economy is known for its strength in the natural resources sector and the campaign will look to broaden that out to other trade and development opportunities.
‘There is a really strong good news story around South Africa,' said Wilson. ‘It is important that story gets out there and we are excited to work with "Brand South Africa" to give that message to the world.'
How I see it - Alex Sandberg, Chairman, College Hill
South Africa as a nation is young, ambitious and energetic. To have witnessed the extraordinary transformation that has taken place is a privilege. Business in SA is highly professional, second to none on the world stage. The scale and global reach of its major corporations make them very exciting to work with.
Management take communications - both internal and external - very seriously, which makes for great client relationships. Given its location, SA business had to learn fast about communicating with global investors and markets - and management took up the challenge with relish.