Goddie Ofose, Lagos
Nigeria has attained a milestone of 60 as a nation, the milestones according to Bolaji Alausa, Executive Creative Director at Noah’s Ark Communications, has always been an avenue for brands to connect with their audience. By connecting the iconic moment with their brand narrative, they strengthen their bond with the consumer.
Therefore, in Nigeria @ 6o celebration, major brands across the nation have exhibited this strength through creative nuances on all the media channels such as print, electronic and digital.
Notable sectors that have shown greater interest in celebrating Nigeria @ 60 through creative advertising are financial institutions- banks and insurance companies, fast moving consumer goods, telecommunications, PayTV and other related industry.
Leading the pack are FirstBank, GTBank, Fidelity Bank, Polaris Bank, Zenith Bank, Dangote, Nigerian Breweries, Glo, MTN, Airtel, Seven Up companies, Coca-Cola and UBA.
In most of the newspapers on October 1, 2020, these brands took time to express their affinity, love, heritage of the Nigerian brand through creative advertising albeit lamely.
FirstBank featured in almost all the national dailies. Its advert played basically with the nation’s natural endowments. The ad exalted the country rich agricultural endowment, mineral resources, trade and manufacturing and sport. Having lived in Nigeria for 125 years, the bank said, “We have powered the ambitions of our nation 60 years post-independence, we are still here, putting ‘You First’ today and enabling your dreams of tomorrow.”
Fidelity Bank opened with “Here is to 60 years of depending on each other”. A bank that pride itself on faithfulness went ahead to wish the country and its citizens a happy independence with a beautiful reminiscence on the nation’s cultural heritage and people.
Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Dangote and UBA did not stretch their creative skills too much. It looked like they were a bit cautious not to ‘offend’ by staying with the usage of Nigeria at 60 logo and the nation’s flag. While Zenith Bank puts it *966# forward, Access Bank preaches strength from more possibilities.
The UBA creative ad basically said, “We are there in 60, when calls for liberty became a celebration of freedom,” it stated.
The celebration logo was generously used in the UBA ad with the bank signing off with its mantra of unity by saying “We are here today, as the celebration of our independence reminds us of our responsibility to remain united as a nation.
Dangote used the platform to encourage Nigerian to continue to observe the safety protocol against the COVID-19 pandemic. The ad again made use of celebration logo generously with a payoff “let us stay safe as we celebrate our 60th independence anniversary.”
GTBank ad reminds us of the milestones achieved by Nigeria. The only ad that is more creative enough to be referred to as creative advertisement. From the 1999 when the nation returned to democracy to Agbani Darego winning Miss World, the ad reminded us of all the good records we have achieve as a nation.
It is a good piece of historical document that should be recommended to anyone who may have lost touch with the country’s past achievements. Though a bit crowded, this may be due to the limited space but in the end, the bank made it count by signing off with “Here’s to more memories”.
Others that have shown great support to the celebration include 7Up bottling, ALAT, Nigerian Breweries, Cosgrove, Churchgate, Glo, Air Peace, and MTN.
Remarkably, 7up popped up with an inspirational message, “7up and Naija, all the way up”. The brand made use of its green colour in a near perfect nature. The ad reassured Nigerians that there is more to look forward to.
For the telecoms brands, MTN rendered a strong message that resonates with the time. The telecom giant as usual with its creatives, expressed love by using Nigeria’s flag luxuriously with the message top left corner of the paper saying, “Like a DIAMOND, Tough times polish us into a nation shining with greatness.”
MTN ad is a classic work from professionals from an ad agency. The use of less words and gracious use of the nation’s symbol- green white green showed that the brand place emphasis on the celebration rather than the brand.
Airtel ad for the celebration was even more remarkable. The brand chose National Theatre to drive home it celebratory messages. It carefully created a beautiful ambience that led to the iconic structure with years of notable achievements littered the street to the theatre.
Airtel crowned the beautiful work of art with an incisive messaging in caps, “The journey to 60 is one to be thankful for.” It is by all standards a handsome ad and industry experts voted for it as the best.
Speaking on whether ad agencies that created these ads are losing creative steam due to lack of aspirational advertisement, Alausa said, “I wouldn’t say we’re losing our steam. A lot of brands approach this from different perspectives. Some take the simple, informational route; others add a little spice beyond print and even scale online. Traditionally, we see a lot, but a few will always rise to the top of the pile.”
Nigerian advertising creative ecosystem has seen quite a lot in recent times. Most banks create ad in house and rarely engaged advertising agencies. A renowned advertising practitioner who pleaded anonymity said, “The reason you see some of these half-baked creative works are that, these companies particularly, banks and insurance companies do not allow professionals to do these work.”
“We will continue to see this trend as long as these organizations keep creating these ads in-house” he added.
Reacting to exodus of the creative egg heads to client side, the executive creative director of Noah’s Ark Communications, Alausa said, “It’s a small industry; talent is scarce, so naturally turnover will be higher than the average. But I believe governing bodies and even agencies have started taking training more serious. I say no need to panic.”