Content Marketing, Creativity, Social Media Marketing

A letter to Dear Satan. Wait, a letter to who?!

You meant to send a “thank you” letter to Santa for the cheer he brings to kids but due to a typo send it to Satan. That’s right, to Lucifer. The Adversary.

No one could have predicted what happened next. Satan begins to develop warm feelings.

I say not a chance in hell!

Anomaly London created that dark humour in their latest Christmas video below.

Merry Christmas, people!

And do I need to remind you never to accept a gift from Satan?

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Brand Identity, Branding, Creativity

Enough of the ‘beautiful logo’ Kool Aid

For someone who makes a living making people buy what they may or may not need, I’ve suddenly began to regard many branding wisdom with a dubious eye. We have perhaps been drinking too much ‘branding’ Kool Aid to the detriment of our sugar levels. Fallen victim to the Bullshit Asymmetry Principle: “the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”

I didn’t come up with that law by the way. Alberto Brandolini did. PowerPoint presentations prove the veracity of that law.

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Branding, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Sponsorship

How to choose the right sponsorship and own it.

The Super Eagles have qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia (Whoop, Whoop!) Already, the Nigeria Football Federation has four major partners: Aiteo, TGI Group, PayPorte.com and Zenith Bank.

TGI Group (owners of Chi Limited/Hollandia) will be the ‘Official Food Partner’ of the NFF, PayPorte is ‘Official Online Store Partner’ (exclusive e-commerce retailer of Super Eagles jerseys) and Zenith Bank is ‘Building and Youth Development Partner.’ Aiteo pays the salaries of the national team coaches and is main sponsor of the Aiteo Cup and CAF Awards.

But how does sponsorship help a brand’s agenda? How does a brand team select who to partner with and derive value from the sponsorship?

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Uncategorized

What? Marijuana is now child’s play?

carribean360.com

I never quite enjoyed marijuana. It made me appear smarter than I really was. Which was odd because marijuana was supposed to dull the senses. But how else could I have understood e=mc2 or known who killed John F Kennedy?

Definitely ganja. 

I know the Good Book says in all thy getting, get understanding. But once you start accepting the logic of square circles, you are on very dangerous grounds, my friend. Luckily, the other part of me –  the part that abhors walking naked and collecting trash – had a more strident voice. A voice emboldened by years of chaste parenting and institutional morality. So, I didn’t quite take to marijuana.   

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Branding, Craft

To everyone honing ingot into Excalibur.

Not every brand has a story to tell. A story that is meaningful. That is powerful. That stirs something in us.

A story is hardly another word for advertising, op-ed, a post or ‘content.’ A story is more timeless. More enduring. It transcends the medium.

When our grandma tells us stories, the stories capture our imagination. Inspire us. Or expound a value. Sometimes they just entertain us. But what the stories never do is leave us disinterested.

That is why storytelling involves craft. Craft just as important as the story to be told.

That is why understanding the audience is important. Why she gauges our mood first. Why she always seems to know the stories to tell.

It’s also why she never uses big words.

That’s why not everyone can be a great storyteller.

Motivational speakers tell us we can be anything we want. I disagree. I’ve tried to be Bruce Wayne. But The Joker couldn’t stop laughing. I can’t ride a bicycle to get away from a snail. Some things are just gifts.

Sure, rough gift or talent can be honed. But there must first be the gift.

Maybe if every brand looked deeply, they could find a story to tell. But then, they’ll need a storyteller to spot it and tell it.

Here’s to all masters of their craft. To everyone up all night honing ingot into Excalibur.

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Advertising, Consumer Insight, Reputation

Lay off Dove! Some women want lighter skin.

Courtesy: photobucket

In case you just crawled out from under a rock, Dove’s done another clanger. It ran an ad on Facebook where a black woman removes her brown tees ( an allusion to skin colour?) to transform into a white woman. The interpretation by many is that the ad depicts white skin as being superior to dark skin. Dove has been accused of being tone deaf and the ad racist.

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Uncategorized

Robert Mugabe and Donald Trump. My two favourite personal brands.

Not so many folks like President Mugabe and President Trump. Not me. I’m their biggest fan. I’d give anything to be in the presence of their awesomeness. 

I like the two for different reasons though. For President Trump, I like that the office of POTUS hasn’t sobered him up.  After all, he was Donald John Trump first before he became President Trump. Man is determined to be Donald John Trump with or without Air Force One.

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Consumer Insight, Innovation, Marketing

iPhone 8 and iPhone X. This is exactly why 1984 is still like 1984.

I used to be an iSheep. When Farmer Jobs and Farmer Cook called, I’d bleat eagerly to the stable. I’d give my precious wool for a new patch of grass. But I’m done eating those grass. Done frolicking up and down at the news of shiny new toys from 1 Infinite Loop. 

Don’t get me wrong. I still love Apple. I’ve owned three MacBooks, one iPad and five iPhones. It’d take some meanness to forsake old friends. I’m not the type to walk away without looking back. It’s just that there are more important stuff in my life right now. Like Manchester United and pepperoni pizza. 

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Uncategorized

Shooting Nigerian commercials out of Nigeria. What is true? What is bunkum?

A few months ago, the Minister for Information & Culture announced the government was going to ban the production of Nigerian movies, music videos and reality TV programmes outside the country. Such ban was to help grow the creative industry in Nigeria and to create jobs.

Said the minister:

‘It is Nigerians that pay for the consumption of these products and therefore they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production.’

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Advertising, Creativity, Marketing

What I learnt from being both a client and an agency guy.

Credit: Campaign Asia

Is there something in the water on the ‘client side’? Something that turns good people into ogres? An agency guy crosses over to the client side and then haunts dreams and kills libido. What gives?

I have drunk from the water on both sides and I share my thoughts on why the relationship is often fraught. It might seem I’m taking a piss and desecrating otherwise torturous experiences. That’s the problem these days: everyone is too sensitive. Too little perspective.

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Uncategorized

“The best time to go for broke is when you’re already there.”

Bob Nye/NASA/Donaldson Collection/Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

“Look

If you had one shot

Or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted

In one moment

Would you capture it

Or just let it slip?

Eminem – “Lose Yourself .“ (Soundtrack for “8 Mile.” )

If you haven’t seen Hidden Figures, you should. It is a biopic about African-American female mathematicians working at NASA during the Cold War and its very public expression in the Space Race.

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Uncategorized

Can employees be as fanatical as football fans?

Picture courtesy The New York Time

Courtesy: The New York Times

Can employees be as fanatical of their company as football fans are of their clubs? Be the company’s biggest advocates and cheerleader? I once knew a company whose employees hated the company. The work or the company didn’t fill them with pride. They hid their ID cards when they were in public. You would too if customers often beat you. Some of those customers could knock the Earth out of orbit with their blows.

Right now, most football fans are scouring sports sites for news on which players their clubs are buying next. They watch YouTube videos to see the rumoured players in action. They debate and bicker over prospects in WhatsApp groups.

Myself, I swear by Manchester United. Best football club in the world. Sir Alex should have been Prime Minister. Scholesy. Could have saved America loads of money and located bin Laden with a pass. And that De Gea. He can save a marriage.

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Uncategorized

Managing the Etisalat rebrand thoughtfully.

That Etisalat Nigeria must rebrand is obvious. The UAE’s Etisalat Group has pulled out of the company and written down its value in it to nil. It says Etisalat Nigeria only has a few weeks to use its brand name. Presumably, if Etisalat Nigeria wants to keep using the brand name, it must pay franchising fees. That must be at least a couple of million dollars yearly. We are not aware that this option is on the table though. And if it is, taking it up will be unwise for a business that owes creditors over $680m, the source of its current troubles.

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Artificial Intelligence, The Future

The existential threat of AI. You all quit messing around now!

So, I’ve seen Alien: Covenant. I don’t like horror movies much. What is the logic in paying to scare yourself? I love to laugh more than I love to cry. Besides, living throws enough horrors at you don’t have to pay for it. But some people don’t just get it.

People like scientists. They just love to screw everything up. I was doing just fine in 1352, eating my mango and without a care in the world. Then they showed up with all this knowledge and inventions. Now, I am truly naked without my phone. So what if science took us to the moon? Sex takes you to the stars. And it doesn’t cost $200 billion!

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Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Media

So what the heck is ‘content marketing’/ ‘content writing’ anyways?

When I was at the agency and promoted Creative Director, it meant a lot to me. Why, that was the next best job to putting a man on the moon. Right up there with folks who separate conjoined twins or open skulls. ‘Creative Director’ sounded knowledgeable and sophisticated. Sounded like I knew the secret formula to creating happiness. Of course, these days, just about everyone is now a ‘Creative Director.’ Tailors, carpenters, hair stylists. They should all be thrown in jail for desecrating a hallowed title. What do they know about pain, anguish and fortitude? The ‘Creative Director’ who sew my last attire should have stuck to the brief.

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Uncategorized

The thing about loyalty.

“Look out for the people who look out for you. Loyalty is everything.” – Found Online

I came across a YouTube video in which documentary maker Louis Theroux set out hoping to meet ‘MC Olu Omo.’ MC Olu Omo is the Treasurer of NURTW in Lagos and also the Chairman of the Oshodi chapter. According to popular opinion, he is also the Capofamiglia of ‘Oshland’ (Oshodi). The He-Whom-All-Fears. Goon Potentate-Over-Oshodi.

Brave soul, that Louis. There are some deaths that can’t kill a black man. Like those arising from bravery. Per the late Chinua Achebe: “It is from the compound of a coward that we point to where a brave man used to live.”

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Advertising, Brand Identity

Distinctive brand voice: ‘Honey, I’m home!’ Er, sorry, who are you?

I started out my career as copywriter writing obituaries. And if that wasn’t distressing enough, my parents constantly asked me what it was I did for a living again. Somehow, when they were paying for my education, they had imagined me in a suit and tie, poring over important documents and solving real world problems. They also didn’t imagine me borrowing money from them before the month was over. I tried to make them understand that had nothing to do with the job per se but a result of my lifestyle. But they didn’t know many bankers or accountants who were broke by the tenth day of the month. They loved me of course and would support me in whatever career I chose. But this sign writer or typewriter thing (copywriter, damn it!), well if it made me happy…

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Uncategorized

GTBank Food & Drink. You can’t go wrong with food, can you?

So, on May 1, my household downed tools. The missus would have me know that being a wife and a mother was work. Hard work, as a matter of fact. So in observance of Workers’ Day, she was taking the day off from most wifely duties. She pointed me in the direction of GTBank Food & Drink for the day’s feeding.

Outwardly, I made a fuss about the denial of my spousal culinary benefit. But the truth is, I am an epicure. A foodie. I’m the sort of guy you’ll find following MasterChef Australia and Anthony Bourdain: Paths Unknown. I consider cooking an art, a creative expression. Much like painting. But the good thing about cooking, quite unlike a Rembrandt, is that you can actually eat it.

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Uncategorized

Why approval by consensus never leads to great ideas

I have been involved in a few projects where approvals depended on a motley bunch of people, most of whom had little knowledge of the project, what it entails or what success would look like. It was decision-making by committee. A consensus-oriented process that seldom leads to great work, at least as far as great advertising or marketing goes. One of such projects stood out.

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Brand Names

“Let-My-Enemies-Live-Long Ltd.” How NOT to pick a name for your business.

 

Anybody who has named a child knows that choosing names for your offspring is very serious matter.

When my wife was pregnant with our second daughter, we were struggling coming up with an appropriate name for her. We wanted a name that was uncommon, was Yoruba, acknowledged God, and that would be easy for most of the planet to pronounce. Naturally, as the father and self-professed creative in the union, I had a significant role in coming up with the magical name.

So, I journeyed into the creative ether. After many visits and profound rumination, I had the perfect name:

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Advertising, Consumer Insight

Why a lot of Nigerian advertising sucks

“The most important element in advertising is the truth” – Bill Bernbach. 

For a people with such an interesting culture, beliefs and attitude, it’s disheartening that a lot of our advertising do not mirror our lives and peculiarities. Let me regale you with an experience I had about thirteen years ago.

A chum was getting married in Jos so I flew into ‘J-Town’ with another friend. It was a Yoruba wedding. The ‘Engagement’ was on Friday and the ‘Church Wedding’ the next day. We’d flown in Friday morning. We were part of the groom’s friends to ‘prostrate’ to the family of the bride.

The Engagement was to start at 1 pm. We therefore had a little time to kill. My homeboy and I thought we might have a beer and then get a little sleep. It was going to be a long day. There was still a Bachelor Party to attend in the night.

Foul spirits must have been afoot that day because one bottle inexorably turned into five (Don’t blame us. It was December and chilly and our souls needed comforting).

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Influencer Marketing, Sponsorship

Can ‘Brand Ambassadors’ actually make you buy anything?

I take strong exceptions to people fainting for petty reasons. Fainting is a very serious matter. You faint when a werewolf bears down on you. You faint when Sgt Rogers visits you. You don’t faint because Justin Bieber blew you a kiss. That’s preposterous. There’s a girl somewhere the dude kisses for good. Don’t waste your fainting. Keep it for the crucial. If everyone fainted for every flimsy reason, what’s left to do when you wake up to the company of Hannibal Lecter?

In most of Europe, North America and Asia, celebrities wield enormous star power. They are fawned on, have a cult following and idolised. A celebrity might bomb the wedding picture of some newly- weds and the couple would be over the moon. If WizKid bombs my picture, dude’s going to be paying!

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Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing

Delusional Marketing

We drink a lot of Zobo in marketing and advertising. In the US, Zobo would be Kool-Aid. But they both have the same effect. They encourage a unicorn to believe in itself. Substitute sound reasoning with delusional thinking. We drink them by the gallons in marketing and advertising.

One of my pet peeves in advertising – peddled by some social media and ‘digital marketing’ hucksters – is the ill-founded belief that consumers want to ‘engage’ with a brand or have a ‘relationship’ with a brand. Total baloney. People want to have relationships with other people, not with a bar of soap.

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Awards, Marketing Effectiveness

The 2017 Oscars. The gulf between awards and market performance.

The 2017 Academy Awards once again recalls the gulf between awards and results. Between creativity and market performance. None of the top twenty box office hits of 2016 made the nominations for Best Picture, the most prized Oscar.

Many creatives and advertising agencies see their works through the lens of a Cannes Lion or a D&AD Pencil. They live on Applausia, where every citizen aspires to awards. Problem is, the paymasters – CEOs and CMOs – live on Earth, several million light years from Applausia. On Earth, you are as celebrated as last quarter’s result, not by a bronze image.

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Craft, Creativity

’76 or The Wedding Party. Which is the ‘better’ movie?

We are in the BAFTA and Oscars month! My money is on Casey Affleck winning Actor in A Leading Role for Manchester by The Sea.

When I think about the Oscars, my mind inexorably goes to Nigerian movies. I’m full of optimism though. It’s now clear that if you make a good movie and with the right advertising support, you’ll make money. And when there’s money to be made, quality improves.

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Uncategorized

Nigerian Banks and Product (Un)Truth.

GT Bank is my favourite bank. I use it the most. Not that if Segun Agbaje needed a kidney, I’d give him one of mine. But it’s a bank with a cause. With a value proposition. I’ll tell you two stories.

A couple of years ago, I was in New Zealand, a country with a 12-hour time difference to Nigeria. I went out one afternoon to use my dollar-denominated GT Bank card at an ATM. It didn’t work. Tried it a second time. Zilch. A third time. Nada. Not good. Needed cash badly. And well, it was also embarrassing. I was the only black man within a 50-kilometre radius. A Nigerian. Spending an inordinate amount of time at an ATM.

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Uncategorized

Sleep in the dark. You’ll get used to the monsters.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jack Canfield. 

There’s something decidedly hare-brained about jumping out of a perfectly good plane. A plane, if it isn’t obvious, is not a boat or a car. A plane flies. In the skies. With birds. There’s a reason we’re not birds. But man has never really been blessed with much discernment, have we?

Sky-diving was something I had always wanted to do. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot. You know, fly around the world and blow bad guys up. How I traded such altruistic aspiration for a life in brand management has got to be as mysterious as Po being the Dragon Warrior. Anyway, now that I have settled for a somewhat sedentary career, I thought jumping out of a plane might be the closest thing to feeling the thrill of being a fighter pilot.

But I had to battle a lot of monsters before my jump:

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