So, it is that time of the year and I was rummaging on the Tesco website for some Christmas feasting ideas. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of eating jollof rice and fried rice at Christmas. The birthday of my Lord and Saviour is too important for such trite fare. Oyinbo people know how to throw a proper Christmas feast. And they are precisely the folks I’ll be looking to for inspiration. So, to ‘Every little helps.’
There are those who swear that the greatest human invention is writing.
That is nonsense.
It is tobacco.
So I believed when I smoked.
I’ve been clean nine years now. But I smoked for seventeen years before quitting. I know that is scarcely deserving of any recognition considering a friend’s grandpa smoked till his nineties. He died on his bed with a big smile on his face and a half-smoked cigarette by his side. He was our hero.
Lust of the eye. Pride of life. Instant gratification. A marketer’s best friend. We love that you have them. We tell you it’s OK to have them. To sate them. After all, you only live once. Humans have had those predispositions since Mrs Adams bit on that fruit. I imagine how the serpent hustled her.
Serpent: Yo sweetness, let me holla at you real quick.
Eve: I don’t know you!
They just had to do it, didn’t they? It’s in their blood, in their essence. To challenge. To inspire. To dare. It’s not a Nike ad if it pull punches.
I’m talking about Nike’s recent ad commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the Just Do It campaign. The ad headlined by Colin Kaepernick. Continue reading
Recently, a few Nigerian advertising agencies won ‘big’ at the African Cristal Festival in Marrakech, Morocco. Nigeria’s Noah’s Ark won ‘Agency of The Year’. X3M Ideas, DDB Lagos and Insight Publicis all had a decent showing too. There have been a lot of congratulations and reportage across the media.
There have also been questions about the prestige and worth of the African Cristal Festival. Some folks have therefore asked me to shed light on this matter, and on the subject of Nigerian advertising at the global stage.
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.
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.
No disrespect to the good chaps at Honeywell, but there was a particular Honeywell Wheat Meal commercial that made me want to slash my wrist every time it came on. Not least because it always seemed to come on when Manchester United was losing.
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…
“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).
When NASA’s space probes hurtle through the Solar System, they take some pretty astonishing pictures. But there is one picture that NASA dare not release. That is because that picture has profound implications for humanity, and is also deeply bruising to the ego of the West.
They have found an Igbo man on Mars.
In a blog post in April 2016, Damon Stapleton recounted a conversation he had with fellow creative blogger Rich Siegel on the frustration of the latter with a client. Rich and his partner had pitched a powerful idea to the client for the Olympics. It involved telling the stories of athletes who come last in their events at the games. You know, those athletes no one remembers. It was the inverse of the norm. Athletes breasting the tape and the media fawning over them. The Phelps. The Bolts. The Froomes and Fraser-Pryces. It was an idea that would force us to reevaluate our concept of winning and winners.
The first time the Guinness ‘Udeme’ TV spot was shown to the Marketing Team in Lagos, not many of the lads were sold on it. It didn’t look like a great ad. It had no drama. It was too poetic, not ‘aspirational,‘ and it was apparently shot for the whole of the African market, not for Nigeria, the biggest Guinness Foreign Extra Stout market on the continent and where we needed help.
There are those who will swear that the greatest human invention is writing.
It is tobacco.
Or so I believed when I used to smoke.