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…
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.
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.
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:
“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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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:
There must be something in the waters at Banana Island. It was just a few weeks ago that I wrote about Airtel Nigeria’s Lost TV spot and how different and refreshing the spot was from previous Airtel commercials, and indeed from category spots. Lost was a marker set down by Airtel against competition, and unwittingly, against itself. The next spot from the company was always going to draw keen attention. Will it match or beat Lost, or will it crash and burn under the weight of high expectation?
I’m a Christmas guy. I love Christmas. It’s my best time of the year. The harmattan. The lights. The carols. “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen…”“Odun lo so pin O, Baba Rere…” The nice hampers. The dodgy hampers. The teeming malls. Bliss. Joy to the world.
If only brands and companies will give us some really warm Christmas ad. We really could do with some cheer in this country right now.
“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn
So, I attended the 2017 LAIF Awards, my old stomping ground. I hadn’t been to one in some time and I thought it’d be great to see what the advertising industry was up to these days. When I was at TBWA, advertising awards were a big part of the network and my life. A strong agency showing at an award helped the agency get on clients’ radars and in consideration for businesses. It also helped us attract great talents, both creative and non-creative. The Omnicom Group, the holding company of BBDO, DDB and TBWA amongst others, had always been big on ‘doing great work.’ That ethos is reflected in the consistent and strong showings of the BBDO, DDB and TBWA networks at Cannes, One Show and D&AD.
I have always felt that Airtel Nigeria TV spots were the least engaging amongst all Telco advertising in Nigeria. For a brand that has consistently been in the Top 6 of marketing spenders in that last five years, I’d say this was rather unflattering.
Well, not any more. It’s new TV advertising, ‘Life Without Data,’ seems to be grabbing all the attention, in contrast to the marooned protagonist in the spot.
Before the LIB hordes brandish pitchforks and light the bonfire, let me remind them that Halloween is past and that there is no just cause to shedding innocent blood. I fully recognise that no man born of woman dare profane the hallowed grounds of lindaikejiblogspot. I wish to assure all the site’s devotees – amongst whom are some very important people in my life – that my instincts for self-preservation are still strong and that I still wish to continue living. My intentions are not dastardly. You may therefore all kill the engines of your broomsticks and stow away your calabashes.
The other day a colleague and I went for lunch at one of the ‘posh’ restaurants in Lagos that catered largely to local palates. I have been to this particular restaurant a couple of times. The food is good, the ambience is nice and the service is OK. But I confess that I’m one who believes that for Nkwobi stay with Mama Ogedi, and for soul-lifting Amala, salvation is only to be found at a buka. I’m a relic, yea, but we were never intended to eat cow leg with a fork and knife. That’s why God gave us fingers. Ten of them.
So, I was reading the papers the other day, and walla, Glo has launched a 4G LTE service (wait, didn’t they launch that stuff in 2011?). I thought that was really great because mobile internet speed in Nigeria waver between ‘damn-it!’ and ‘you-gotta-be-kidding-me!’ So, clearly there is a consumer need there. Any network that meets this need can dip its hands into my pocket.
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.
That’s what they call people with blind loyalty to Apple. Sheep difficult to wean off the grass of Farmer Job and Farmer Cook.
I’ve owned three MacBooks, one iPad, and four iPhones, so I guess I’m one of those sheep. The folks at 1 Infinite Loop have my number. And how they love to dial it!
“Please paint our ceiling for the greater glory of God and as an inspiration and lesson to his people.”
That was the purported brief given by Pope Julius II to Michelangelo for the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
A couple of days ago, I got a call from a recruiter. There was a supposed ‘senior’ role in her company they wanted to fill and my name came up.
Well, it was pleasing that my name came up in respect to something other than bills, allowances and pocket money. I’d always believed that the only people who thought about me were my wife and creditors. These days I can’t tell the difference between the two.
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.
I once witnessed some interesting PR event in Auckland in 2009. I was visiting the office of the top games and software magazines. In the lobby of the company stood two men dressed in white quarantine suits and masks. They carried between them some sinister-looking canister. The canister had a name emblazoned on it, the supposed name of the deadly substance within. The two quarantine expert were waiting to see the editor of the magazine.
So, Manchester United fired Louis Van Gaal, and if we are to believe widespread reports in the media, is set to appoint Jose Mourinho into the Old Trafford dugout.
Louis Van Gaal had it coming though. His stats were damning. 1.29 goals per match (the worst since 1989/90) and a 2015/16 goal-tally of 49 (United’s worst in the Premier League era). These speak volumes for a coach whose team averaged more possession (58.47 per cent) than any other team in the league. United also finished the season on 66 points (their second worst point tally in the Premier League era). He was only usurped to the title of the worst point tally by – guess who – Messers David Moyes/Ryan Giggs, in the 2013/14 season.
So the country woke up one morning and Tee Billz, the husband of Tiwa Savage, was going to end it all and jump off a bridge. Now, what could possibly drive the hitherto gleeful husband of our very own Beyonce to self-slaughter? Well, for one, it turns out that the mother of Tiwa goes about on a broomstick. And two, Tiwa Savage had apparently enjoyed other mattresses, especially ones belonging to Don Jazzy, Dr Sid and Tu Face Idibia.
In all of the land of Vuka, there was no better bespoke tailor than Mr Thimble. He catered only to men and his apparels flattered the appearance of all, tall or stout, portly or willowy. The rich and greying, the nouveau riche and debonair, all journey from as far as the Far Kingdom to Vuka to be measured and fitted in Mr Thimble’s exceptional tailoring. At the annual Vuka Governor’s Ball, it was not uncommon to find the majority of the guests accoutred in the fine raiments of Mr Thimble.
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.
Still bewildering, the Olajumoke Orisaguna make-over. Some girl walks into a photo shoot with loads of bread and she becomes the toast, jam and bacon of everyone. She bombed a photo and no one deemed it necessary to haul her into jail. She bombed something, people! Bombed, devastated, torpedoed, wrecked; cannonaded. Tinie Tempah could have been killed by the aftershock and TY Bello could have been ruined. But what do you have, Olajumoke stars on CNN and in the Huffington Post. So what exactly do you have to do these days to be called a terrorist?
A photobomb is still a bomb. Period.
Now, before pitchforks are brandished and the furnace stoked, pray, give a brother his ‘any last words?’
Let’s be clear. I’m Nigerian. My father met my mother in Ilaro, Ogun State. They fell in love. I happened. Of course, if I’d had a say in where I was to be born, I’d have picked a Hawaiian beach sipping a cold Shirley Temple staring into a beautiful sunset while they cut the umbilical cord. But they didn’t consult me. As parents are wont to do. So I happened in Lagos.
As far as problems-solutions matrices go, I believe that every problem has one solution to neutralise it. A notable anti-problem. Have a vampire and werewolf infestation? Get Van Helsing. Need to live forever? Sip from the Fountain of Youth. Tom slipping into a sedentary existence? Get Jerry.
A roach. A boot. Problem solved.
I’ve had a dream where, in the C-suite, all the important Cs were seated together at one end of a long shiny table, and the CMO, with his pink pocket square, was seated alone at the other end of the table. The CMO smiled uneasily at the other Cs. The smile was not returned. The CEO then brought out a voodoo doll and placed it on the table. The doll had on a pink pocket square too. The COO brought out a set of knives and handed a knife each to the other Cs. The Executive Vice President for Sales asked for and got three knives. The door lock clicks in place. The blinds come down. The CFO smiles balefully at the CMO. The CMO gulps. I wake up.