Influencer Marketing, Sponsorship, Talent

Only humility Nigerian artistes know is DJ Humility.

 

So, Burna Boy and Wizkid win Grammys and everyone is losing their mind. Not me. It is a tough time in Nigeriana right now. If you lose your mind, whoever finds it may not return it. Finders keepers. Or if your mind has a smidgen of value, you’ll have to ransom it. My mind is all I have. So, I’ll be keeping it very close.  

Young Turks have lost their marbles on the Burna-Wizkid-Grammy win. They are at each other’s throats on whose Grammy is more legit and who is the greater artiste. These bambinos need to get a life. Everyone knows Genevieve is the most talented singer in Nigeria…

Awards and praise-singing fuel the ego of artistes. It’s hard for it not to. You’ve become primus inter pares. A silverback. Earned the right to pound your chest and bare your canine. 

But Kong-sized ego and being prima donna make artistes lose out on lucrative sponsorships.  

When marketing teams make decisions on celebrity endorsers, we consider hard and soft attributes. Hard attributes are things like match with brand image, target consumer appeal, online followership, previous and current endorsements, cost and the like. Soft attributes are issues like reputation, character, and the ease of working with the celebrity. I’ve seen celebrities lose out of brand endorsement deals because of soft attributes. Painfully, these celebrities don’t even know they were being considered for the opportunities. 

Know this: a lot of important decisions about your career happen behind your back. You might not see them, but decision-makers are always watching. 

Most folks think managing artistes is easy and fun work. What heresy! Managing Nigerian artistes can be harder than landing men on the moon. I mean, how hard can it be strapping three men on a 2,800-tonne rocket requiring 203,400 gallons of kerosene and 318,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and traveling at 9,920km/h?  Compared to getting Eedris Abdulkareem and 50 Cents to fly together on the same jet, that’s easy peasy japanesey.  

Marketing teams don’t like artistes/celebrities that are difficult to work with, perceived or real. We don’t want a celebrity that’ll show up at 1 am for a 10 pm performance. Or a celebrity you’d pray and fast for before s/he shows up for a commercial shoot. It’s hard enough fighting Sales and Finance over pricing and SKUs. I don’t need to add some supercilious navel-gazers to my headaches. 

Let me regale you with some episodes. I’ll shield the artistes names to protect their faded reputation. 

When I was at Arik Air, I’d struck a deal with Viacom for the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards. Arik Air would fly Nigerian artistes and celebrities to Johannesburg for the awards. In return Viacom would give Arik Air advertising spots on its network. It was a good deal for both of us. Advertising spots are perishable inventory as are airline seats. Once the plane flies, an empty seat is a lost inventory. Our seat load factor on the LOS-JHB route was about 65-70% at the time. I might as well punt the unused seats for some advertising spots. 

A week to the event, we’d been ferrying MTV-designated personnel and celebrities to Johannesburg. The flight leaves Lagos at 1:30 pm to arrive Jozi at about 7:30 pm. 

On the day of the event, I got a call from a guy who introduced himself as the manager of two of Nigeria’s biggest hip-hop artistes of the time.

One of the artiste came on the phone. In a lordly voice, he introduced himself. He then proceeded to make the most outrageous request. He said they were running late and asked if the flight could be delayed for them! 

Yup. You heard right. We should hold the flight for them.

His Majesty impressed it upon me how important it was for them to be in Johannesburg for the event. 

If it was important for your butts to be in Jozi for the awards, you should have been on time for your flight!

Of course, I didn’t tell them that. I told them I would have loved to help but couldn’t due to protocols beyond the airline’s control. 

The second artiste then came on the line and reiterated the importance of their presence at the awards. Now I was going to lose it! But I managed to keep calm. I told them I would try my best. 

I didn’t. It was a no-brainer. It was not as if they were going to South Africa to fight apartheid. Would they have dared made a similar request of BA, Virgin or South African Airways?   

 But lucky geezers. The flight was delayed. So they made it. They won too.

I called the artistes’ manager to ask if they made it. He asked who I was. I introduced myself. He cut the phone. 

Right. Another one bites the dust from the list of future endorsers. 

Another episode.

Back in the days at Guinness, there was this budding artiste begging for support. He’ll give us his CD to listen and give feedback. We tried to support him as best we could. We’d collar event organisers to get him to perform at our events. Everyone needs a leg up, don’t they? Suffice to say this dude was most humble and beseeching.  

Then, he ‘blew.’ One of his songs became a sensation, gloryfying in internet scams. He was sought for every show. 

What do you know, this dude transformed like Optimus Prime. More like Megatron actually. We couldn’t talk to him. If he saw us at events and we wanted to say hi, he’ll rebuff the attempt. In other instances, he’ll avoid us or pretend he didn’t recognise us. 

Could be he didn’t recognise us in truth. I mean, those fellas smoke more marijuana than the devil has sinners. 

Talking about marijuana, there was this artiste that almost got us thrown out of our hotel in Benin City. 

We had taken him and a host of other artistes to Benin for a big event. We put them in the best hotel in Benin at the time. He was in a suite on the fourth floor with his crew. 

But once you got out of the elevator on his floor, the smell of marijuana wafted out from his suite and pervaded the whole floor. The haze of the igbo was so thick, you needed air traffic control to guide you to his room. That dude smoked more igbo than Fela and Shaba Ranks rolled into one. The din from his room was embarrassing. There were, of course, other guests in the hotel.  

But an artiste like Tu Face was and is marvelous to work with. Meeker than a lamb, that Tu-Baba. Even at short notice, he was accommodating. 

When he was the celebrity endorser for Guinness Extra Smooth, we’d taken him to an event in Enugu at Polo Park. I was in the same hotel with him. He made it a point of duty to come and ‘hail’ me as his ‘chairman.’ 

There was some fine chick I was ‘toasting’ in Enugu. She was hard to get. I managed to convince her to come to the hotel for lunch. 

When she came around, I told her I wanted her to meet someone. I took her to Tu Face’s suite. I knocked. The door opened. I ushered her into the room.

She froze. 

That was when I knew Tu Face was a megastar.

This chick who could talk the hind leg off a donkey just froze at the sight of Tu Face!  

Tu Face was effusive.

“Chai, my oga don bring him mata come greet us O,” he enthused. 

He asked his crew to make way for the chick to seat on the sofa. She looked at me as if she was dreaming. I shrugged smugly. That’s how I roll. 

Let’s just say afterward she didn’t think I was a short black ugly Yoruba boy.

Tu Face is something of a Neanderthal in the music industry now but enjoys immense goodwill and equity. Can’t say that of his contemporaries. 

So, my advice to Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, Zlatan, Naira Marley and all other celebrities; be the celebrity everyone enjoys working with. 

It has a huge payoff. 

Standard
Uncategorized

A parliament of owls? A wake of vultures? English, you beauty!

The last time I thought about collective nouns for animals was last year when my daughter was writing exams into secondary school (high school). She was impressed with my knowledge. Well, that’s what fathers do – know things. 

But my esteem was bruised a few days ago when I was writing a blogpost and needed to use the collective nouns for owls. Turns out the collective noun for owls is – wait for it – a parliament of owls. 

A parliament? 

Like owls voted by their peers to deliberate on avian matters? That’s crazy. Birds don’t vote. Then I made the connection. Owls are supposed to be wise! Parliamentarians are supposed to be owlish. And owls do have a solemn and brooding look about them. Best candidates for feathered parliamentarians. 

They probably do a better job than their human counterpart. 

Anyway, below are collective nouns for animals. Some you know. Many will knock your socks off. 

  1. A shrewdness of apes.
  2. A cete of badgers.
  3. A colony/cloud/camp of bats
  4. A sloth/sleuth of bears (like a private detective bear?)
  5. A swarm of bees.
  6. A gang/obstinacy of buffalo (bullies!)
  7. A caravan of camels. 
  8. A clowder/glaring of cats (what?!)
  9. A destruction of wild cats.
  10. A quiver of cobras.
  11. A bask of crocodiles.
  12. A murder of crows (yea, those ones look ominous). 
  13. A drove of donkeys. 
  14. A convocation of eagles (hope they graduate summa cum laude) 
  15. A parade of elephants. 
  16. A gang/herd of elks
  17. A cast of falcons. 
  18. A business of ferrets. 
  19. A school of fish (how come they aren’t smart)
  20. A stand of flamingos
  21. A skulk/leash of foxes
  22. An army of frogs
  23. A gaggle of geese (Listerine or Colgate?)
  24. A tower of giraffes (but of course!)
  25. A band of gorillas (G-Unit!)
  26. A bloat of hippopotami (perfect!)
  27. A cackle of hyenas ( I have a bone to pick with this one!)
  28. A shadow of jaguars.
  29. A smack of jellyfish.
  30. A troop/mob of kangaroos.
  31. A conspiracy of lemurs ( Never take lemurs into confidence then)
  32. A leap of leopards.
  33. A pride of lions.
  34. A labor of moles
  35. A barrel/troop of monkeys. 
  36. A pack of mules.
  37. A family of otters. 
  38. A team/yoke of oxen. 
  39. A parliament of owls.
  40. A claw of panthers (Wakanda forever!)
  41. A pandemonium of parrots (naturally!)
  42. An ostentation of peacocks (show off!)
  43. A drift/drove of pigs.
  44. A prickle of porcupines (of course!)
  45. A herd of rabbits.
  46. A colony of rats.
  47. An unkindness of ravens (What?They were kind to Elijah!)
  48. A crash of rhinoceroses. 
  49. A shiver of sharks. 
  50. A stench of skunks (expectedly)
  51. A nest of snakes. 
  52. A dray/scurry of squirrels
  53. A fever of stingrays (really?)
  54. A bevy/game of swans (if they are in flight: a wedge).
  55. An ambush/streak of tigers.
  56. A knot of toads. 
  57. A gang/rafter of turkeys.
  58. A bale/nest of turtles. 
  59. A colony/gang/pack of weasels (needed a more cretinous name)
  60. A pod/school/gam of whales.
  61. A pack of wolves. 
  62. A wake of vultures (absolutely brilliant!)
  63. A zeal of zebras. 

Then there are a couple of funny ones:

  1. A scandal of politicians.
  2. A fringe of lunatics.
  3. A gossip of mermaids.
  4. A blessing of unicorns. 

Naturally, those gave me ideas and I started coming up with mine: 

  1. A prostitution of whores/politicians.
  2. A sanctimony of priests.
  3. A merry of drunks.
  4. A vanity of celebrities
  5. A bent of criminals
  6. A mammon of bankers
  7. A scrubs of nurses
  8. A faraday of electricians
  9. An acrimony of side-chicks
  10. A fib of marketers
  11. A pity/shame of beggars.

What crazy collective nouns can you come up with? Rather enjoying this!

Standard
Leadership, Loyalty, Soccer

Loyalty lessons from the Harry Maguire and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer duet.

Manchester Evening News

I apologise in advance that I’m drawing loyalty lessons from football. I know there might be many of you here who do not care for football. I get it. But frankly, I don’t know what you are doing with your life if you don’t love football. It is akin to hating bacon or pepperoni pizza. Your joy can’t be full.

I swear by Manchester United. The club is a special gift to mankind. Back in the days of the hunter-gatherer, life without United was nasty, brutish and short. But the Good Lord saw fit to lighten the sorrows of man and bestow on humanity Manchester United. For your enlightenment, Sirs Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson have had a far greater influence on history than William Wilberforce and Sir Winston Churchill. Sir Winston Churchill won one war. Fergie won a treble. And if Roy Keane had been Prime Minister, Brexit would not have happened. So, it is only fitting that I draw my treatise on loyalty from the admirable folks at Manchester United.

Right.

Harry Maguire is a center-back ( central defender) at Manchester United. He joined Hull City for £2.5 million in 2014. Then he joined Leicester City for £12 million in 2017. In August 2019, he joined Manchester United for £80 million, a world-record fee for a defender. In January 2020, manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer made him club captain.

It’s a fairy tale. The type we pray for in our careers.

The problem is, Harry Maguire can’t lead a colony of ants to a sugar farm or motivate a parliament of owls to stare.

Maguire is spectacularly average. When I compare him to previous club captains like Eric Cantona, Roy Keane or Nemanja Vidic, I want to slit my wrist.

This season, under Maguire’s leadership, Manchester United has conceded 56 goals in all competitions. And Maguire has started in all but one match.

56 goals!

This is Manchester United for Pete’s sake!

I have no doubt that Harry Maguire is a good chap. He may even be a great bloke. Helpful, fun and great to hang out with. He is also a decent defender. He is in no way calamitous.

But he is no £80 million defender. More like a £35 million defender. That’s no fault of Harry though. He didn’t buy himself. The fault lies with Ed Woodward. For a top-rated commercial guy, Ed is worryingly susceptible to daylight mugging.

Most United fans would prefer Bruno Fernandez as captain. He’s a brilliant player. He is influential on the pitch. And he has passion.

But Harry Maguire is Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s ride-or-die partner. Ole is sticking by him as captain despite our displeasure. If he’s fit, he’ll play every match. Even with his public indiscretion in Greece last summer, he still retained the captain’s armband. Maguire will have to boot Ole’s dad in the groin and stab his mother in the eye before Ole strips him of the captain’s band.

That, my friend, is how loyalty plays out.

Loyalty isn’t necessarily about competence. It shakes out in three ways.

One, it is about saving face. If you made a bad hiring decision, you stick to that hire for as long as reasonably possible lest your judgment is questioned. No manager likes his judgment to be questioned. Especially when you’ve committed the business to a huge investment. Doubt about your decision-making will chip away at your respect and eventually, authority.

Two, loyalty is also about protecting a hire you brought in. I mean, you convinced the said employee to leave his current employment. He joined your company because of you. It is only fair that you don’t leave him high and dry when the storm rages.

The third element is chemistry. The hire may not be the most competent but senses what you want. He understands you. And hearkens to your instructions. He may have a different opinion, but he cedes authority and power to you. Doesn’t ruffle your feathers. Doesn’t bristle at your rebuke. Every manager likes that.

Here is a piece of career advice for you. If your new head of department or managing director brings in a hire that is struggling or not competent enough, be on the good side of the boss. Help and support the hire. Because the boss isn’t going to cut that fella. Nope. He is responsible for him. He’ll protect him at all costs for the three aforementioned reasons.

There’s a lot more at stake in loyalty than competence. Emotions play a significant role. People hire friends. They hire who they know and can trust. And there is also ego, authority and pride at stake.

So, best get with the programme. Ole is never going to ditch Harry Maguire. Not as long as he’s the manager at Manchester United.

Don’t fight with the boss’s hire. You may not lose but you’ll never win.

Except you’re Lionel Messi, of course.

Standard
Advertising, Technology

Facebook vs Apple. Nobody likes a voyeur.

Picture this. You are on your bed in your boxers. The mood is right. Barry White’s deep sensuous voice comes up on the HomePod. Telling you this. Telling you that. Or maybe Joe is your thing. Or Ed Sheeran. The room is chilled by the air conditioner. The lights are dimmed. Your bonnie lass is in the bathroom. You can smell her fragrance. She comes into the bedroom in a towel. She drops the towel as she walks towards you. 

Then your eye catches something in the corner of the room. A silhouette. A male figure seated in the armchair with a glass in his hands. You jump up from the bed in panic and switch on the lights. It’s the landlord.

You are shocked and furious. You shout at him to get the hell out of your room. Out of your apartment. He smiles and says no can do. He has the right to be there. You agreed to his presence when you rented the house. It was in the fine prints. But you didn’t bother to read it. Like the last tenant. And the one before him. And the one before that. All tenants really. But if you are adamant he should leave the room, he will. You’ll only have to move out of the apartment and forfeit your rent. It’s in the contract. In the fine prints. 

He pours himself another drink and waits on your decision. He smiles at you the way I imagine a lecher would. 

The story above is, of course, a sordid metaphor. An over-dramatization of Facebook’s tracking activities. But you did grant Facebook a front-row seat to your private life when you installed the app on your phone. You didn’t know you did. But you did. 

So, here is how Facebook tracking works. 

When you use the Facebook app on your iOS or Android device, Facebook tracks what you do on the app. It collects a host of information ranging from device, OS, city, gender, age and many more. But this tracking is not limited to what you do on the Facebook app. Facebook also tracks you across other apps on your phone and websites you visit. It is not content to know what you do on its app; it also needs to know what you do on other apps and on the internet. Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Candy Crush, TikTok, Tinder, Bumble, PornHub. Name it.  

Now, why does Facebook track you across apps and websites? 

Why, to know you better, of course! 

You see, Facebook’s business is selling targeted advertising. That’s how it makes money. It makes some $86 billion annually selling these targeted ads. Targeted ads are personalized advertising delivered to you based on the data companies like Facebook and Google collect about you. They collect these troves of data about you so they can have a good picture of who you are. That picture is important to advertisers and data brokers who need to reach a specified audience. That, after all, is the vaunted advantage of digital media over traditional media.

These gems of personal bits are not all necessarily available on the Facebook app. There are a lot more things you do on your phone than just scroll through Facebook. You read the news. You play games. You window-shop. You buy stuff. You watch YouTube. You take pictures. You live for the ‘gram. By following you across apps and the internet, Facebook is able to piece together all these activities and paint your demographic and psychographic portrait. Ergo, nail you down to your needs and wants. If you’ve been checking out websites on how to emigrate to Canada, don’t be surprised if Facebook serves you ads on emigration services to Saskatchewan.

So, if you are playing with your side chick’s phone and you start seeing Facebook ads for baby food and diapers, congratulations homie! Facebook probably knows something you don’t. 

The depth of information Facebook collects about you may be disconcerting. But all ad-based tech companies track you across apps and websites. Google does it. So do Amazon, Instagram (Facebook Inc), Twitter or Yahoo. If they sell ads, they probably track you. That is the cost you pay for using the apps for free. Like many people, you didn’t read the Facebook privacy policy or terms. Nobody reads those. But that’s where the bodies are buried. Where you consented to be tracked.

So, what is the feud between Facebook and Apple all about? 

Starting with iOS 14.5, Apple will introduce a feature called App Tracking Transparency or ATT. ATT requires users (you) to give permissions to apps before they can track you across apps and websites. 

With ATT, when you launch any app for the first time, you will see a pop-up that informs you that an app wants to track you across platforms. The pop-up will explain what the tracker is and asks whether you want to approve or reject the tracking and sharing of your data. 

Which is awesome for privacy.

One of Apple’s brand promises is privacy. The iPhone is supposed to be iron-clad. So iron-clad that Apple itself claims it cannot unlock an iPhone encrypted by the user. The FBI found that out the hard way. Thus, from a consumer and marketing perspective, offering iPhone users ATT is keeping with a brand promise. It helps deepen loyalty. It is good for business.

But not for Markie’s business. Mark Zuckerberg is outraged about App Tracking Transparency. ATT threatens Facebook’s nest egg. When users opt out of being tracked, it means Facebook’s ability to paint a portrait of the user is affected. There’ll be gaps in the picture. A nose missing. One ear missing. Maybe three teeth lost. That is bad for targeted advertising. Bad for Facebook.

Facebook probably suspects that if users have the choice of turning off tracking, many would. I know I would. I don’t want some bot stalking me all over the internet. What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas. 

So Markie is pissed. So pissed he is calling Apple its biggest competitor. So pissed he is smearing Apple as an enemy of small businesses and the free internet in newspaper ads. He said Apple is using privacy as a justification to disadvantage Facebook. 

Said Markie, “Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own.” 

Tim Cook has never hidden his disdain for Facebook’s business model and flagrant abuse of users’ data. 

“If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform,” said Tim.

Whoa, those are some pretty strong words there, Tim!

However, Apple claims it is not asking Facebook and others not to track across apps and websites. It only requires them to asks permission from users before they do. 

Yea, right. 

That’s like telling a thief to ask for your permission before he steals your car.

You may well ask why Facebook is worried about Apple’s ATT. After all, iOS is only 27% of mobile operating systems. Android rules the gamut. 

Thing is, the bulk of Facebook’s $86 billion annual revenue comes from the US and Canada. iOS accounts for over 61% and 52% respectively of mobile operating systems in those two markets. Crucially, North America also happens to be the region with the highest Average Revenue per User (ARPU) for Facebook per the Statista data below. 

©Statista 2021

So, Facebook’s fight with Apple is a fight over ad revenue in the US and Canada. Europe is not an insignificant second. The rest of ya’ll go eat a donut. 

Is Apple sincere about privacy claims or only manoeuvring for advantage? Time will tell. We’ll be watching its future actions closely. But Facebook’s history of data abuse and measurement untruths may deprive it of sympathetic ears. At least not from iOS users. They’ll be on Apple’s side. We the iSheep.

And many will also remember the fiasco of Cambridge Analytica, US electioneering, and the upcoming data merger between Facebook and WhatsApp. Facebook always seems to be in the news for all the wrong reasons

Social trust is proving to be a thing. 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Our ethnic fault line and the keg of gunpowder.

ERIC LAFFORGUE/ART IN ALL OF US

Ingratiating commentaries are profitable. I’m tempted to get on that gravy train. But sadly, it is not for me. By a cruel hand of fate, it turns out I am allergic to bull. I tend to serve my juice without sweeteners. And as everyone with a sweet tooth knows, juices without sugar taste anemic. Truth is vinegary. Bitter, in fact, in many circles. It is why you never see Alomo Bitters or Kasaprenko in State Houses. Only honeyed speeches to soothe itchy ears. 

But let me state, in case there is somebody out there willing to buy me a house on easy street; I do not detest being rich. I do not mind farting Chanel and sneezing Dior. I consider it not vanity to take my medicines with caviar and ease my gastric upset with lychee.  

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Thin line between prostitution and side-chick.

Right. 

I crawled out from under my rock to hear the ruckus about a newfangled men association. Stingy Men Association of Nigeria. Quite unexpectedly, men have come to their senses and will no longer let their phalluses lead them to ruination. 

Phalluses, by their unique biology, pay no mind to bankruptcy and good sense.  Once in the presence of a nubile female, they demand the master login to the mobile app. Money, after all, is only a means to an end.

Women, of course, are not treating this illiberal fraternity lightly. It’s an affront and a denial of a fundamental woman right.

“How dare men! It is a woman’s right to be feted! It is a woman’s right to help herself to a man’s wallet. In the history of mendom, there has not been a single man in distress. It is always a damsel in distress. Why will men seek to redress the order of nature? But two can play. If the wallets won’t open, then the legs won’t open either. They shouldn’t worry. When a god starts acting out of line, we show it the wood it was carved from. Radarada. Jatijati.”

It’s all chucklesome.  

But let me get this out of the way. Unmarried people shouldn’t be bonking. It is a sin. Abba Father says not to do it. Yoruba people, ever the dramatists, have a frightful name for fornication – panságà. It sounds dastardly. If we can’t scare you with the consequence of the word, we’ll scare you with the sound of it. Pasángà sounds like you killed a hundred infants with a panga machete. 

Besides, sex is more than physical coitus. There is the intertwining of emotions, and dare I say, spirits.  I’d hate to see you bond with Zelda. 

You do remember Zelda, don’t you? From Terrahawks? 

I forgot; you lot are Generation Zilch.  

This is Zelda. 

Now, to you, my married friends engaged in cuckoldry. “Stolen water is sweet”, right? “Food eaten in secret is delicious”, ba? Well, here’s what the Good Book says to you: 

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.”

I didn’t make that up. Crack open Prov 6:27-29 and see for yourself. At any rate, I’m sure you don’t mind someone else bonking your wife or husband. Or do you?

Back to the Stingy Men Association of Nigeria. 

The farcical association is topical because of the prevailing poverty in the land. It has become normative that a boo bears the cost of living of a bae. It’s ridiculous. Dubious justifications are advanced. 

“A girl needs to look good for her guy.” 

“When a girl is happy, she is able to make her man happy too.”

“Providing for your girlfriend is a sign of responsibility.” 

It’s a heavy dollop of codswallop. 

Spare me the porky pie that you sweethearts buy expensive hair to impress the menfolk. No, you don’t. Because we the menfolk can’t tell the difference between a N300K and a N700K hair. You buy the hair to show off to yourselves.

Several years ago, the missus badgered me into buying her Brazilian hair. I didn’t understand the need. She is from Osun State, the ‘State of Virtue.’  Why does she want to naturalize to Brazilian? Is a Brazilian passport visa-free to the US?

Eventually, I bought the hair. It was a small fortune.

The day she made the hair, I didn’t notice. She tossed her head about like a teen so I’ll notice. But I didn’t. I knew she looked pretty but couldn’t place what was different about her.

She got angry and asked me what I thought of her new hair.

Oh, that was it! The hair!

I said ‘nice.’

She only forgave me five years ago.

So, if the girlfriend needs to wear the hair of fifty horses, by all means, do so darling. We only request you buy it with your own money. If you want to ‘glow’ and buy Beyonce-level cream, grow a large posterior, or slay more than David and Gideon, be our guest. All we ask of you is not to insist the expenses are for our spreadsheet. And why on earth would a bloke buy his girlfriend an iPhone 12 when he uses an Infinix? You think it was only Eve that loved Apple? 

Look, I’m not a Scrooge. I believe in gifting. Gifting stokes affection. It’s good for the boo to splurge on the bae now and then. But a dude is a finite being. He can’t be the source of infinite beneficence. The boo should give because he wants to, not because he must. 

Well, except the relationship is between a married dude and a side chick.

In such relationships, the side chick has my blessing to ransack, pillage and plunder the married boyfriend. Fleecing and gouging should come with the territory. After all, it is a waste of sin dating a broke married man. 

I saw that on a t-shirt.    

Any erotic relationship premised on ceaseless material and financial provision is faux love. You are paying for the ‘love’. The way you pay a prostitute for her favours. It’s only in movies that prostitutes develop genuine affection for their patrons. 

Most married-men-and-side-chick affairs are no more than prostitution by a more benign name. Or why is a single girl dating a married bloke? Because there are no wonderful single guys around? Because of true love’s kiss? Greed and lust, ladies and gentlemen, are at the heart of it. Those are not traits that will make Pete open the Pearly Gates to you.

Anyway, here’s a good joke for you: if you’re over 30 and still dating another woman’s man, you are a side hen, not a side chick!   

   

Standard
Brand Identity, Branding, Marketing

Logos are never heroes.

So, Burger King changed its logo. Out with the new, in with the old. The new logo had a retro feel that is becoming the new order in recent brand identity revamps. 

As marketers are won’t to do, we have been engaged in arcane semiotics about logo revamps like a coven of philosophical witches. 

At the risk of being considered a Luddite – which I am not – I have to say I like the new BK logo better. Not because it is an awesome logo design but because it more clearly reminds me of what the company does. Burgers. The Whooper. 

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Ladies, cats are not witches. Witches like blood not milk!

Nisian Hughes/Getty Images

Man, I like cats. 

Not terrifying and petrifying felines like Mufasa or Shere Khan. But cats like Garfield and Puss In Boots. Cute, sneaky, disloyal and manipulative beauties. I’m particularly drawn to black furry cats. I like the outcast and maligned.  

Why do I like cats? Cats live life on their own terms. They know they don’t have nine lives so don’t waste their time trying to please you. You are the one who wanted a pet, not them. 

Also, cats don’t care about titles. Dogs can continue to be ‘Man’s Best Friend’. Cats don’t give a hoot. They understand that titles come with responsibilities. Responsibilities are for humans. So, you are not going to trick them into it with some title. They might chase down a mouse. But understand that it is because they want to do it and not because you expect them to. Back in the day, in the village, my grandma had three cats who never chase mice. These beauties just love to eat fufu and efo-riro and chill. 

Can’t blame them. Egbado (Yewa) people make the best fufu in the galaxy. And my grandma’s efo-riro could make Netanyahu kiss Hassan Rouhani.     

But I don’t have a cat. That is because I love to have a wife more than I love being divorced. My wife hates cats. For her, you can’t trust cats. Cats are gossips. They listen to your deepest secrets and spill them to the neighbours. And they are agents of witches and wizards. They expose your home to fiendish influences. 

It’s all baloney, of course. Cats are no more capable of witchery than cockroaches are capable of holiness. But arguing that with cat haters is like arguing the merits of sobriety with a tippler. 

We have a small white wolf in our home. Spin doctors call it a dog – an American Eskimo. But I didn’t start eating bony fish yesterday. It is a wolf. Only it is smaller and cutesy. Wanders from room to room. It’s pampered like William and takes a piss like Harry. My wife and daughters dote on this canine. They feed it before they feed me. Cuddle it more than they cuddle me. He enjoys the attention and then sneers at me.  

I am going to poison the mutt one day.

Do you old geezers remember the horror movie, Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell? A German Shepherd bred by Satanists. The dog grew up to colossal devilry. Killed the maid in a fire. Possessed the minds of its owner. In the last scene, the frightful demon in the dog came out to perish the soul of the ‘actor’. The symbol of a crucifix seared onto the man’s palm saved the man. Dog bursts into flame and is imprisoned in hell for 1,000 years. That movie spooked me into my early teens. 

The title of the movie is instructive. It was Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell, not Devil Cat: The Feline of Hell.

Anyway, I outgrew my fear of dogs. I realise that devil-dog movie was all phoney-baloney. Now, I love dogs. I am going to get me a big hairy doggo soon. Probably a Leonberger or a Giant Schnauzer. If only to scare the bejesus out of the frisky wolf in my house. 

See how easy it is for people to change? I went from dog-indifferent to dog-liker. So, why can’t people outgrow their abhorrence of cats? What does a cat have to do to get some love from Nigerian women? Buy them hair? Help them lose belly fat?  

The sad part is the missus has infected my daughters with cat-hate. They started out loving cats. I’d take them to a friend’s house and we’d go with tinned sardines and milk to feed the queen and her kittens. My girls loved feeding the pusses. They gave them names and were always eager to visit. 

Once the missus discovered what we do in said friend’s house, she set about cooking our goose. Of course, it didn’t help that we purloined her sardines and milk for the visits. But as a good Christian wife, she ought to remember that love keeps no records of wrong. But cats make Nigerian women forget the Scriptures. 

Or remember it. 

The missus proceeded to indoctrinate my kids on the vileness of cats. And once a mother abuses a mind, it is tough disabusing it. 

Once at a bar – beer parlour – I came across some despicable fellows who loved to eat cats. 

Eat cats!

Folks, I don’t care what you believe: if you can eat a cat, you can eat a human.

One of these repugnant fellows went ahead to describe how scrumptious a cat was in egusi soup. He particularly relished the paw. The cat’s paws grip the egusi and you pry them open and lick the egusi balls trapped beneath and around the pads. He said it was quite a heavenly experience. 

I stopped going to that beer parlour. 

By the way, do you know how they kill cats for food? They put it in a sack and smash the sack repeatedly against a wall till the cat dies. At other times, they tie off the sack and proceed to batter the poor thing to death. They argue it’s the only safe way to kill a cat. 

Murder most foul. Only Bayern Munich is capable of such wickedness. 

So, what myths and ideologies are holding you back? What are the long-held beliefs you are going to disabuse from your mind in 2021? 

While you ponder on it, check out the two beauties below. A black Maine Coon and a Siamese. Aren’t they gorgeous!

Maine Coon

 

Siamese

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Paternity fraud. What makes a child yours?

 

Your Wife and I. 

Nigerians have the cruelest humour. We banter and satirize like no other. Pity such creativity seldom shows in our advertising. 

In the last couple of days, Twitterverse has been awash with the alleged indiscretion of a bank MD. As expected of senior management, this good sir had spotted promise in a married employee. Since where a man works is also where he ‘chops’, an amorous relationship soon ensued. If we believe the blogosphere, this good sir had even sired two strapping kids from said adulterous relationship. Kids the husband of the unfaithful wife thought were his. Sadly, the good husband has deprived us of his side of the story, having succumbed to a heart attack. 

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked,” said my homeboy Jeremy.

That is Jeremiah to you.

But how Nigeriana seethed! You’d have thought we were a pious lot. Men wielded pitchforks. Women got on their brooms. The MD has blood on his hands. He has coveted Bathsheba and killed her husband. We want his head on a pike. 

I am angry myself. The story rings home. A close friend was in a similar spot several years ago. 

But I have a solemn question: what makes a child yours? 

We’ll get to that in a bit. First the story about my friend.

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Netflix

The Queen’s Gambit. I smoked weed. I didn’t become a genius.

Absolute bee’s knees, The Queen’s Gambit. Fictitious yet compelling. The brilliance of the scripting was you didn’t have to know how to play chess to enjoy the series. It was about chess but not only about chess.
 
Because I played a little chess as an undergraduate, I enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit more. Playing chess made me look smart. And when you looked like a gangster, looking smart helped.
 
The bloke who taught me how to play always rhapsodised about ‘grandmasters’ and ‘gambits.’ He knew more about Bobby Fischer, Capablanca, Karpov and Gary Kasparov than he knew his Fortran. Heck, I knew the Sicilian Defence long before I knew Al Capone.

Continue reading

Standard
Netflix, TV

The Crown. Hold off on your loathing, folks.

Picture shows: Prince Charles (Josh O Connor) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin)

I love movies and the big screen. I don’t mind sequels but don’t have the patience for series. I never saw an episode of Prison Break. Nor know jack about Jack Bauer. Same for House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Empire, Game of Thrones or Money Heist.
Yea, I’m that guy.
 
But two friends persuaded me to watch The Crown. Pleaded. If I enjoy British flicks and visiting good old Inglaterra, I must like The Crown, they argued.
 
Well, true. I do like fish and chips and bad weather. But dare I say some prolonged series about a musty institution was not my cuppa. I decided to give it a try nonetheless. One episode only. If it turns out to be a waste of my time, there’ll be blood and feathers.
 
So, Season 1, Episode 1.
 
Well, Season 4 couldn’t come soon enough!
 
Over several weeks I watched all three seasons. 30 episodes, I think.
 
Revealing.
 
Riveting.
 
Resplendent.
 
The picture is glorious and the attention to detail obsessive. The casting and acting are ridiculously excellent.
 
It was a rollercoaster of emotions. One moment I am at the top of the Hills of Laughter and in the next scene, I’m plunged into the Valley of Despair. I loved the monarchy. Then disrelished them. Then sympathised with them. Then got mad at them again. Then loved them again.
 
Sigh. This is why I do not watch series. My feelings are fragile, easily yoyo-ed.
 
I am not a royal-watcher and hence not knowledgeable about the monarchy. All I know about them was that Diana died, William married Kate and Megan ferreted Harry away. End of. So I found The Crown illuminating.
 
And that is the problem. It is, in large parts, fiction. Critics have accused Netflix of traducing the royals with damning fabricated history. Britain’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, wants Netflix to make clear the series is fiction.
 
“I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact,” he said. “Netflix’s beautifully produced work of fiction should be very clear at the beginning it is just that”.
 
Of course, Netflix has said, no guv’nor, we can’t add a disclaimer to a drama, now, can we?
 
Says them: ” We have always presented The Crown as a drama – and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events.”
 
It’s easy to understand the outrage of monarchists and royal historians. All you have to do is watch Season 4. Chagrin galore. The treatment and disregard of Margaret Thatcher by the royals. The brood’s loathing of Diana. Prince Charle’s serial adulterous relationship with Camilla. Diana’s bulimia. Oh, you’d detest the monarchy I assure you. 
 
Yet it is all fiction. Not until I came across opinion pieces on the show did I realise that.
 
It is reasonable to believe only a few viewers of The Crown know this. That it is “an act of creative imagination” with a “constant push-pull” between fact and fiction, according to creator Peter Morgan.
 
And that shows the huge propagandising power of movies and cinema. The lines between truth and fiction become blurred. China and Russia are always villains. Brazil is all favelas. And Africa is one country and we all look and speak alike. A lie travels around the world in seconds before the truth has laced its boots.
 
What is true, what is fiction?
 
Damn if I’ll be trusting the TV or social media to tell me.
Standard
Advertising

Difference between comparative advertising and advertising puffery.

A couple of weeks back, I wrote a piece on the absence of comparative advertising in Nigeria. You can read the piece here.
 
A debate ensured on a WhatsApp group on the subject. Several people believe brands in Nigeria do in fact run comparative advertising. The advertising below was cited as an example.
Well, intelligent people of WhatsAppville, hear me. Hear me. That is not an example of comparative advertising. Here is why.
 
A comparative ad makes an objective claim against a named or unnamed competitor who is meeting the same need.
 
The operative word here is objective. The claim cannot be subjective or ambiguous. It must be verifiable and testable.
 
For instance, if Ariel runs an ad that claims 20g of its detergent washes 50 white shirts cleaner than 50g of Sunlight would, that would be comparative advertising. The ad mentions a competitor and makes an empirically verifiable claim.
 
Or if Honda claims that its 2.0L 4-cylinder Accord is 25% more fuel-efficient than Toyota’s 2.0L 4-cylinder Camry. That would also be comparative advertising.
 
False advertising occurs when a false or misleading statement is used to promote a product.
 
This is different from advertising puffery, although a fine line runs through both. Advertising puffery uses ‘puffed up’ or exaggerated language to promote a product. The claim is subjective and a matter of opinion.
 
Study.com defines advertising puffery as advertising or promotional material that makes broad exaggerated or boastful statements about a product or service that are subjective (or a matter of opinion), rather than objective (something that is measurable), and that which no reasonable person would presume to be literally true.
 
In this understanding, puffery does not give any express warranty or guarantee to the consumer.
 
So, when Glo says it is ‘Grand Master of Data’, that is advertising puffery. ‘Grand Master’ in what regard? Speed? Coverage? Market share? Glo doesn’t say. So, no reasonable person is expected to believe that claim. Glo can’t be accused of false advertising because it is merely making a ‘puffed up’ claim.
 
It is the same for the Budweiser advertising above. Budweiser is displaying puffery. No one will literally believe Budweiser is ‘king’ over Heineken. ‘King’ in terms of what? Taste? Sales? Ingredients? The claim in this particular instance is a matter of opinion.
 
Enter the perennial Virgin knee-in-the-groin on British Airways. The ad below was from Nigeria. Virgin Atlantic was introducing Upper Class Suite on the Lagos-London route. The defining feature was the length of the bed. It was some few inches longer than the bed in the British Airways First Class cabin on the same route. But saying its bed is 10 inches longer will be unimaginative. So it ran the ‘We are better in bed’ ad. Very Branson.
One of my best instance of advertising puffery is the war of attrition between Mercedes Benz and BMW. Boy, do those two love each other!
 
In the advertising below, Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes Benz was retiring. He says his final goodbyes to employees. He drives home. Then kaboom! A secret side of Dieter is revealed.

So, good people of Nigeria, I hope I have been able to convince you and not confuse you that comparative advertising is different from advertising puffery.
Standard
Advertising, Branding, Creativity

Brittle country. Brittle advertising.

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.’ 

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

#EndSARS. We are all guilty of profiling

What is it about a hairstyle, torn jeans and youth that makes a dude delinquent, a crook or a con?

 I’ll tell you what it is. It is because we distrust people who are different from us. People who don’t dress as we do, talk like we do or incline their ears to our wisdom.

It is not a problem only the Nigerian Police has. It is a problem of the Nigerian society. Sometimes it is subtle. Sometimes it spits in your face and insults your father. I’ll share three personal stories.

Continue reading

Standard
Culture, Faith, Lifestyle

Gen Y, Gen Z and general degeneracy.

“What is called Western Civilization is in an advanced state of decomposition, and another Dark Ages will soon be upon us, if, indeed, it has not already begun. With the Media, especially television, governing all our lives, as they indubitably do, it is easily imaginable that this might happen without our noticing…by accustoming us to the gradual deterioration of our values.” – Malcolm Muggeridge

 

Watch African American stand-up comedy for only a few minutes and you’ll realise it’s not what you watch with kids around. There is no two-minute period without the copious use of expletives. Communication is impossible in that genre without profanity.

Now, I don’t have a brittle spirit. Nor am I pharisaical. I just hate having to explain what ‘coochie’ is to a 10-year-old. I assure you it is no laughing matter. 

Continue reading

Standard
Branding, Faith, Marketing

The iSheep and the heroined grass.

Here I am again thinking about an iPhone. The iPhone 12. I thought I was off that Apple grass. My last iPhone was the 6S. I used it till mid-2018 when I switched to the Samsung S9. Not too shabby, the S9. Good form and function. It’s my only phone at the moment.

But I didn’t switch to the S9 because I love Samsung phones. I switched because I was trying to prove to myself that I can stop being an iSheep.

Sometime in early 2017, I told myself I was capable of not lapping up every grass from the Apple stable. Why? Because an apple screwed up the universe, that’s why. We would still be in Eden kissing king cobras and swimming backstrokes with crocs if not for an apple. But here I am again thinking of inviting Apple to have another rummage in my pockets.

Continue reading

Standard
Advertising, Consumer Insight

How my wife got me to quit smoking.

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.

Continue reading

Standard
Black Lives Matter, Ethnicity, Racism

George Floyd: African immigrant vs African American perspective on racism in America.

Paul Childs | Reuters

Derek Chauvin is likely the most popular cop in the world. He will consider himself unlucky. He was not the first white cop to kill an unarmed black man. Yet his name is the one on everyone’s lips. The reason why the country is ablaze. He will curse Gregory and Travis McMichael for killing Ahmaud Arbery. He will swear at Amy Cooper for lying and threatening to call the cops on an innocent black man. He will curse the Corona virus that has everyone strung out and killed more African Americans than any other ethnic group. These four incidences formed a perfect storm that conspired to ruin his life. You could feel some sympathy for the man. No one man deserves to be hated by all the black people in the world.

Continue reading

Standard
Faith, Religion, The Future, Uncategorized

Psst…aliens are here. Attracted by 5G

nypost

“Psst…have you heard? 5G tech caused Covid-19! It’s a ploy by the New World Order to get us chipped. Remember 666? The mark of the beast? That’s the end game!”

 “Psst…the 2004 tsunami was caused by a secret underwater nuclear test by India.  US and Israel scientists were involved.  

“Psst…Diana was killed by the MI6 on instruction of Her Majesty so Diana won’t have an Arab child for Dodi Fayed. Imagine Williams and Harry having an Arab sibling!

“Psst…Malaysia flight MH370 was shot down over the Indian Ocean to prevent top secret information exchanging hands. There was a spy onboard carrying sensitive information.”

How I enjoy a good conspiracy theory!

Continue reading

Standard
Advertising, Branding, Marketing

Brands. Stoking vanity since 1888

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!

Continue reading

Standard
Faith, Religion

When your time comes…

 

Oh, for goodness sake, here comes this retard talking about death in January! We’ve just danced, sang and wined into a new year and this Dufus has to remind everyone we’ll check into the wooden Waldorf one day. Idiot! I shall not die but live to testify of the goodness of the Lord!

Well, I can’t help myself, can I? It must be the harmattan. Besides, what type of friend will I be if I don’t remind you that you will expire one day? I hope that day is a thousand years away, when you are full of years, wizened and lost all appetite to curse me.

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Photography, Travel

Memories of New Orleans.

After leaving New York, I visited Atlanta, Houston and Dallas. I have homeboys in those cities and looked forward to some R&R. My base on the trip was Houston. I had planned on visiting the Johnson Space Center in Houston, it being the 50th anniversary of mankind’s visit to the moon. But I was sidetracked by a few Naija owambes. On one instance, we drove four hours to Dallas to attend a wedding. Truth be told, it was nice to eat some Naija food after weeks of oyinbo food. But photography-wise none of those three cities were particularly interesting to me.

Continue reading

Standard
Photography, Travel

Memories of New York.

So, right. To Uncle Sam.

After junketing through Europe, I flitted across the Atlantic to Gotham. The first city on my US jaunt.

Few cities are as iconic as New York. When you think of America, you might actually be thinking about New York. Yellow taxis. Lady Liberty. NYPD. Manhattan. Hustle. The American Dream. But New York is more than iconic places. New York is an attitude.

“Most cities are nouns. New York is a verb” – John F Kennedy

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Travel

My Holocaust jaunt. How it all began.

Sometime in 2018, I watched CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interview Ronen Bergman on his book, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations. In the interview, Bergman talked about how the Mossad, the Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security organ) and AMAN (Israel’s military intelligence) went about aiding perceived enemies of Israel cash in their chips early. Bergman explained that Isreal’s strong hand on its perceived enemies was borne out of centuries of Jewish persecution, the Holocaust and the Talmudic mandate:

“The Talmud says: ‘If someone comes to kill you, rise and kill him first.’ This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA.”

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Travel

My Holocaust jaunt. Amsterdam, I shall be back!

So, let’s talk about Amsterdam.

If you are reading this blogpost, chances are you probably read the earlier post that led to it. However, if you didn’t or haven’t, it might be a good idea to. The link is here.

Amsterdam was the first port of call on my European jaunt. I had never been to the city although I’d flown through Amsterdam Schiphol on several occasions. I’d heard a lot about Amsterdam. Its diversity. The Red Light District and legalised prostitution. Coffee Houses that sell no coffee. The canals. Rijksmuseum. Tulips. The Amsterdam Arena and Ajax football club. The ‘Venice of the North was the stuff of myths. I was therefore looking forward to seeing the city.

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Travel

My Holocaust jaunt. Berlin you beauty!

So, here I am. Berlin. The second city on my European jaunt. The first was Amsterdam. You can read about that here.

It feels ridiculous to wake up at 6:00 am to catch a train when you are on a vacation. But that’s what I needed to do if I was to catch my 7:00 am train to Berlin. On my tight European jaunt, every hour counts. I was going to be in Berlin for only two days. The earlier I hit the road, the more I could pack into a day.

From Amsterdam Centraal, I took the Deutsche Bahn IC to Hannover. There I changed unto the ultra-modern ICE Sprinter train to Berlin Hauptbanhof. Those Sprinter trains were mighty comfortable. And fleet! The whole journey was some minutes shy of seven hours. By far the longest train journey I’d been.

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Travel

My Holocaust jaunt. Imperious Munich.

Guard post at Dachau Concentration Camp.

So Munich was the third city I was visiting on my 9-day, 5-city Holocaust jaunt. You can read about my visit to Berlin here and the visit to Amsterdam here.

My chariot from Berlin to Munich was once again the ultra-fast ICE Sprinter service. Just like the train service from Amsterdam to Berlin, you simply get on the train without a check-in. You get to the train station, locate your train and get on the couch. No one checks your ticket or absence of it. Now, I believe you are not that guy nursing the idea of free travel at the Deutsche Bahn’s expense. I advise you to perish the thought now. At some point during the journey, the conductor will come round to check for tickets. If you are caught without a ticket, the train will be stopped, you’ll be tied on the tracks and then run over.

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Travel

My Holocaust jaunt. Hello Buda and Pest!

So, on to Central Europe. To Budapest.

Just so you know, Hungarians hate it when you refer to Hungary as being in Eastern Europe. They are in C-E-N-T-R-A-L-E-U-R-O-P-E!

My train from Munich to Budapest was the Euronight sleeper train Kalman Imre. It leaves Munich Hbf at 23:00pm to arrive at Budapest Keleti station at about 8:00 am. I’d booked a berth in a 4-bed couchette for a comfy night’s sleep. A pleasant Swiss guy and I turned out to be the only occupants of the cabin. I was hoping on that. I’m in luck!

Continue reading

Standard
Creative Writing, Travel

My Holocaust jaunt. Krakow. Auschwitz-Birkenau.

On to the last leg of my Holocaust jaunt. To Krakow, Poland.

If this is the first post you are reading about my European jaunt, it might be worthwhile to read why I embarked on this 9-day, 5-city tour. You’ll find that here. You may then follow up with accounts of my trips to AmsterdamBerlinMunich and Budapest.

Done with Budapest, I chose to take a bus to Vienna. I would then take a sleeper train from the Wien Hauptbanhof to Krakow.

So, why did I choose to detour via Vienna?

Because I can! Stop asking silly questions!

Continue reading

Standard
Creativity, Innovation

Talent: if you haven’t got it, you haven’t got it.

Maths is a fraud. Centuries of exaltation and glorification are misplaced. Or why has a discipline that underpins all calculations been unable to come up with the formula for success? The equation to be oprah-rich? What’s the use of Chaos Theory, Euler’s Polyhedra Formula or the Fibonacci Sequence if it can’t tell you how to get some moolah into your pocket? We’ve been had by the likes of Archimedes, John Nash and señor Pythagoras. 

Continue reading

Standard
Creativity, Photography

The amazing places passion takes you.

 

Bros for life. Farouk and Ibro.

Howdy good folks! Trust January hasn’t met you in penury.

Oh, I like the sound of that! ‘January and penury.’ “ Save ye for the days to come lest reproach come upon thee like penury in January.” It’s a corny rhyme but I don’t care. It came in the moment, a gift from the Muse. I expect the expression to start making the rounds around pulpits and podiums soon. Remember you heard it first from moi!

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Sweethearts, if you keep your pants on, no one is going to be nicking them.

On my way home yesterday, I was listening to Classic FM. I heard, a rather preposterous report: an epidemic of female underpants theft in Nigeria. Grand theft of what we call pata or p-a-i-n-t in Yoruba.
 
Yup. Female pants are being purloined, shanghaied, abducted and misappropriated all over the land. This making away with underpants are sometimes surreptitious. At other times it is brazen and at gunpoint: “your pant or your life!”

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Signs you may be difficult to work with.

Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the title character in Disney’s “Moana.” Credit: Disney

A while back, a friend who lived outside the country told me he had met someone who knew me and worked with me in some capacity. He told me this chap had remarked about me: “Jide was a brilliant guy. A good person. But he was sometimes difficult to work with.” 

Remember the movie Ghosts of Girlfriends Past? Where the sins of your past douchebaggery come to haunt you? Well, I was nothing like the philandering and Class-A insensate that Mathew McConaughey was in the movie, but still, I knew there were times when my colleagues must have felt like feeding me to a T-Rex.

Maybe to three T-Rexes.

The irony of it was that I wasn’t aware that I was being difficult. I thought I was doing my job. Doing what the job required.

Which is why I’m doing this post. To help someone out there check if they are on their way to the Jerk Hall of Fame or already awarded. Hopefully, it will help you avoid being that guy or babe.

So here are a few pointers. You may be difficult to work with if:

1. You are combustible too often. Anger is an undeniable human emotion. It may even be helpful. But if you explode at your colleagues or anyone too often, whatever the reason, you may be a difficult person to work with.

The dangerous thing about being quick to anger is that it loosens the tongue (or the pen) to say things you shouldn’t have said or act in ways you might regret later. Anger is good. But wrath isn’t.

2. Impatient with colleagues. People assimilate information or ‘get it’ at different rates. It doesn’t mean they are a doofus. If you think you’re smart or brilliant, I assure you that there is someone smarter and more brilliant than you are in your field or company. I have a hard time understanding Quantum Physics and Astronomy, which I’m interested in. Some guy at NASA may think I’m a dolt but I’d like to sit and hear a presentation from them about making people buy what they really don’t need.

Be patient with people.

3. You think you are indispensable. The feeling of being ‘untouchable’ could lead you into giving subordinates and colleagues a hard time. Please get this into your head: NO ONE is indispensable. Steve Jobs died and Apple became a trillion-dollar company.

Try not to believe you are indispensable. It’ll make you more human and humane to colleagues.

4. People don’t want to come to you. If colleagues don’t want to come to you for help because you are often technically and practically unable to help, that’s understandable. But be wary if they don’t come to you because they think you are a jerk. It is the same if a guy was assigned to you and he weeps and calls his wife to tell her he loves her.

No matter what you may have heard, you need more friends than enemies in your life. Folks whom people tend to gravitate towards tend to be better managers and hence, assume leadership positions quicker and stay there longer.

I’m not saying you should try to please everyone. You can’t. But if you could be a little more pleasant, a little more helpful, a little less arrogant or a little more accessible, please do it.

5. You believe work should be impersonal. One of the Kool-Aid we have drunk and are still drinking is the belief that the workplace should be formal and impersonal.

Bunkum.

Until such a time when Betty the AI or George the Algo are your only workmates, you will have to deal with Chi-Chi the mother of three and Bassey the Pious.

When we believe work should be impersonal, we lose empathy and sensitivity. When people come to work, we don’t know what they may be facing in their personal lives.

There was once a colleague, mother of four, who often came late to work. She was often distracted. It affected her work. The people she worked with were unhappy with her performance. She was put on Performance Improvement Programme, a prelude to being fired if there was no noticeable change in a short period of time.

HR called her in for a chat. She burst into tears and spilt all that was happening in her life. Her husband beats her often. The fella was out of job but needed to show who was still the head of the house. There was little sunshine in her life. When we heard her story, many were remorseful, mea culpa, for the hard time we gave her.

People go through stuff in their lives. Sometimes, really hard stuff. Don’t add to it in the workplace. Before you are tempted to scream at them, be dismissive of them, write them a query or fire them, take a step back to consider maybe there’s something else going on behind the crisp shirt or slim skirt. Be a human. Screw the rule book.

As for me, I have long reformed. I realised that if I wanted to get to the very top, I could not be someone people found difficult to work with.

That and the fear of T-Rex.

Standard
Uncategorized

Pepsi’s ‘Naija All The Way’ spot. How I love a good marketing ambush!

The Pepsi Naija All The Way spot is the shiznit! Check it out below:

Neat, isn’t it? It’s trendy, bouncy and pumps you up. Makes you want to believe in Nigeria again. The spot reminded us of one of the reasons we are Nigerians: bagful of self-belief and swag.

Well, yea, the Naija spirit also sometimes turn into snakes and make away with money, and may even ask bribe from an archangel. But this spot is not about all that. The spot rather reps us in a positive way.  

Continue reading

Standard
Advertising, Creativity

Nigerian advertising at the global stage – not all awards are born equal.

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.

Continue reading

Standard
Sports

In your face, City! In your face!

Ah! What indescribable joy to rain on Manchester City’s party yesterday. The cheek! Fixing to be crowned champions via a derby win. Not on your life, Pep! Even Liverpool dare not be that impudent!

Torturously, City will still win the league. Their third in seven seasons. A galling state of affair. I blame filthy lucre. It’s what happens when you give a Black Hawk to people used to warring with bows and arrows. No more justice in the world.

But there’s only one guv’nor in Manchester and he determines when a party holds. And it wasn’t going to be yesterday. Maybe they can have it against Spurs on 14 April. But there was not going to be any din in Manchester yesterday, except for anguish of broken City hearts.

Yea, that’s how far United has fallen from glory. Rejoicing at beating Man City. How the times have changed. But it is fitting that the only team to beat City this season at the Etihad is, you guessed it, Manchester United. The Manchester United.  

And Paul Labile Pogba! My! I always knew we got that lad cheap. Perfect riposte to all the haters. Gary, you there? You are slowly but surely delegendarizing yourself at United. What was that about Pogba’s hair? Watch it, Gary. Thin line between hate and hate. 

‘Blue half of Manchester’ my foot. There’s only one side in Manchester. And there’s the devil to pay for slights.

Standard
Uncategorized

If there are no free lunches, how come we expect data privacy?

In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, I have thought about how much of my personal data is out there. Data waiting to be harvested by some sick psychologist or ethnographer and deployed to warping my mind. I like to think that I have an iron-clad mind. But at the rate I give in to pepperoni pizza, maybe having an ‘open mind’ is not such a bad thing after all.  

Continue reading

Standard
Awards, Media Relations

The Oscars. What exactly makes a great movie?

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Jimmy Kimmel in his opening monologue at the 90th Academy Awards remarked:

“…and thanks to Guillermo, we will always remember this year as the year men screwed up so badly women started dating fish.” 

He was, of course, referring to Guillermo del Toro and The Shape of Water. Guillermo later won the prestigious achievement in Directing for same movie which also went home with the coveted Best Picture.

Continue reading

Standard
Artificial Intelligence, Technology, The Future

The doggone geekstitute called Boston Dynamics.

There’s only one reason man eats fish. We eat fish because we can. Fishes are dumb and we are smart. We are at the top of the food chain and we take whatever we want.

I therefore don’t take kindly to anyone who tries to rearrange this balance. Boston Dynamics may think it’s a cool company. But I’ll tell you what a cool company does; it doesn’t make robots that can open doors!

Continue reading

Standard
Consumer Insight, Marketing

When Budweiser shows up on this patch…

 

Come June (or thereabouts), beer drinkers in Nigeria will have a new brewski to add to their repertoire:

“This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood Aging produces a taste, a smoothness and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price.”

Yes, “The King of Beers” will be competing with other suds in the land to help tipplers wet their whistles.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

These ‘shithole’ outrage. Please, give me a break!

Aside from his use of an obscene term, I really do not understand the rage on the continent when President Trump referred to our beloved patch as ‘shithole countries.’

Emmanuel Macron yesterday said he shares the outrage of Africans on the disparagement by President Trump.

Oh please!

If by ‘shithole countries’ the man meant countries groaning under the weight of corruption, nepotism, abuse of power and disregard for rule of law, the social contract and the human condition, then he clearly wasn’t talking about the African continent. 

Continue reading

Standard
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?

Standard
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?

Continue reading

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Continue reading

Standard
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.

Continue reading

Standard
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. 

Continue reading

Standard
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.’

Continue reading

Standard
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.

Continue reading

Standard
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.

Continue reading

Standard
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.

Continue reading

Standard