Posted in Blog Share, Uncategorized

Evolving Consumer Culture within the Nigerian Market: Mobolaji Caxton -Martins

One of the reasons brand management is a really exciting and dynamic profession is because of the peculiarities associated with the consumer in different cultures. In May 13, 1931, Neil H. McElroy drafted the famous 800 word memo which has come to define modern day brand management. In the memo, McElroy argued that companies should assign a separate marketing team to each individual product brand, as if it were a separate business. This is despite a “house of brands” or “endorsed” brand architecture. The Brand Man memo stated a few things which hinge on succeeding through an understanding of consumer culture;

o  Where Brand Development is heavy and where it is progressing, examine carefully the combination of efforts that seem to be clicking and try to apply it to other territories that are comparable.

o  Study the past promotional and advertising history of the brand, study the territory personally at first hand – both dealers and consumers in order to find out the trouble.

o  After uncovering the weakness, develop a plan that can be applied to this local sore spot. It is necessary, of course, not simply to work out the plan but also to be sure that the amount of money proposed can be expected to produce results at a reasonable cost per case.

While brand marketing has evolved quite a lot over the years, the origin still emphasizes how fundamental “consumer culture” is to successful planning. This brings me to one of my earliest definitions of a brand which says that “a brand is a strategic cultural idea“. Another popular marketing quote says that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. I personally don’t see any brand being successful without a thorough understanding of its consumers and this just begs the question; who exactly is the consumer?

A lot of marketing professionals are probably conversant with the socio-economic classification of A, B, C1, C2, D and E. While this might have been a great learning template to understand the consumer, I believe there should be a more innovative way for insight analysis in these recent times. While business owners are adopting new technology to improve their products and services, we as admen should be developing new tools to understand the consumer. Below is a sample consumer profile;

Vivian is a senior procurement officer in a foreign exploration and petroleum company doing business in Nigeria. She is 39years old and from one of the Niger-Delta states. She is one of two daughters of her parents and her elder sister is married to a politician back in the region. Vivian owns a serviced apartment in 1004 and stays with her bestie Michelle who is an interior decorator with clients in Lagos, Abuja and Port-harcourt. Vivian is unmarried but very much in love with Michelle in a way that society does not approve. She attends one of the famous local churches where the men perm their hair as she has been told that this will be a great place to find a husband. Her friend Michelle is more globally inclined as she was born in Dundee so she really doesn’t care and lives her life the way she deems fit. Some of Vivian’s colleagues suspect that she is dodgy but feel like it’s none of their business. Vivian hardly cooks at home and believes in eating out and getting food delivered from her favorite spots using the upcoming apps. Her experience with the men in church shows that they are only out to get her money so she has given up on that and just wakes up every day to live her life. She hates driving so is frequent user of the popular rider company in Nigeria. She also attends the gym every weekend to keep shape and is a member of a running club. She goes to a members-only lounge sometimes when she’s bored of staying at home. She never misses her holidays which she mostly takes with Michelle and she’s always looking for new places to go each year. She has had a few advances from men at work but they are all married and she knows even if she agrees it would only be for fun.

Vivian’s profile has been cut short for the purpose of this article, however, the point being brought out here is that, understanding Vivian as a consumer isn’t something that can be done via desktop research. A lot of people might not even believe a consumer like Vivian exists. As Neil McElroy said, it is necessary to study the territory at first-hand; both dealers and consumers. The profile above highlights various aspects of Vivian’s life which are touch points for businesses and brands to engage with her. They include but are not limited to her residence, her sexual orientation, her career, her vacation interests, her healthy lifestyle, her preference for social hangouts, religious inclination, etc. All of these are pointers to how a brand could choose to engage Vivian and this has become more psychographic than demographic.

My thoughts are, the best way to understand the consumer brackets that exist today require a lot of innovation. I have found that Nollywood is constantly churning out stories and while some of these could be clearly unintelligent, they do have some societal truth in them. Ad men should adopt a more out of office approach to observe at first-hand the current trends and profile-types that exist. Templates would certainly do no good at this stage. I look forward to products being developed from intelligent insights and trend reports; some sort of research and development if I could say. It is necessary to understand that the consumer is changing every day and right now there are Nigerian consumer brackets that have totally been ignored because people believe they do not exist. Further to this, the strategies being used to address some consumer brackets are inefficient because the insights are only scratching the surface. In the end, this is about producing results at a reasonable cost.

Posted in TABviews

New Lucozade Ad, distracting accents et al…


So, to add some structure to my TVC ratings, I’ve come up with some parameters which I think are quite fair to help rate these ads. Let me know what you guys think, please note that all reviews are purely subjective and based on my opinions. Enjoy below:

Humor /Emotional connect– This ad had a bit of humor, as is evidently seen when the guy is frustrated that brands keep telling him what to do. ‘be smarter’, ‘be cooler’, ‘get smarter’ . His delivery was somewhat funny and almost relatable.


Creativity It definitely showed promises of a well-thought out ad with the magazine flashes, street shots, etc that all told one story and connected at the end.


Icon/Memorable Lead character: The lead character, who looks a lot like Trevor Nelson was quite memorable, but I don’t entirely know if its in a good way.  I think the ad was supposed to be for the Nigerian audience, and clearly the lead actor isn’t Nigerian, so there was a bit of struggle between him trying to sound as Nigerian as possible without losing himself too much. Why didn’t they use a Nigerian actor though? Good delivery though.


Catchy Jingle: N/A


Memorable: On a scale of 1-10, I would rate memorability, a 6.5/10 because there was no jingle to help with recollection etc.


Did you get the general gist of the ad, or were you lost?Yes, all we want as consumers is for brands to appreciate that doing things our way is good too. Instead of  bossing us around, telling us what to do.  So to encourage us, Lucozade is giving us the ‘energy to do us’ . Yes, the message was clear, get the energy to do you with Lucozade!


How often is your product/service reinforced throughout the AdThe brand featured quite a few relevant times in the ad, beginning, middle and end.


Simplicity/ClarityThere was no ambiguity/confusion in any of the scenes, everything started and led to a logical conclusion as simply as possible.


Overall TAB Rating: 7/10

Brand: Lucozade

Tagline: The energy to do you

Source: YouTube 


Did I miss anything out? Please let me know in the comments section below


Posted in TABviews

Issa ‘Natural Fairness’- Nivea’s New Ad

Let’s face it, this ‘lightening cream’ market has caught on and is here to stay! Some may not market their products as obvious ‘whitening’ agents but you’d more often than not see things like, ‘natural fairness’, ‘real complexion’ ‘lighter shade’ etc, did I miss anything out? This ad is no different and alleges that this particular product restores your natural fairness… ehen? Issokay!

Ad opens with the lead character, Omowumi complaining that she had been looking for the right product to restore her natural fairness, Alas! here comes Nivea with its ‘Natural Fairness’ lotion and we see her skin go shades lighter as a result of this lotion… Now, she feels more comfortable because her skin’s natural fairness has been restored. This of course is made obvious by her choice of clothing and a totally random person commenting on how youthful she looks..Lol.

Let me do my work and leave personal care matters to the experts!. As far as the ad is concerned, good cinematography, beautiful actress, adorable child, visible product placement and ingredients. All in all, decent effort. Well done to the team!


TAB Ad Rating: 6.5/10


Posted in TABviews

Brief Q&A on The African Cristal Awards with Taiwo of 7even Interactive

It’s officially awards season, and we caught up with Taiwo briefly on the past African Cristal awards that took place in Marrakech a few weeks ago. Enjoy below:


What does the African Cristal awards mean to you in your own words?

The African Cristal is an avenue to showcase creative work, talent and also measure our creative output with our counterparts from other parts of Africa.

It is an event designed to promote creativity and innovation in the media and advertising industry in Africa.

When did the actual event occur?

It held between 10th -12th May 2017, in Marrakech, Morocco.

Did your agency win anything?

No, we didn’t win anything this time around.

How many countries are involved in this competition?

Entries were received Pan Africa, and even on a regional basis.

Any high or low moments of your trip?

High moment:- Seeing Nigerian Agencies mount the podium to receive awards. Thing of joy to see some of our local works get rewarded.

Low moment:- The wait time at the airport.

How does one get ready for the next awards season?

Keep pushing the creative frontiers by developing innovative and cutting edge creative materials.

Posted in TABviews

Blind Faith ft Cobhams

The first time I watched this ad, I said to myself that obviously there had to be a tie-in with using Cobhams and titling the commercial- ‘Blind faith’, so I watched in anticipation until I saw the tie-in. Not bad, at all! Infact, I smiled. Well done to the creative team behind this entire ad. Apart from the ‘techy’ stuff and graphics, which in my opinion we haven’t really mastered a 100%, I would rate it a high 8/10. It passed the message across, the main character’s voice was clear and succint, and it lowkey taught us that to be great(from wherever you are) all you need is an IDEA, PATIENCE, PERSISTENCE and good internet access. Does this mean it doesn’t have to be MTN internet access? Lol, I kid I kid.

Well done people!


TAB Rating- 8/10

Source: YouTube

Posted in A TAB Original

Let’s Explore Product Placements Some More, Shall We?- PT 1

Product Placement is the purposeful incorporation of a brand into an entertainment vehicle” (Russell & Belch, 2005: 74).  Product placement strategies  are divided into three categories: (1) Visual only: showing products, brands, or logos in the background of television programs or movies but not verbally referencing product messages or including relevant audio  (2) Audio only:  in which characters verbally reference brand names or describe relevant brand information  (3) Combined AudioVisual:which verbally references brand names or product information while brand images appear onscreen.

Further, the impact that a product placement can have to the audience is according to  the appearance of the placement and it can be divided into four different types of appearance: classic placement, corporate placement, evocative placement and stealth placement. 

Classic placement:  This was the first type of placement that had been in existence since the practice of product placement was first derived. In this type of placement the brand appears in the camera’s view and is almost naturally integrated in to the scenario of the movie or TV-show. For example when Will Smith is wearing Converse shoes in the movie I, Robot  or in the movie Forrest Gump  where Tom Hanks drinks about fifteen Dr. Peppers for free during a visit at the White House. A classic placement is easy to put in place in a certain movie or TV-show for a low cost, or sometimes for free when a brand can appear without the advertisers expressed wish. But it can sometimes pass by unnoticed by the audience, particularly if there are a high number of placements in the same movie or TV-show.

Example of a Classic Product Placement 




Gupta and Lord (1998)

Lehu (2007)

Proyas, 2004

Zemeckis, 1994


Posted in TABviews

Did You Wake Up Feeling Good This Morning?

If your answer is YES, then you’re clearly sleeping on a ‘Mouka’ mattress at least that’s what this ad tells us! If your answer is NO, stop dulling and buy yourself one. Lol.

I think the ad is fairly decent, catchy jingle but same old story line..yawn! well maybe the supposedly famous guy singing is a bit ‘original’ but… Anyway enjoy the ad below and let me know your thoughts below


TAB Rating: 6/10 

Posted in TABviews

Let’s Talk About The New Dove Campaign, Clever Advertising or Epic Fail?

Have you guys seen this campaign yet? Thought to share an interesting insight from the research carried out by the Dove team: ‘One in two women feels social media puts pressure on them to look a certain way’- Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report. This is too apt, but conversation for another day.

I have watched it and these are my two cents on it:

  • Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with this campaign or the new product bottles. Dove has been seen to champion women with their messaging and products, so what has changed now?
  • Obviously, this campaign would have stemmed from deep consumer insights from their core target audience. I doubt an international brand like Dove would carelessly put out something that hasn’t gone through rigorous R&D
  • From a communications point of view, I think it is brilliant! It has generated talkability, buzz, and has definitely struck a few nerves. Curiosity I’m sure is top on the list for some consumers, ‘would I feel different when I buy my own bottle shape, would it connect me more to the brand if I have a bottle that is shaped exactly like me’? etc… It definitely got me thinking, and call it vain, but I am going to buy my own bottle shape and save the bottle when it’s done! Lol
  • The entire idea of this campaign is that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, own your LOOK! and be confident in what/who you are
  • We need to stop being extremely sensitive about ‘body-fidence’ issues. I personally don’t like getting into these topics, because,UNNECESSARY and extremely UNNECESSARY. If you’re not happy with how you look, then get yourself the body you would be truly happy and satisfied with.

Remember it’s a limited edition, so hurry and buy your own shape before they are all gone! Lol.

I’d like to hear what you guys think, please leave comments below…xxx

Posted in Blog Share

Professionalism in the Client – Agency Relationship in Nigeria: What’s really wrong?- Mobolaji Caxton-Martins

‘A few weeks ago, I shared an experience I had with a client who had instructed that I modify some aspects of the target audience profile I had used in a communications strategy document because he felt they were against his religious beliefs. My reaction to the client was that his objection was purely sentimental and unprofessional. I asked if he could spare an hour after work and we could go over his objections. During this meet-up, I took him to a lounge on the Island and we went over the entire presentation again, this time it was just a discussion on various points, I explained to him that what he was objecting to was fickle and more importantly very fundamental to the entire strategy which he excitedly approved of. While we discussed these points, I showed him a real example of the target audience profile he was uncomfortable with in a chap who was seated by the bar, I explained to him that the goal was to understand the mindset of this chap and what would make other people with a similar state of mind convert to customers of his product. I was determined to explain the marketing dynamics in a way that he will understand and approve and in this, I succeeded. More so in a way that he had a new found appreciation for marketing communications and the intelligence required to practice. This experience brought up another topic of professionalism in the client-agency relationship in Nigeria and a lot of colleagues had their own views about this.

I agree that this relationship has suffered quite a lot in our market and dare I say that the agencies have come off worse for this. Some people blame the unethical competition between agencies for this, others blame incompetent account managers and brand managers likewise. My thoughts are far reaching on this subject. I’d like to say at this point that I am fortunate enough to have worked on both sides and my experience on both ends have been just as exciting as rewarding. I would highlight a few points here which I think might help create a more efficient relationship.

Specialized Account Managers: In my experience, agencies always claim that they have a dedicated team for their clients but this is hardly the case. This same team is dedicated to at least six other clients across different economic sectors thus affecting the quality of service delivery to all the six clients. There is also no real investment in the agency’s people to understand the business of the client. I do understand that the core prerogative of the agency is in understanding the consumer but most times, it’s difficult to interpret to this consumer if you do not understand the product/service. A bit of innovation needs to be in play here; attend regular business seminars for these sectors, infuse your team with sector-specific specialists who are passionate about communication, subscribe to reports and journals for these sectors, request for a refresher from the client at least bi- annually and in the same vein the agency can do this for the client. This will go a long way in projecting thought leadership by the agency.

Standard billing and SLAs: Agencies bill for everything asides time. I learnt really early in my career that one of the most important things to bill a client for is time. This makes the client respect you and accord you as a professional. While it’s great to pursue retainers to ensure profitability, I must say that retainership also comes with a great deal of responsibility. In the quest for a retainership, every aspect should be detailed in a signed service level agreement. This way, the client doesn’t send a brief and ask you to revert tomorrow. Also in the same vein, the agency need not wait for the client to send a brief when competition has launched a new product, new sector regulations have been introduced or consumer culture has evolved. Agencies need to be proactive in this respect.

Product Development: A lot of clients are guilty of this. I’ve always wondered why it is so difficult to involve the agency in the product creation process so they can provide viable insights about the consumer that these products are being developed for. It could be quite depressing when a product has already been created and then a communications brief is sent to the agency and the messaging has to be forced. Innovation needs to be a tool for utilization here; creating product experiences which truly address / predict a need or are tailored to consumer culture is one of the reasons Steve Jobs will always be remembered as a marketing genius. We should take advantage of these opportunities.

Measurement of ROI: The days are far gone when agencies would only discuss awareness created or show change in perception via some sample group discussions. Marketing spend needs to be justified by ROI and clients need to begin to create accessible channels to their sales network where communication can be analyzed for impact and results otherwise we are all just dancing in the rain. We need to be more intelligent with our communications by providing channels to assess which media apertures created the most impact for which consumer segment. Collecting feedback from our customers, building a community of loyalists with real data, incorporating rewards and motivating referrals. If anything, digital has made all of these easier and we should always strive to create a cycle where offline and online channels are integrated to ensure measurement and trackability of results. ROE should also be something that is measured and reported by the client as success.

These are e a few aspects which I think if worked on by both parties, will help in developing a more efficient, professional and mutually beneficial relationship. Look forward to peer feedback and comments.


Posted in Blog Share

What You Should Be Reading As An Ad Person!

Digiday did us all a favor by taking the initiative to ask top execs in the ad industry what literature we should be reading as Ad people and here’s a list they came up with. You’re welcome!! 🙂

Ogilvy on Advertising” by David Ogilvy

As the title suggests, this is the father of advertising’s book on all things advertising–complete with Ogilvy’s wisdom and real-life examples from his career.

“An obvious choice, sure, and on everyone’s list, but I’m always surprised at the number of people in our business who have never picked it up. If you haven’t read this, you need to, and if you have, it’s probably a good time for a refresher. This is a book that never goes out of style.” –Darryl Ohrt, founder, Mash+Studio, former executive creative director at Carrot Creative

The Copywriter’s Handbook” by Robert W. Bly

Like other essential writing guidebooks, this one offers tips and techniques for different kinds of copy-writing that is persuasive. The latest edition has been updated to include copy-writing for the Internet age.

“You may not be a copywriter. But chances are, you’re often in the position of having to “just come up with a placeholder for now”. And we all know that some clients fall in love with “placeholders” and they make their way to launch. On top of this, imagine your emails and PowerPoint presentations with words that actually helped to sell your ideas. We’re all copywriters. Some are just more experienced than others.” –Ohrt

Milton Glaser: Graphic Design” by Milton Glaser

The man behind the iconic “I ♥ NY” logo, famed graphic designer Milton Glaser shares his knowledge and techniques on graphic design.

“Whether you’re a designer or not, design touches everything that’s great and everything that’s important. The more you know about how things work, the smarter you’ll be.” –Ohrt

Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012, a New York Times bestseller and winner of other awards and accolades, this informative book by Nobel Prize winner and psychologist Daniel Kahneman delves into how the two parts of our minds work.

“This is a fascinating, comprehensive and utterly readable summary of all we know today about the way humans really think and make decisions, which is very different from most of what we assume. It’s an amazing book, with vivid examples and explanations throughout.How could anyone in the ad industry not benefit from better insight into how humans think and decide?” –Emma Cookson, chairman, BBH

Bill Bernbach’s Book” by Bob Levenson

A look at one of DDB’s founders, Bill Bernbach, and his creative approach to and theories on advertising. The book includes detailed looks into campaigns and their histories.

“Despite the fact that DDB was primarily a print agency and print is slowly dying, Bernbach’s brilliance and succinct observations about the power and importance of creative ideas remains incredibly relevant today. Even in light of our data driven world.  In fact, he said this, which continues to make perfect sense: “To keep your ads fresh, you’ve got to keep yourself fresh. Live in the current idiom and you will create in it.” Applies as much to the digital age as to the print age.” –Edward Boches, chief innovation officer, Mullen

Where Good Ideas Come From” by Steven Johnson

Writer Steven Johnson takes and expansive  look at innovation and where inspiration and good ideas come from. Johnson looks back through history, from Darwin to Miles Davis to Google, and takes into account biological, cultural and environmental factors that all contribute to coming up with innovative ideas.

“It has nothing, yet everything, to do with advertising today. Now more than ever we have to work collaboratively with multiple disciplines.  Understanding concepts like the “slow hunch,” or more importantly the importance of collisions and the physical spaces that encourage them can change for the better everything from the brief, to the team to the office layout.” –Boches

Insanely Simple” by Ken Segall

Ken Segall, former creative director at TBWA/Chiat/Day, Apple’s ad agency, takes his unique perspective and experience working with Steve Jobs and Apple to explain how simplicity on all levels of the organization was at the core of Apple’s success.

“We’ve all read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. But Ken’s book offers rich insight to how Jobs made creative decisions. It’s also an explanation of why, despite wishing and trying, most agencies and their clients can never even approximate Apple’s beautiful product design or it’s simple and elegant advertising. It’s not about execution or creative approaches. It’s about a culture that is so deeply understood and adhered to that it logically leads to kind of work we have all studied and admired for years, but failed to replicate ourselves.” –Boches

The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

Entrepreneur and author of the popular blog Startup Lessons Learned, Eric Ries offers his model for successful startups that are lean, agile and creative.

“While most agencies now embrace creating utility, content and value versus just messages, many retain the old processes that drove the making of TV commercials and ads. Learning to invent, to iterate, to fail fast, to pivot are essential to staying relevant and attracting the kind of people who want to make things. Ries’s popular book offers some valuable lessons in working faster, unlearning linear thinking, and letting early users tell you if your idea even works.” –Boches

The Art of War” by Sun Tzu

Over 2,000 years old, this Chinese military treatise by Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, strategist and tactician, is still widely read by students and businessmen today. The book’s 13 chapters examine not only battlefield tactics and military theory, but also related economic, political, and psychological factors.

“Strategy is about the sustainable advantage that you can deploy, and 900-years ago this Samurai Master outlined a timeless framework for winning when life and death is at stake. For agencies and brands that focus too much on the battles versus winning the long war, there are strong lessons here. Not the least of which is that situations change but people largely do not; excel creatively at the former to win with the latter.” –Mark Silva,  CEO, Ryse

Advertising Media Planning” by Jack Z. Sissors and Roger Baron

Jack Z. Sissors was a professor of media planning and strategy at Northwestern University and also worked at Leo Burnett. Roger Baron is senior vp and director of media research at DRAFTFCB. Their book explains the complexities of media planning and provides academic research and best practices to back it up.

“It has been the bible — and college textbook — for over 30 years. This is the book you read if you want to know about media planning.” –David L. Smith, CEO, Mediasmith

From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-Line Dispatches from the Advertising War” by Jerry Della Femina (MY PERSONAL FAV)

Another book from one of advertising’s OG’s, Jerry Della Femina, from the trenches of the industry in its heyday. Full of anecdotes and looks inside campaigns and the life style of ad execs in the 60’s.

“This is a very real and humorous perspective of the advertising industry during the Mad Men era.” — Smith