THE IMPENDING DOWNFALL OF NIGERIA ADVERTISING: An immediate end to recognition of Scam Ads.

DISCLAIMER : This is a rant piece sent in by an anonymous writer, and doesn’t in any way reflect the thoughts/opinions of this platform.

The Nigerian Ad industry is presently suffering from a menace, which if not promptly nipped in the bud, will lead to its eventual self-destruct. This ailment unlike any other is self- induced. Everybody in the industry knows it, but nobody has been willing to openly acknowledge this problem, let alone try to fix this.

Maybe, the time is now.

Let’s educate ourselves a little, Scam Ads are advertising materials, solely created for the purpose of winning awards. “A sort of dark underbelly of the industry where agencies and individuals, trying to win awards, submit work that’s never been approved by a client or run more than a couple times.” Scam Ads exist to boost the creative egos of agencies and not necessarily to help solve client’s business needs, which primarily should be the focus of any advertising campaign.

Truth be told, it wasn’t always like this.

There was a time when the industry created Ads that resonated strongly with consumers and were very much still “award worthy”.  A time when Three Orange Men adorned the streets of Lagos and brought smiles to the faces of children, a time when banks brought Elephants to town and made cars run on water. And even recently, a time when a certain Saka “ported” in grand style to the admonition of many.

Truth be told, it wasn’t always like this.

While it has to be said that winning creative awards in itself isn’t a bad thing, if placed as the core criteria of any Ad campaign, therein lies a problem.

Speaking on the topic, Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer, DDB Worldwide, (one of the most awarded creative agencies at Cannes) opined that; “we have to look at what the real recognition should be: adding to the business of your clients and shaping society. That is the goal. Not getting a phony award from advertising people who are awarding themselves.”

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I reiterate, awards are good, having won a couple of individual and collective awards, myself. But the focus, in my opinion, when awarding Creative Ads should be more on how impactful, and locally relevant a campaign is.

That should be the real award.

When did we trade intimate connection with consumers for plaques of Gold, Cristal and Wood? Now, we have new agencies, sprouting up, thinking a fast claim to fame is by creating Scam Ads that have little or no connection whatsoever with the real world, with real consumers. But then, as long as it gets shortlisted for some award show or gets published in some advertising magazine, it’s all good.

No its not.

Surprisingly, even clients are not left out of the hypocrisy. Now, we have clients celebrating Ads they didn’t deem fit to approve and run. Ads they felt won’t “connect” with consumers.  Such pretense.

Even more cynical, perhaps criminal, is when a social cause like the Boko-Haram Menace is exploited for personal agency gains and international awards mentions. Have we sunk so low as an industry to entertain such depravity?

It’s high time we pay critical attention to what we want to award, to say this is the bar we want to achieve and to stick with it. This would help a lot, in averting the looming disaster.

This article was written by Melchior of Persia.   He holds a fancy title, working in one of Nigeria’s most awarded Marketing Communications firm.  

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