WHERE ARE THE NIGERIAN ADS?-Lolu Akinwunmi

Found this interesting article on Facebook, as shared by the veteran Ad guru, Lolu Akinwunmi. Enjoy below:

Time for some house-keeping. I am sure many ads will fail an audience comprehension test. We are now on a trip! Who are we really writing for? Clients or customers?

I see and read so many copy (not “copies” in advertising) that don’t make any sense, offer no comprehension and are not communicating. They are so socially and culturally alien.

I believe I have a bit of experience in this matter, and yet I need to constantly struggle to understand what is being presented these days. Story. Fake accent. Bad English. All. Even the pidgin na yeye.
Agencies and especially clients are now on a trip, not to communicate, but to show the more “sophisticated” campaign, and have something to show off with. I better pass my neighbour.

We have for ever warned that an ad cannot speak above the comprehension level of the audience, otherwise you may just be entertaining and not COMMUNICATING. Indians write for Indians. The British write for their audience. Ditto South Africans. These days I don’t know who we write for.

A senior foreign creative director friend of mine once told me at the ad festival in Cannes that ads from Nigeria cannot win at the festival. He said we try too hard to write like everyone else except Nigerians. He added that no American British, South African, Indian etc., jury will ever award us because they can see we are copying them too strongly and badly. Why award us when they have access to a better-produced original? I couldn’t argue!

Now, can we not remember the huge success of the Zebrudaya Elephant Detergent TVC? IT WOULD HAVE SWEPT AWARDS AT CANNES! So totally Nigerian. So original. Excellent use of language and local nuances. Unbeatable drama! Ohhh! And so hugely successful it caused some panic in Lever Brothers. These days, such an ad would have been killed at scripting level, and submerged under some meaningless marketing jargon. We once produced a great campaign after several weeks of work. The only response we got from the Marketing Manager was, “I am not feeling you guys”! I think they woke me up later at the hospital. I didn’t sleep; I passed out from shock!

Sometimes I wonder whether we are communicating with people or writing marketing exams! Now we even write ads that remind you of American movies 🙄 🙄

And whatever happened to the mantra, KISS (Keep It Short and Simple)? (Or this other version that evolved following some frustration: Keep It Simple, Stupid)!

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