Imagine walking down a street with just one aim in mind – make it to the bus park before your bus leaves. Then all of a sudden, your peripheral vision catches sight of a speech bubble on the wall, with a bold message saying…GETS TO WHERE THEY LIVE. Conspicuously placed next to the message is an Insecticide. You try to wade it off as a regular ad by an insecticide company trying to sell a product. “Kini big deal…Nothing out of the ordinary,” you say, but then again under closer scrutiny there appears to be a crack in the wall. Suddenly your curiosity kicks in. You move towards the image with the sole purpose of unraveling the mystery of the speech bubble and the crack in the wall…and what do you find? Miniature roaches living the life! The creepy creatures are going about their daily activities like everyday tenement residents. How would you react? Would that ad bring a smile to your face? YES! Would you applaud the brilliant thinking and execution? YES! Would you forget it in a hurry? HELL NO!
I have always been fascinated with the brilliance of Ambient Advertising – ads that appear in unusual places – hidden but meant to be seen, whispers but yells at you all in a bid to captivate the usually uninterested passersby. Ambient Ads are so different from traditional media and they aren’t screaming ‘buy me! buy me!’ but are literally engaging the consumer…Kamasutra style!
It is easily my favourite…no, not K-style…I mean my favourite kind of outdoor advertising- Ambient! It thrives on humour, simplicity, creativity, innovation and engagement. You’d hardly see an ambient ad without letting off a broad smile and possibly an unspoken acknowledgment or admiration of the creative brilliance of the advertiser…I take that back…the Agency.
Unfortunately in a lot of agencies in my part of the world, this unique kind of advertising is yet to gather steam. Most often, it isn’t a case of lack of ideas or budget as ambient advertising can be quite economical. It is oftentimes the dearth of daring clients. (gotta blame C somehow you know) Whilst this train of thought is quite convenient, let me also mention that oftentimes, we lack the capabilities to carry out a damn good execution. You may call this ‘logistical challenges.’ So we seem to stay put in our comfort zones – road shows, events and traditional advertising.
Giving up is not an option. In the words of Elbert Hubbard, “a little more persistence, a little more effort and what seemed like a hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”
Let’s not quit tapping into the immense potential of ambient advertising as we develop our advertising strategy and campaigns. When next you’re thinking of that WOW factor in your campaign, think ambient. If the execution falls into place, Ambient Advertising offers an upper hand compared to traditional outdoor advertising. Its effect on the consumer is anything but transient… You can bet it will always, always leave them the happiest.
Image source: boredpanda.com
If you carried out a dip-stick survey and asked top ad and media agencies in Nigeria who their choicest clients were, you can be certain they would mention clients within the Telecommunications, Financial, FMCG or Oil/Gas industry. With the 2015 elections around the corner, they most likely would add one more client to their list – Political office holders/seekers.
Nigeria has a very free market for broadcasting political messaging. Like their counterparts in other parts of the world, Nigerian politicians have discovered the immeasurable, persuasive power of advertising to influence eligible voters especially, to support their ideas and get their votes. From heavy jingles on television and radio to huge billboards splattered all over the country, ads of various political parties and their aspirants have taken the front burner in the Nigerian Mass Media.
Thanks to CNN’s outright rejection of 2015-related adverts for its overt political messages, a lot of the advertising budget will now be redirected to local media and ad agencies, thereby boosting employment. It is estimated that over N20B would be spent on political campaigns in 2015.
Clinching this sort of account is the way to go. Inspite of its fickle nature and short life expectancy, we hope you tap into the huge windfall from political parties and politicians’ patronage in the coming electioneering campaigns.
Will Agencies take time to screen their prospective clients for the interest of national growth or will they simply key into the largesse? Will the ads actually sway voters? Will the candidates actually fulfill all that they have promised? Will the elections be free and fair? Will the best man win? As valid as these questions are, they would certainly be far from the minds of members of the board when the fiscal year comes to an end. Certainly, more billings and bottom line profit will be top priority. After all, this is business.
With all the hardwork, sleepless nights, money and money’s worth put in to developing a political campaign, we wouldn’t care less if the masses “pless umburella or broom” or whatever other symbol the political parties adopt as part of their identity. We can only hope that as an agency/individual pitching for a political account, the odds be ever in your favour.
Some feel more alive and focused after a cup of espresso, others take a shot of vodka and their brain erupts with ideas from every creative sphere. The ideas rapidly spawn and seem to materialize before their very eyes.
I’m not a big fan of coffee (none of us is…we do bottles…for the pain). So I really can’t testify to its idea-generating powers. Alcohol? oh my!
Whichever form the alcohol takes – a bottle of ice cold brew, a shot of vodka or brandy, a glass of wine; that shit works wonders. (I swear, there is scientific evidence backing this up, google it up, maybe?) You’re making a presentation to a client and the words seem to flow without all ‘em retarded pauses, ums, or ahs. You’re typing 350 WPM without looking at the keyboard. The right hemisphere of your brain literally explodes with creative juice and the somewhat noisy kaleidoscope of colours takes a more organized spectrum…washere, you’re on a roll, mehn. If that isn’t ultimate redefined, I don’t know what is.
Alcohol consumption makes one better at creative problem-solving tasks. If you doubt me, I suggest you carry out a little test in your agency. Split your creative team into two teams – #TeamInebriates and #TeamSober. Let #TeamInebriates take as much alcohol as they want (hopefully, they’ll take it in mild doses). Just assume it’s a TGIF party without the MD. Or better still, get the bloody MD in on it. (Ahmean, it’s controlled scientific research). Allow the other team stay sober.
Now give both teams a brief and tell them to come up with as many ideas as possible within 2hours. I can bet my entire life savings (not sure it amounts to much, I’m just a bloody copywriter) that the team of drinkers will come up with the best ideas.
Here’s what I think:
Alcohol is what you take when you need to come up with award-winning ideas and you have less than an hour to deliver …the kind that gets you twelve promotions in one year. It is my prescription but you might need to figure out what amount to consume yourself. I can’t do that ‘cos I’ve not seen your brief.
Coffee is what you take when you want to stay alert and focused to execute or follow through on your idea(s). It also comes in handy when you don’t want to be caught dozing off on duty, especially on a Monday morning.
Conclusion of the matter is: Take alcohol in the morning, coffee in the afternoon. Or better still, take alcohol to think up awesome ideas then serve your colleagues coffee to get the job done. Both works really 😀
A few other creative gangsters will recommend ‘kana bees sativa’…I hear it works wonders…if by wonders you mean going gaga with crazy ideas that will neither be approved by your Creative Director nor the Client…but again, who needs their approval, right? #daretobedifferent. Some would say it is the ultimate conduit to your creative muse.
Whatever option you choose though, drink responsibly! TGIF!..Monday. My bad.
Nigeria is a nation of resilient people. With all the explosive drama and setbacks in our polity, this could easily go down as the understatement of the year – but we are indeed very resilient. We’ve seen it all, well except the Lions – the prestigious Cannes Lions.
Every year, teams are selected to represent Nigeria in each category of the world’s biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry. And each year, our awesome representatives return home inspired and full of wonderful experiences of their sojourn, but without a ‘cub’.
What exactly is holding us down?
There are various schools of thought on the cause of this dearth of global awards. They range from the perceived high cost of sending an entry, to our clients’ culture of stemming cutting- edge, creative work to the fact that Nigeria is indeed a difficult and unique market with censorship boards that live in another age, to some agencies sheer unwillingness to invest in the growth of their people.
Even though the demons to conquer are plenty and even though we may not have the luxury of working with clients who are bold and daring like our international peers do, truth is, we have the ability and capacity to berth award-winning works at Cannes and make our mark on the global creative map. I know this because we take our jobs seriously and the quality of work developed and sent in at our local award festivals keep getting better.
We will persist. We will continue to fight the creative battle with our clients, and hope they appreciate great work – simple, original and globally relevant enough to compete with the rest of the world at the highly exalted Cannes Festival, because nothing in this world takes the place of persistence.
Congratulations to all the winners of 2014 Cannes Lions Award. Hopefully, next year, our voice will sound stronger and louder and we’ll toast our glasses to the plethora of awards that will be won by Nigerian Creative Agencies.
WE CANNES DO IT.
1. It is shitty…and there’s only so much bullshit one can put up with.
2. We know you are the boss… Ta lo n ba e drag? But you’re trying too hard…and this sucks ‘cos you do nothing at all…literally. Everybody wants a boss who’s not just a supervisor but a mentor that’s always hand-on.
3. You expect us to work our butts off and you pay so freaking little money…what do we look like? Your help?
4. You do not appreciate awesome creative work…you’re so complacent…pretty satisfied with basic, sub-standard work, nothing interesting. Hence no awards – local or international. Who sticks with a loser?
5. You are so full of yourself. You know what they say about empty barrels? You wouldn’t…ask Google maybe?
6. Promises are made in job descriptions and interviews that aren’t kept. What are you? A politician?
7. It’s been 5years since I signed-up under you and my portfolio isn’t worth a crap. Why? Did you just ask me that? Read point 15, schmuck!
8. You keep hiring shit. ‘Hiring the wrong employee wastes time, money and causes unnecessary frustration for everyone, in small words you keep stiring the muck… kinda feels like having a boil up your rear end…’ lose the dead weight already….What part of this do you not understand?
9. You’ve refused to invest in your people. No trainings, no work tools, no nothing…just a bunch of relics you call computers with softwares that can crash for Africa.
10. You have refused to cut us some slack…yeah, we’ve been brainwashed and have chosen to be led like sheep….RULES! RULES! RULES! No one likes rules that make no sense. ‘Submit a daily report of jobs done’, ‘do not re-paint your office to the colours of your choice’…really?
11. You do not take annual performance reviews seriously. They are a sheer waste of time ‘cos the forms all end up forgotten either in the HR’s dusty cupboard or in the waste bin.
12. There’s so much politicking and victimization going on. You absolutely have no idea what a great work environment should look/feel like.
13. Your management style sucks. Hello micro-manager of the decade.
14. You do not value creative talent. You treat them like shit.
15. You never push back or politely tell clients their ideas are shit. You say ‘yes’ to all our client’s dippy suggestions just because you think it’s the easiest way to make money. Shit should recognize shit, the same way real recognizes real…but in your case…you know what…never mind. I’m gone.
I swear down, these reasons are legit. They are valid and you can take them to the bank.
So hey u, owner of an #AdAgency…why not do some honest self-appraisal? Is your Agency all shades of shitty…like literally? Fix it or lose it.
In my proud opinion, Advertising is about the coolest profession ever. It is a unique combination of art, creativity, maths, psychology, marketing, media and CHEMISTRY!
You may beg to differ, but I think Advertising is a youthful business, for people in their 20s, 30s and persons who are young at heart (wanna do a headcount of peepz within that age bracket in your Agency?). With all that zest and passion to do a great job comes lots of on-the-job chemistry.
Truth is, if there’s no chemistry, there are no great ideas.
How about we reiterate what the ideation process is really like? Lots of happy-go-lucky guys and ladies ‘locked’ up in a room, no conference, trying to dissect a brief or themselves, whichever happens first (anything for the client, you know). Without creative collaboration, communication and chemistry, nothing happens. There’s no science or formula to it.
Infact, most Ad. Agencies recognize and encourage this form of bonding when they pair up copywriters and art directors to work on certain projects. There’s something magical about being in a room together, making occasional eye glances and just sitting there and laughing loud together and having a good time together whilst brainstorming on an idea or ideas together.
Creative teams spend more time together than they spend with their respective family members, spouses or partners. During that time, endless hours are spent working on solutions. They are honest with each other…they tell each other when an idea is not working and should be discarded. They try to solve issues and make ideas work. While doing this, bonding occurs, more like a creative marriage especially between an art director and a copywriter. They are like kindred, creative spirits that augment their abilities when they work together.
When an art director and a copywriter really connect over a concept, the feeling is nothing short of orgasmic. Creativity overflows…they lose track of time or even forget to eat. In such a state, the perfect copy spill across the page and the right visuals appear almost as if by some miracle.
Admit it or not, you need to have a credit in “Chemistry” to practice Advertising. It is very critical to idea generation.
But hold on one second, while reading this post, what account manager, art director or copywriter comes to mind? You know, that duo or trio when allowed to team up produce nothing short of awesome work ‘cos of their amazing chemistry? Or do you think this whole chemistry talk is a tad overrated? Pray, tell!
My idea is cooler than yours…
Really? Like showstopper, head-turner and shii, yea?
Hahahahahahaha…I know right?
There really wouldn’t be any problem with the universe if the above conversation began and ended just like that…all hearty laughter, no hurt feelings, no hurtful words. Unfortunately though, Idea Conflict is real…and serious.
Finally we have an issue on our hands that has absolutely nothing to do with the client… (Says who? Is it not while generating ideas for C that people who before then were jolly good friends automatically become enemies? Please.) Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies.
Idea Conflicts occur when ideas, decisions or actions relating directly to the job or a brief are in opposition, or when two people just don’t get along. It is particularly dominant during brainstorms, widely used by Ad. Agencies to generate ideas and solve problems. However, many brainstorming activities are flawed and end up hurting creativity rather than helping spur ideas.
This is especially the case when people have conflicting ideas. Oftentimes, people fixate on the first dominant idea expressed in a brainstorm to the extent that additional ideas are viewed as gibberish. It gets even worse when the person with a different but brilliant idea is a junior person.
Here’s what I think…
People who drown other people’s ideas are all shades of insecure and suffer serious complex issues. Then there is the fear of relegation. So of the brilliant ideas thought up in a brainstorm session, none came from the almighty senior account manager with a pay that’s sinfully high? And you think that your idea will fly? Really? LOL.
But jokes apart, people need to drop their competitive egos.
A conflict of ideas can often be productive, if the parties involved are willing to ‘brainstorm’ solutions together. Studies have shown that critique and conflict can result in better and more imaginative ideas. Conflict of this kind often generates better work practices and initiates positive changes that would otherwise never have occurred.
Instead of critiquing an idea with the mindset of ‘killing’ it, look to clarify and expand upon it in order to generate additional concepts. That’s what great Admen do. You should improve on an idea and never crush it until you know for a fact it cannot be executed.
If you and some other colleague have opposing ideas, the least you can do is be calm and reasonable. Your aim shouldn’t be to win the argument, well unless that translates to a raise which I doubt it would. Have an open-mind and do not be unnecessarily judgmental. Be prepared to compromise.
But what do you think? What would you do if a senior colleague repeatedly insists that your visibly brilliant idea is not brilliant at all and will not see the light of day? Would you pay Mr. Herb A. List a courtesy visit at his shrine on his behalf? Down a bottle of…? Or something equally fantastic? 🙂