How Nigerian Creative Agencies can save West Africa in Cannes’ List

I read something today and I thought to share with you all. 

Cannes is the biggest Advertising festival celebrating creativity in the world. Most countries have won at different times and even in Africa a couple of countries have won too. In West Africa however, I am sorry to say that we have not had that much good fortune with it.

Please read the article below

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity award is the world’s biggest celebration of creativity in communications. It is always held in Cannes, France, where about 30,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the festival. Winners receive the highly coveted Lion trophy.

Cannes Lions

Countries in most regions around the world have clinched the creative awards, indicating their high creative works in advertising. In Africa, Kenya in the East, Mozambique and South Africa in the South, and Egypt and Tunisia in the North are in the list of winners, but no West African country has had its creativity work adjudged the best in the creative competition in its 60 years of existence.

Concerned with this development, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), last week, under its Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) convened a summit to discuss global rating and imperatives of creativity. Participants who were disappointed that no West African country, especially with Nigeria as a dominant factor in Africa, has clinched the creative award further discussed strategies to stamp Nigeria’s name in the international medal list.

Lanre Adisa, CEO of Noah’s Ark, a creative agency based in Lagos, who said Nigeria has the same socio-economic similarities with India but Indian creative works have won the international recognition, regretted that Western values have eaten deep into Nigerian creative works, whereas India, although colonised by Britain, has imbibed local content in its works.

He cautioned against certain fallacies by some people in Nigeria’s creative industry who believe that “the outside world won’t understand our story in product communication or the client would not buy the local content message.”

Lanre Adisa

Referring to certain Indian local creative works that have made the international award list, Adisa told agencies that if they believed in their local original work, they should push it for acceptance by the client because every client wants to be celebrated, noting that 85 percent of award-winning adverts translate to commercial sales.

Expressing strong belief in the power of advertising, Adisa warned that the risk of letting the outside world to write our story for us is distortion of information and dominance of their culture. “As far as this happens, every piece of communication work for multinationals will continue to be routed through agencies in Europe and perhaps South Africa. What this means to the outside world is that we don’t exist.”

Adisa further said that Nigerian advertising industry must be less pretentious, reduce Western values in its creative works and inculcate local values in advert communication. “We need to lay emphasis on rigour as the world is waiting to hear our story which we have displayed in music and movie.”

In his contribution, Kelechi Nwosu, CEO of TBWA, advised that the industry should set up quality body to ensure standard in creative works.

In the last six years, AAAN established LAIF awards to elevate creative communication materials in the Nigerian advertising industry.

Other participants were concerned that most communications materials began with the product and when this happened, it might lose the expected value. It was agreed, however, that advert messages must attract excitement and must be creative, original and different to make a mark.

Though Nigeria’s agencies are still regrettably entrenched in Western values, a situation that has not created uniqueness in their advert works and further downplayed their story, there is the consciousness to join the world.

Noah’s Ark Communications recently a recorded significant milestone when one of its works made entry into Luezer’s Archive. Luezer’s Archive is a worldwide advertising archive that is globally regarded as the ‘Bible’ of Advertising. The Archive is published monthly in which all creative advertising agencies across the globe have equal opportunities to enter their works for consideration. Out of the thousands of entries received, only 70 best works are published.

DDB Lagos creative team was recently at Miami Ad School (Germany) where its members received intensive training courses from tutors. According to management of DDB Lagos, participants were engaged in three areas, offering six courses in Concepting/Advanced Concepting, Copywriting/Advanced Story Telling and Integrated Concepting.

So what do you think? With this thinking of Nigerian Advertising leaders do we have a chance at redeeming West Africa?

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