ByÂ Kasie Abone
When his agency work made the finalist of the Digital and Interactive category of the Loeries Award which held at Durban, South Africa, Emeke Ujbaja, one of the creative teams at 7even Interactive, a Lagos-based new generation advertising agency, was very hopeful. And when eventually the work was announced as winner of bronze Loeries at the hugely competitive creative award festival, Ujbajaâ€™s feeling was out of this world.
Ujbaja said he was shaking during the moments leading up to the announcement of the award.
â€œI was very hopeful. But when the result was announced I was very surprised or would I say excited. I was shaking before the result was announced. We did a lot of work to ensure that we came out with good job. Winning makes me feel out of this world,â€ he told THISDAY.
To him, the bronze medal was big deal given the status of such festival as Africa and the Middle Eastâ€™s most sought-after award for the advertising and brand communications industry. The bronze medal was among over 241 Loeries awarded across 22 categories including five Grands Prix, 34 Gold Medals, 24 Craft Gold Medals, 76 Silvers and 102 Bronzes awarded for more than 3000 entries received.
Nine Nigerian agencies X3M Ideas, Noahâ€™s Ark, 7even Interactive, Image & Time, Adeptus Nigeria, EXP Marketing Nigeria, Insight Publicis, DDB Lagos including a leading advertising academy, O2 Academy, submitted entries. Of the nine, four new generation agenciesâ€™ works were among the 3000 on the final list that was dominated by South Africa among other African and Middle East countries. Top rated DDB Lagos and Insight surprisingly were conspicuously missing on the list.
Three top-notch Nigerian admen, X3M Ideas creative egghead, Mr. Steve Babaeko, Noahâ€™s Ark Creative head and the first Nigerian to win a Cannes Lions, Mr. Bolaji Alausa, and Peacock Media Managing Director, Adaora Adheke, were among the jurors.
Â In his reaction, Babaeko, who proceeded on an annual vacation after the show described the festival as â€œa very organised award and an interesting outingâ€ which witnessed many countries of Africa not only participating but made impressive outing. Babaeko who spoke to our correspondent on phone added, however, that there was need for diversification to give the festival a more international flavour.
As one of the jurors he said the experience was most rewarding adding that technology played a key role in judging the creative works.
â€œTechnology plays a very key role here. It reduces the time we put at judging the works.â€ He also added that the award was an eye opener for South Africa that serious competition is coming out of other African countries and the Middle East. â€œThe quality of work from Africa and Middle East is improving,â€ Babaeko said.
Speaking on his agencyâ€™s failure to win a Loeries, Babaeko who was upbeat enthused: â€œThe good news is that X3M ideas and three other agencies that made it to the finals were new generation agencies. It goes to tell that the business of creativity is not about how long you have been in the industry; people just want to see your work. I am proud to say that the new generation agencies are doing the country proud. They are not just flying the flags of their agencies but also that of the country as well. Not winning Lories, as always we love to win but not winning means that we donâ€™t have to rest on our oars.â€
Having won a laurel at the Crystals, another big international creative awards festival, it was natural to expect that 3XM Ideas would come home with another medal, but Babaeko said though his agencies would always love to win but not winning means that they donâ€™t have to rest on their oars but rather have to do more work.
Loeries Nigerian representative, Marketing Edge, was also represented at the awards by its Managing Director, Mr. John Ajayi and Head of Marketing, Mr. Anietie Udom.