BBNaija: Revving up Marketing and Entertainment

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Despite the controversy that trailed BBNaija Season 3 while it lasted, Raheem Akingbolu argues that the reality tv programme has given its promoters the biggest marketing platform and created a new vista for the Nigerian entertainment industry

Beyond the financial reward, gifts and the debate that trailed the season three of the Big Brother Naija reality show, events in the last few months have shown that the show has helped all stakeholders; its promoters, the participants, members of the public and the economy.

The BBN house currently serves one of the best reality dramas that have got fans to head online to air their views and also make their votes count, despite pressing socio-economic challenges.

For MultiChoice, Heritage Bank and Payporte, BBNiger has helped them to bond more with customers and gain more visibility. Four close to four months, traffic on the companies’ social media handles increased, their television commercials attracted more viewers and they enjoyed words of mouth better than before. Of course, network providers also smiled to banks. As a country, Nigeria economy also benefitted as the growth of these organizations will have multiply effect on the economy. This percolates down to members of the public who are the patrons of these brands and who stayed glued to their television stations to be entertained for months.

However, the ultimate winners are the participants, whose participation might have opened a new vista for them in the entertainment industry. At a time like this, when Federal Government appears serious with the determination to diversify the economy, boosting the industry will, in no small measure, contribute to such aspiration.

For instance, during the presentation of prizes to the participants in Lagos, it was revealed that barely two weeks after emerging winner of the show, Miracle has be endorsed by his home state –Imo, as education ambassador.
Excited, the 24-year-old pilot and model announced the feat on Instagram, saying; “Chai!!! HIS Excellency!… My Governor!!…. Rochas Okorocha has busted my Farome!!… So much!!….. “Education Ambassador “Bless sir, I am deeply truly humbled.
In a related development, it was also revealed at the event that another house mate, Dee-One, has concluded arrangement to venture fashion show in big form. Others like Kbrule, Rico Swavey and Teddy A are already pushing their music career while Nina and Bambam are already diving into the movie industry.

The winners and the prizes

Organisers of the event have fulfilled their promises, as the winner, Miracle Igbokwe has been handed a brand new KIA Seranto SUV, and cheque of N25 million. Other housemates were also in attendance when they were all celebrated at the Multichoice Nigeria Head Office, Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday. They include Angel, Khloe, Dee-One, Anto, Tobi, Cee-C, K.Brule, Nina, Alex, Leo, Khloe, Lolu, and Ahneeka among others.

To justify the statement made by the Managing Director, Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, that everyone is a winner, the RegionalDirector, M-Net/Africa Magic, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu, who thanked the housemates for the drama they brought on the show, disclosed that all former housemates will receive a DSTV explora with one year free subscription.

Speaking to Journalists after receiving the key to the SUV and the cheque for the cash reward, the 23-years old winner said he intended to invest in agriculture and further his commercial pilot training. While speaking on his decision to play in the business sector as young entrepreneur, he was quick to refer to disclosed that Alhaji Aliko Dangote was his role model.
Meanwhile, both the representatives of PayPorte and Heritage bank, expressed satisfaction over the conduct of the show, giving their penchants to invest in youths as propelling force.

A peep into the past

Obviously, the best way to explain the benefit of the BBN to the entertainment industry is to look at former housemates, who are now doing well in the industry. For instance, the host of this year’s edition, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, was a housemate and he has become a household name in the industry after his emergence. In fact, only a few will remember that he was trained as a lawyer.

At his unveiling last year as a host of the 2017 edition, which made the lawyer turned media personality the one to usher the housemates into the Big Brother Naija house and take up the task of announcing the evictees week after week, Managing Director, MultiChoice Nigeria, John Ugbe said the organisers were particularly excited to have Ebuka as host of Big Brother Naija because the platform unearthed his potentials and propelled him to stardom.
“He has over the years grown to become a prominent face on the Nigerian pop culture and entertainment scene while also lending his voice to youth empowerment initiatives. We believe his cool and debonair personality combined with his healthy dose of wit will spice up the show. Our viewers are in for a great entertainment experience!” Mr. Ugbe had said.

Besides, going by the happenings in the show last year, where about eight housemates later slugged it out for the ultimate prize of N25million and a brand new SUV, it appeared Nigeria might be in the process of unearthing yet another set of talents. From the enviable fitness skills of Bassey, to the creative skills of ThinTallTony, Debbie Rise, and Efe; to talented entertainers, singers, and models such as TBoss and Bisola, observers predicted that entertainment should expect great stuff from the housemates in years to come.

Equally, in Season three, which was hosted far away in South Africa, there are strong indications that the Nigerian entertainment space has opened up its doors to a wider viewing public, thereby showcasing some of the country’s budding talents, who now have greater chances of success even beyond the ultimate prize. Without doubt, the show generated a high rate of discourse among the youth, who were constantly airing their views on the character of the housemates. So far, the show has reportedly gained optimal visibility both in the mainstream and online media, drawing more than five million viewers.

The voting pattern has been influenced by the roles of the housemates in the house, their character and how good they are playing the game. For example, the theme; Double Wahala, which was performed by singer Oritse Femi at one of the live eviction shows, was actively played out by Cee-C and others.

Last year, despite the eviction of the trio of Soma, Miyonse, and CocoIce, it is interesting to know that their fame and fortunes have continued to grow by the day after their experience in the house. On Valentine’s Day in 2017, Mr. Nigeria, Emmanuel Ikubuese, among many other celebrities, paid a surprise visit to the housemates and shared his experience on how he tried to get into the house, but was unsuccessful, a move which informed his decision to go for Mr. Nigeria competition, which he won in 2014. He advised the housemates to look beyond the ultimate prize and utilise the platform to launch their careers, noting that they were stars and Africa was watching them. It came to pass.

Also last year, being evicted from the house was definitely not the end of the road for Soma, Miyonse, and CocoIce. Since their eviction and arrival in Nigeria, the housemates had ‘meet and greet’ sessions. The duo of Soma and Miyonse met with the management of Payporte, Indomie Noodles and Nigerian Breweries, all sponsors of the Big Brother Naija show 2017. The first female housemate to leave the house, CocoIce, after her arrival in Nigeria granted several radio interviews and she has been attracting opportunities since then.
Ironically, the first male evictee from the house became the first housemate to land a major deal as a fashion ambassador for leading online store, PayPorte, the headline sponsor of the BBN show. Soma joined the likes of Tayo Faniran who was also a Big Brother Africa housemate, who was also a brand ambassador of PayPorte.

The housemates’ fame continued to grow as more brands were showing interest in identifying with them. There was collaboration between Bold Magazine and DStv Nigeria to feature all the contestants on a weekly basis. The first of the series featured lover boy and chef, Miyonse, who revealed that being in the house helped unearth his latent skills and much potential.

“I was a very shy person before I entered the big brother house, but I became a different person immediately I left the house,” said Miyonse. On his plans for the year, he said, “There will be a Miyonse storm! And it is coming this way. I am coming up with a couple of cooking shows. I am coming up with something unique, something unique to the Big Brother brand, something people would want to associate with. I am also interested in endorsement in the food and beverage industry.”

As things are, the next few months will provide answers to the opportunities and benefits of the show to its promoters, the nation’s economy and ultimately the housemates.