Following the success of X3M Ideas at the Cristal Advertising Festival held in Marrakesh, Morocco, where it clinched 12 awards, Raheem Akingbolu writes on the significance of the feat to the nationâ€™s creative industry
Since the Cristal Advertising Festival was instituted as a wholly advertising industry competition platform to showcase creativity from Africa, winning in any category of the award has always been a coveted feat.
According to organisers of the award, it was designed to reward the best advertising campaigns created and broadcasted over the African continent on any media with the objective of promoting the African advertising creativity and showcasing a variety of international and regional work from the industry through the meeting of agencies and advertisers in a mixed jury.
In capturing the essence of the 2018 edition which centered on helping agencies grasps the creative, innovative and multi-cultural features of advertising in line with the Africaâ€™s emerging market challenges and opportunities, the organisers divided the award into 21 categories and 11 jury panels.
As evident that the Cristal festival is growing by the year, the 2018 edition witnessed 2,280 campaign entries from agencies from more than 44 countries in Africa compared to 680 campaigns from 31 countries that registered last year. In this yearâ€™s edition, DDB Lagos, X3M Ideas and Noahâ€™s Ark were agencies from Nigeria that were grouped among the continentâ€™s creative power house.
In particular, X3M Ideas, has through the platform, reaffirmed its strong desire to place Nigeria on global advertising map as the agency carted home 12 awards.
The X3M Cristal medals haul which becomes the largest units of awards by a Nigerian agency at the 2018 event, establishes the nationâ€™s advertising as coming of age bearing a strong and growing voice on the continental advertising landscape.
The agencyâ€™s Chief Creativity Officer/ CEO, Steve Babaeko has been a jury on the South African Loeries Awards, The New York International Ad Festival and the African Cristal Awards to give room and give vent to the Nigerian creative narrative even on these and more international creative platforms.
The winning concepts
To carve a niche for itself and Nigeria Advertising in general, the agencyâ€™s self sponsored anti â€“ depression social service advertising tagged â€œLook Beyondâ€ which broke last year to support the Lagos Stateâ€™s effort at fighting the sudden increase in the rate of suicide, won a remarkable grand Cristal at the just concluded 2018 African Cristal Advertising Festival.
The campaign which featured a series of ads including online is one of the agencyâ€™s deliberate attempts at being a social contributor and dependable voice in supporting the Lagos State government in enhancing and keeping a sane and save society for all.
The increasing spate of suicides in the society is considered antithetical to Nigeriaâ€™s reputation as globally acclaimed â€œhappiest peopleâ€ in the world despite all the odds. This is why we, as X3M Ideas, cannot keep silent in the face of this ugly development the CEO had explained when the campaign broke in May 2017.
The campaign which won a Grand Cristal an equivalent of a Grand Prix in the social/CSR category, was a major voice that permeated the social media and youth focused TV channels to drum up support for the Governor AkinwunmiAmbodeâ€™s battle cry against suicides in Lagos state and the country at large.
Approach to business
According to Babaeko, the agency has dutifully pursued its DNA ingrained passion to consistently find the time and resources to churn out campaigns to promote social causes despite its busy work schedules and scarce resources to combat tendencies for the society travelling the descent route.
As a company, X3M Ideas is passionate about youth, the business is positively youthful and the crop of its staff, so when we begin to see a trend of the odious happening and almost becoming like a way of life, we would not want to keep silent. In fact that is not our way of life. This is the main reason behind this multi awards winning social advocacy campaign tagged â€œLooking Beyondâ€, a source in the agency told our correspondent.
In the campaign, the agency explored the â€˜huge popularity for social mediaâ€™ to paint the picture of how depression becomes gets a stranglehold of the victim. The victim hides the â€œdepressionâ€ behind written words especially on social media pretending â€œall is wellâ€ either because he has no one to talk to or because he did not know such platforms exist or he simply lose confidence in the people around him.
The short â€œsocialmercialâ€ which was heavy on HipTV also trended heavily on youtube, twitter and other social media platforms, discourage youth from the growing painful decision to â€œend it allâ€ which had earlier been caused the nation immeasurable loss such as the loss of a young doctor who took a plunge into the lagoon on the popular Lagos third mainland bridge among numerous others.
The video shows the hand of a depressed buddy trying hard to pour out his emotion to his friend on the social media but only succeeded at giving a pretentious impression that â€œeverything is okayâ€.
The social service campaign tells those trapped in depression casement to escape, â€œthey need not end it all, there is someone or organisation caring and willing to help which victims can to talk toâ€. The video graciously displays dedicated help-lines to be called by the sufferer.
Between the award and the agencyâ€™s CSR
The Grand Cristal award justifies the X3M Ideasâ€™ consistent Corporate Social Responsibility support to the society and the Lagos State Governmentâ€™s efforts.
The agency built a block of six classrooms for the Lagos Stateâ€™s Opebi Junior Secondary school in 2013; provided computers and other ICT equipment to two government schools in 2014; in 2015, the agency refurbished and provided two modern toilet facilities to the Lagos State home for boys (reformation centre). In 2016, it was the turn of Ikeja Senior Secondary School to benefit from the agencyâ€™s milk of humanity through the provision and equipment of a befitting library for the use of the school while in 2017, X3M Ideas made a daring move as it moved out of Lagos to lend a hand to the Chibok Girls Secondary School as it provided the much needed chairs and tables for easy learning and teaching in the school that has come under national global attention.
With the agencyâ€™s unflinching support for social causes which also include the BabatundeRajiFasholaâ€™s tenureâ€™s â€œHorns Free Dayâ€, the campaign to curb violence against women all attest to the fact the reward with a Grand prix award is merited and most deserving of the X3M Ideas.
Apart from the Goodvertising Grand Cristal award, the â€œLooking Beyondâ€ material won a gold, a silver and two bronze. The agency also pulled in three medals for Globacom in the Media, telecoms and Brand entertainment and content for tv/cinema; X3M Ideas medal haul also include a Bronze for Friesland CampinaWamco â€“ Peak Milk Heritage campaign winning in the Mass Consumption products category, while the agencyâ€™s work for a previous client, 9Mobile also recorded 3 medals in Media; telecommunications; and Brand entertainment and content for tv/cinema categories; to advance the cause of Nigerian advertising on the global arena.
The African Cristal Festival rewards the best advertising campaigns created and broadcasted over the African continent, on any media. The 2018 edition focused on cultural stakes and their implications for brands. The current edition of the African Cristal Festival centered on helping agencies grasps the creative and multi-cultural future in line with the African emerging market