Going Experiential with Political Campaign

Sanwo Olu

As the campaigns for next month general elections get to the peak, politicians are going beyond the traditional advertising to engage Nigerians. Raheem Akingbolu reports.

Beyond traditional method of pasting posters on the street or using radio jingle and newspaper advertising, leading contenders in the 2019 elections are begin to look outside the box to engage Nigerians.

Towards the build up to the 2015 elections, Nigerian politicians bombarded various social media channels to communicate and engage members of the public.

In the last few months, more channels are being explored to deepen political campaigns. From Buhari – Osinbajo; to Atiku – Obi; Babajide Sanwo Olu to Jimi Agbaje, the story is the same, depending on who have the wherewithal to outsmart the other.

Perhaps because of the seeming propaganda that is associated with Facebook users, some politicians are beginning to go the extra mile to tell their stories.

A good example is the All Progressive Congress gubernatorial candidate in Lagos, who appeared to have taken his campaign a notch higher by deploring his campaign arsenal to experiential marketing.

Like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been consistent in his house-to-house campaign, Sanwoolu has inaugurated an activation platform that enables him to be moving from one spot to the other to engage Lagosians.

Recently, in a creative approach to proffering solution to some of the society’s challenges, he caused a stir at the high brow Lekki Tollgate as he personally moved in with his team to free the congested evening drive traffic between 6 – 7pm, to achieve seamless free flow of traffic.

Sanwoolu disclosed to a few marketing reporters during the exercise his intention to deploy different marketing communication tools to engage Lagosians, as he seeks the residents’ consent for office, at the general elections, scheduled to hold next month.

Speaking on the relevance of the on-the-spot assessment of the traffic situation in the area, the Lagos APC guber candidate stated that he would deploy both the traditional and new media to ensure that pulses of Lagosians are constantly felt.
He described the day’s ‘mini marketing’ activation in that part of the city, as one of the ways he intends to constantly converse with those in that part of the city, and Lagosians, generally, and get a feedback.

“We’ve started tweeting to ask what the challenges are. And this is one of our demonstrations. We hope to continue with this so that Lagosians can converse with us. It would provide them the opportunity to have an unfettered access to us. It will also provide that opportunity for them to tell us those things they want us to improve upon and those they want us to change. Those are the conversations and that is what governance is all about,” he stated.
Sanwoolu described the evening activity, around the area as a simulation, designed to understand the traffic problem in the area, at that particular period, with a view to solving them.

“For us, what we are doing now is a simulation. It’s a simulation to see how much of the traffic backlog we can clear. For us, it’s a simulation to understand and have a first-hand feel of how we should solve the traffic problem of Lagos, especially in the evening part of the day.

“One of the things we are considering is how we can creatively extend these 12 lanes to 16 or 18, so that when vehicles are coming, they will have a lot of space to work with, and in the morning do there verse,” he stated.

Sanwoolu believes good governance can only be achieved if the people are involved. He stated that he hopes to achieve this by constantly engaging the people of the state, not only at political rallies, but through different channels of communication that would enable him feel their pulses.

Meanwhile, the activation which is obviously form part of the APC governorship candidate’s strategic campaign was orchestrated with the aim of engaging with Lagosians who ply the busy road.

Right above the toll bridge, two electronic billboards one on each side drive toll plaza, ordinarily display a number of commercials each taking turn to occupy the vast screen for about 1 minute, were brought to a standstill for the one-hour time frame which the activation lasted. Both sides simultaneously displayed the message: “My name is Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu, I will really like to engage with you #ForAGreaterLagos Seasons Greetings”.

As this was beautifully displayed in its lush blue background and imposing print of the governorship aspirants, the organizers of the activation were said to have paid a lump sum for all vehicles using the facility for the one hour duration. Hence, the team was able to move in, deliver brochures, handbills as well as water to cool motorists’ thirst after a hectic day at work.

Like every free gifts, a few took exception to the distribution of table water, majority of motorists accepted the offer with open arms. However, the idea of toll free watch the joker of the day as it allows the motorists to patiently listen and accept leaflets.

According to the one of the materials distributed to commuters, challenges confronting the state need critical solutions as Lagos moves to the next threshold in her 51-year development trajectory.

“A state which despite the smallest land mass, has one of the largest populations of about 20million inhabitants, will need about $100billion dollars over the next 20 -25 years to address its existing infrastructural deficits, hence, the conversation being ignited,”

Yet another of the materials adds that for the state which currently runs on an annual budget of less than$3billion dollars to leapfrog to the next phase of development, quality leadership is a critical requirement.

The idea is for the aspirant to introduce himself at a closer range and start a conversation on moving the state to a greater level. Part of the conversation will be around traffic congestion, better education, security issues, health, food sufficiency and a lot more.

Speaking on the mission Sanwo-Olu says “We are doing a simulation to understand what exactly is causing traffic rigour, we want to see if we can innovatively clear the backlog. It is for us to have a first- hand feel on how we should solve a traffic challenge in this city. We could innovate with the lanes depending on which side the traffic is heavy”.

Suggesting that the problem solving conversation is better ignited where the troubles bite the most, the APC flag bearer declared, “You cannot get to the root of the matter when you’re in your office, you can only do it when you come around like this and let them test of the good things we are talking about to make Lagos, Your Lagos a greater Lagos for all of us. This is why we are here this evening and it’s just the beginning, we will be going to a lot of places with a view to jointly provide solutions to some of the challenges we all face”. This implies that more of these activation are likely to be been seen across different sectors of the state.

However, to Sanwo-Olu feedbacks from the public will be of greater significance to his team’s efforts at bringing about workable solutions for Lagosians. “We are going to elective positions to create better life for the people. We are not meant to be a stumbling block”, he promised as he stylishly rolls out his campaign. Though, he called it a simulation but the engagement with you (relevant stakeholders) #ForAGreaterLagos has really started.