‘LAIF 2019 Will Re-write African Story’

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With the theme ‘Tori Tori’ of Laif, the 2019 edition of Lagos Ideas Festival, will do more than rewarding creativity, its organisers have assured stakeholders in the advertising industry.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, members on the board of the annual award platform admitted that Nigeria and the rest of Africa have not had it so good when it comes to media and visual representation. To this end, they called on stakeholders in the advertising industry to support the organizers of the creative award to change the narrative and speak to the world about Africa and Africans.

According to the Chairman of the LAIF Management Board, organisers of LAIF Awards, Steve Babaeko, this year’s theme was deliberate to deepen the conversation about African stories and the need to focus on Nigerian and African culture.

“This Year’s edition of the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Awards, the 13th in the series, is about to do something different: celebrating Nigerian culture. It would revolve around “Tori Tori for Life”, a story about life. The theme is about telling our stories. Over the years, you see that we are looking for just a little material, some kind of background literature on a person or an institution, in Nigeria, and, until you go to the BBC, you can’t get some of these materials, which is a little bit embarrassing.”

Aside the emphasis on telling our own stories, the dress code, music and atmosphere for this year’s outing will have a Nigerian and African flavour. Besides, the organisers are looking forward to seeing more participation from younger agencies, who are believed to be the lifeblood of the industry.
“We expect smaller agencies to give the bigger agencies a run for their money. They should throw their hats in the ring and fight. To get a LAIF Award on your shelf for the work you have done for a client is the only calling card you have as an agency as a testimonial to say we are still relevant in the scheme of things today,” he said, adding, “We are expecting a keen contest that is usually associated with LAIF Awards. Everybody wants to know who the top five or ten agencies are.”

The jury list for the 2019 LAIF Awards include Ayode Olowu, Ekenena Ezeaga, Gbemi Sagay, Toni Kan Onwordi, Irene Donati, Yaa Boateng, Daye Chukwuji and Sunny Mohammed. They come from all over the world: Europe, Africa and Nigeria. It is mixture of veterans and young advertising practitioners in Nigeria. “I think this should be an exciting year where we can really see the best crop of judges,” he said,

The LAIF Award is about the biggest advertising award in West Africa, and one of the biggest in Africa. Lending her voice its uniqueness, the Vice Chairperson of the group, Temitope Jeremigbe, echoed that the theme of the awards this year was a little bit different, for the organisers were committed to making it the biggest brand. Similarly, Jenkins Alumona, PRO, Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, said this year’s award was striving to bring our culture to the fore. This year’s edition will feature seminars, too, aimed at encouraging young, talented creatives.

The vision of the award is not restricted to celebrating Nigerian creatives but regional, but getting entries from the west coast has been challenging for the organisers, yet it can’t stop trying to get everybody on board.

“West Africa is the final destination for the awards, which is why we will continue to reach out to our brothers from West Africa to join the fold so that we can have one big award,” said the chairman.

One of the new categories for 2019 will probably be the award of Advertiser of the Year whereby one brand that has supported and invested in seeing more robust adverts created for it.

“We think that will help stimulate other clients to support not just advertising but creative advertising. This award is all about creativity and the efficacy of communication, so we are trying to push it strongly this year to reward beacons of the industry to be emulated by others,” said Babaeko.

Shedding more light on the theme of this year’s awards, he said, “Clearly, storytelling is becoming a global phenomenon, and sometimes we get trapped when we follow the trend of what’s happening globally. You can jump in at the deep end when you start to behave the way they do abroad. You can say, ‘Look, I understand this trend, but we are going to look at it from the perspective of our home front.’ “That’s why we decided to tell our own story using our own cultural nuances and metaphors to tell a compelling story that the audience will be able to relate to.” Entries are limited from works done in 2018 up to July 2019

According to him, changing the African narrative will not only reflect on the content but on dress code at the award scheduled next month.
“Even in the dress code, it will be Nigerian. If we don’t celebrate our own, who will do it for? In terms of content, we expect higher content which the award is associated with, this is our own premier league”, he said.