Raheem Akingbolu reviews the 2019 assessment of campaigns and brands by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria
Until few years ago, today’s Airtel brand was a controversial corporate entity. Or how best can one describe a brand that have changed name five times in the same market? From Econet to Vodacom, Vodacom to Vmobile, Vmobile to Celtel, Celtel to Zain and in 2010 came out with Airtel.
At the climax of the game, it got Nigerian thinking about how many times they have seen the telco change its identity (and management). There was a very fun guessing game analysts used to play back in the day – How long before Celtel/Zain/Airtel changes its name again? Most times, the guesses were spot on; anything between two and three years was mostly accurate.
Fast forward to around November 2010, Zain clipped its wings and morphed into Airtel Nigeria. The change was brought about by an acquisition where Bharti Airtel paid a hefty sum of $10.7 billion. The rest as they say is history.
Much as analysts would want to give the credit to effective management of the new owners, findings in the market in the last few years have confirmed that the brand began to appeal to more Nigeria the moment a new creative agency -Noah’s Ark clinched the creative account of the company.
On winning the creative brief of the Telco brand, the team was said to have gone to the drawing board to gauge the market and know what faces and concept would re-connect Nigerians with the ailing brand. This perhaps informed the recruitment of many known faces in the Nollywood who are already household names to fly their various campaign. Like a magic wand, the approach has not only unsettled the market but drawn more attention to Airtel and its numerous products.
As a result of this, recognition and awards have been coming in the ways of the brand and its campaign. Since 2016, Airtel has revolutionised the marketing communications domain with creative, innovative and award-winning advertising campaigns, thereby deepening emotional bond with its numerous stakeholders.
At the 2019 ADVAN Award of Excellence, the Airtel team and its Agency, Noah’s Ark led by Lanre Adisa, CEO/Chief Creative Officer, were delighted as the Airtel brand, again, coasted home with the Gold plaque in the “Campaign of the Year” category for its outstanding campaigns. Last year, Airtel’s SmartRecharge advertising campaign was also adjudged the Campaign of the Year by the same ADVAN.
The 2019 ADVAN Awards themed: “The Business Value of Creativity” and currently in its 26th year, is an annual event designed to celebrate brands and individuals who have contributed to setting standards in the marketing and communications industry in Nigeria with compelling campaigns and public engagement.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, the First Vice President of the association, Bunmi Adenigba, noted that the awards had, in no small measure, provided fillip to the brands and advertising industry, adding that innovation and creativity drove business performance.
“What we have been able to showcase with this event is to demonstrate the excellence in all of the ground that has been done by players in the industry, and the reason why we do it is to promote marketing excellence so that any brand that has won today will be inspired to do more and the brands that haven’t won will be challenged to take their creativity to another level.
“Essentially, we want brands to have a say and a voice to things that really matter to consumers and we want to be sure that the brands are doing exactly that,” she said.
Adenigba stated that advertising had come of age in the country and Nigeria’s ad spend was over N200billion, adding that a lot had been put in.
“Beyond the quantitative of what we are doing, I think the bigger proposition is on the quality of what we are achieving; the kind of narrative and conversations that we are using our brands to drive. Regardless of the absolute amount that we put into it, what matters more is brands connecting to the heart of the consumers and also proper representation of the interests of the consumers.”
On how she would describe the ADVAN awards in terms of the growth of advertising and marketing in Nigeria, Adenigba added that the awards had helped the industry to increase the quality of work that is being put out.
Molfix Baby Diaper manufactured by Hayat maintained its fast-rising profile as it won the most coveted award for the night, emerging as the “Brand of the Year” having won the same the previous year.
Molfix Hayat also won in the Experiential Marketing and CSR Category while the brand also took home a silver in Digital Marketing.
Nigerian Breweries’ Heineken won the Gold in the “Product Packaging” category award, with Goldberg and Munch IT coming second and third respectively.
For the media category, O’Lekan Babatunde, Publisher/ Managing Editor, BrandCrunch.com.ng and Lekan Ajayi, Asst. Editor won the Bronze and Silver medals respectively while Azeez Disu of Brand Communicator took home the gold plaque.