Like most people, I am often conflicted by my deep sense of nationalistic pride. My firm belief in Nigerianess and in the Nigerian spirit even when my belief in Nigeria as an institution is repeatedly tested.
To be Nigerian is truly something special: it’s to succeed in spite of, to learn to take when you’re never given, to rise in the face of. It’s a very powerful thing.
I can’t help but think that some people– many people, take sadistic delight in overextending themselves. Far too many people exist in the intersection between humble bragging about how much they work and running on fumes stretching themselves for all they are worth– piling on one responsibility after the other until even the things they do really well start to suffer.
Brands do this too.
Over the weekend, Nigerian musician 9ice released an “apology” video asking fans to intervene in his 3rd marriage by pleading with his wife to forgive his infidelity.
Outside of my initial shock at the sheer manipulativeness of the entire situation, my next thought was just how dodgy it all was– the background music, the trademark patriarchal selfishness of the apology, the camera angles.
Bogus. Like many of the Black Friday deals you’ll be seeing this week.
With all the hype around Black Friday, you’ll be tempted to operate under the impression that every offer is worth trampling over fellow shoppers to get in on– both online and offline with retailers and grocers slashing prices to ‘rock bottom’ levels for one day only.
But research has found that that’s rarely the case.
A few days ago, I had a heated conversation with a friend.
The argument? Pitch fees or more simply, fees that advertising or creative agencies desire that clients pay as compensation for time spent developing creative concepts in a bid to acquire a project or account.
That debate filled me with curiosity: why are pitch fees such a contentious topic? does every agency that pitches for an account deserve to be paid for their time and efforts, even when they are unsuccessful? Or do clients not get any real value from these unsuccessful pitches and there is no actual business case to justify paying pitch fees?
To get a better sense of the answers, I asked four industry leaders in marketing (split across the client’s side and the agency) about their thoughts on pitch fees:
1. Whether or not you need to, pee before getting in a car. Even if it’s only a short drive, Lagos traffic will humble you.
2. Happiness comes and goes, so aim for contentment. This can sometimes be achieved with a cold bowl of yogurt and granola. Or a cookie.
3. Choose small consistent efforts over sweeping life-changing declarations.
In October 2020, young people across Nigeria did something they had never done before. They came out in numbers to protest.
The protests were centered around brutality and extrajudicial killings by the Special anti robbery squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police force but also brought forth conversations around bad governance, rising unemployment, corruption and impunity.
People were speaking up, and they demanded that the brands they patronised joined them. While speaking up came naturally for a few brands bolstered by more radical leadership teams, for most brands, schooled in regulatory inspired conflict avoidance and the traditional public relations practice of avoiding issues with even a whiff of politics, the discomfort was palpable.
Thirteen odd years ago, in my final leg of senior secondary, my school got a new literature teacher– Mr Eden. Mr Eden was graceful. Even while wielding a whip, he talked and walked like little blue birds helped him get dressed in the morning.
In his second week in school, we had a conversation about writing influences and at the time, obsessed with detective and mystery novels, I excitedly told him how much I was learning about pain, ambition and betrayal and how these books helped transport me to an alternate reality. He looked at me with a knowing smile and said “Yes. But, can you truly relate with those stories?” and then proceeded to lend me three of his favorite books, one of which was Chimamanda Adichie’s “Purple Hibiscus.”
Last week, news broke about John Boyega stepping down as brand ambassador for fragrance company, Joe Malone London, after the company reshot and recast an advert he conceived, directed and starred in with a Chinese influencer for use in Asian markets.
While Nigerian Twitter had a good laugh over how the Nigerian in Boyega jumped out in the concluding part of his statement with the sentence “I don’t have time for nonsense,” across the world, public sentiment was split.
Shopping is my guilty pleasure. Very few things get me going like the thrill of discovering new places to eat, online vendors, bookstores, etc and being able to find the item(s) in their product line that serve me best.
Two days ago, I tried to get some brownies online and went scrolling through a baker’s Instagram feed only to discover that there were over a dozen variants. As I moved from option to option, analysing each flavour with its catchy color and deliciously sounding name, I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to try and ultimately ended up exiting the page without making a purchase.
Over the weekend, Erica, one of the most talked about housemates on the Big Brother Nigeria show had an alcohol fuelled outburst that culminated in her disqualification from the house.
While I think of myself as a passive watcher of the reality TV show, as a fan of human and consumer behaviour I was keen to see two things:
How she would handle the fallout of the nights incidents the morning after
How her team of social media handlers would control or at least contain the narrative.
The events that unfolded the morning after included an in-person apology to the housemates and a (now deleted) post on Instagram that was in equal parts apologetic and defensive.
Do I think Erica should have apologised? Yes and No.