THE ANNOYING TRUTH ABOUT NIGERIAN TV COMMERCIALS.
Yes, I am among other things also a freelance copywriter/media consultant and as such this article can duly be considered as biased, xenophobic and a ploy to attract more patronage. ***go and call police***
To those of us that have access to foreign satellite television stations, you’ld agree with me that in addition to enjoying their exciting programmes, most of us are also hooked to their very entertaining Television commercials. Speaking for myself, I actually watch several foreign TV channels just to catch a glimpse of their creative TV commercials.
In Africa, the South Africans are ahead of the game, as they constantly churn out unique, fun and entertaining TV commercials meant to sell their various products and eventually increase their market share. Why won’t South Africa remain Africa's largest and most diverse economy?
Back to Nigeria, the so-called second largest economy in Africa; our TV commercials arena has become a disaster. It wasn’t always like this. In the 1980s, Nigeria constantly produced some of the most memorable TV commercials which those of us growing up in that era can still relate to. Fast forward to this day and what do we have?
Most of Nigeria's top companies who make the bulk of their profits in Nigeria opt to patronize foreign affiliated Ad Agencies that in turn shoot TV commercials in Southern African countries there by giving Nigerian TV viewers top quality rubbish. You'd see various Nigerian brands be they noodles, spaghetti, Air fresheners, soaps, detergents, tooth pastes, banks just to mention a few-all subscribing to shooting their TV commercials in Southern African countries.
The most annoying part of it is that these Ad producers start by mobilizing a Southern African cast, dress them up as Nigerians and have them use fake Nigerian accents. When the Nigerian accent ‘tingy’ stopped sounding convincing, they began to sync Nigerian voice-over talents on such TV ads. This is why if you closely watch many of Nigerian brand’s TV ads shot in Southern Africa , their voices never tends to flow properly with their mouth movements.
What broke the camel’s back for me was when I recently saw a toothpaste TV Ad claiming that it “really loves Naija”;the Ad was shot in a Southern African city street corner with a fake ‘Danfo’ coloured bus. Unfortunately for the production team, they forgot that Nigeria operates a left-hand drive vehicle system, the ‘Danfo’ in that toothpaste Ad was a right hand drive.
Every day we cry that there's unemployment in Nigeria, we all look to government to create jobs for us, yet those who have an equally pivotal role to play in employment generation are proudly taking jobs meant for Nigerians to foreign lands.
Nigeria has enough indigenous producers, directors, locations, actors, actresses, models and creative writers (like me) who can put together top notch television commercials that will excite the Nigerian TV viewers. Even if the brands in question are multinational in nature, so long as they have firm presence in Nigeria and make profits from Nigeria they MUST ensure that their Ad/media campaigns have a high degree of local content. Go check out Coca-cola in China or India!
Many 'guilty' stakeholders will want to claim that producing quality TV ads in Nigeria is too expensive, my answer to them in “fa fa fa fowl.” I have personally witnessed instances where ‘young’ Nigerian Ad agencies and creative people make decent-cost effective pitches to big Nigerian owned companies but are rejected. The same Nigerian owned big company would rather opt for a South African affiliated Ad agency, and ends up paying 100% more than what the young Nigerian talent proposed.
Most of us love the Heineken TV ad series, this Ad campaign is being handled by an American agency known as ‘Strawberry frog’ founded by some young guys in their 20s and early 30s. We have many more young creative minds in Nigeria but our big companies will never give 'us' a chance, they’d only consider your proposal if you make a pitch presentation to them and at least one member of your delegation is a white mechanic from South Africa.
In any case, we must commend some of our telecoms operators; a lot of them (of late) have begun to insist that their respective Ad agencies or communications departments patronize Nigerian talents in their TV media campaigns.
As for those of us belonging to the creative media industry, it is also expected that we step up our game and ensure that if given the opportunity we will not disappoint.
Finally, we must all join forces and locate the producers of Segun Arinze's Viju Milk TV Ad in order to have them shot. ***Have you seen that Ad?***