BUNMI OKE @ 60: The amazon, her career & exploits

By Oluwaseyi Lawal

As Bunmi Oke turns 60, it is never in doubt that drums will be rolled out,orchestra hired and memories of a chequered beautiful life so far spent would be re- ignited and resurfaced!

This is because she embodies a remarkable legacy of excellence, resilience, and pioneering accomplishments. Highly respected in the advertising and marketing sectors of Nigeria and Africa, her career stands as a testament to her innovative leadership and groundbreaking contributions.

Mrs Olubunmi, a British-born Nigerian with over 30 years of experience, began her advertising career in 1986 at Grant Advertising (a McCann-Erickson affiliate) as a PR Executive and Account Management trainee. She moved to LTC (now JWT) advertising in 1989, where her outstanding organizational and presentation skills quickly propelled her to the position of the first female Client Service Director within a decade.

Mrs. Oke received her education from some of Nigeria’s finest institutions, including the University of Lagos where she studied Mass Communication, Queen’s College, Yaba, and Holy Child College, Obalende, all located in Lagos.

Olubunmi Oke serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Lead Consultant of Ladybird Ltd, a burgeoning new-generation advertising agency in Nigeria. Under her stewardship, the agency has become well known for its creativity, effectiveness, and innovative campaigns that resonated deeply with audiences.

Prior to establishing her own firm, Bunmi, as she is affectionately known, was the inaugural Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director at 141 Worldwide (now NITRO 121), a top integrated marketing communications agency in Nigeria and a member of the global WPP group.

In her role at 141 Worldwide, she guided a talented team, transforming the agency into a leading advertising powerhouse in Nigeria. She managed numerous multinational accounts, including British American Tobacco – West Africa Area, Etisalat Nigeria (now 9Mobile), SWIPHA, First Bank of Nigeria, Multichoice/DSTV, and Cadbury Nigeria Plc, among others.

With a career spanning over three decades, this leading figure in the Nigerian advertising industry has achieved significant milestones. As one of the first female CEOs of a major Nigerian advertising agency, she paved the way for future generations of women. She became the 17th and second female President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), a Council member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), and a Fellow of APCON—one of only four women in Nigeria to reach such a high status in the industry. Additionally, she is a Council member at WIMBIZ.

This advertising Amazon is well travelled and has attended several business and advertising courses in Nigeria and abroad. She was also a recipient of the 2011 Vital Voices – Wimbiz & Exxon – Mobil ToT EinH training in Uganda programme, for a female marketing communications specialist in Nigeria.

As Bunmi Oke marks her 60th birthday, her legacy is well-established. She has made a lasting impact on the advertising industry and has influenced many lives through her mentorship and philanthropic activities.


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