Creativity is the only way to challenge negative stereotypes, says Chris Ogunlowo

After suffering from segregation as a Nigerian in Dubai and South Korea, award winning Creative Director at SO&U, Chris Ogunlowo has advised that the only way to win the battle of negative stereotypes as a Nigerian is to fight with creativity.

Making this known in a recent chat with MARKETING EDGE, Chris Ogunlowo recalled how he used branded T shirts to change the narrative after being maltreated at the Dubai Airport and also in a grocery store in South Korea during his trip to attend the AD Stars Awards Festival. He was unduly asked to step aside on both occasions.

“I went to make enquiries about my flight at a stand at the Dubai airport and after looking at my passport, I had to go through a whole new session of screening for absolutely no apparent reason. Also when I got to South Korea, I went to buy a few things from a grocery store and as soon as the owner of the store saw me, he just asked me to leave in an unfriendly manner. Perhaps it was because of the FBI list that had just been released. As a creative person, I decided to brand the shirts I wore for the remaining days I would be there and I wrote ‘Not all Nigerians are criminals on it’,” he recalled.

Mr. Ogunlowo therefore advised that creativity was a weapon that could be used to rewrite negative stories about Nigeria and Nigerians. He also noted that there were a lot of Nigerians that may be facing the same problems in various parts of the world.

“When I thought about the initiative, I never knew it would go this far but look at how far and fast it has travelled. Creativity is a tool we can use to change the narrative about Nigerians from positive to negative and also use it to separate the good eggs from the bad ones. I have had to make the shirt for 2 of my friends who were travelling to Germany and Thailand. I might look into making it a global campaign,” he said.


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