How I became a Grand Jury judge for New York Advertising Festival – Steve Babaeko

Life is certainly beautiful for the CEO/Chief Creativity Officer X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko. It is no longer news that he recently opened up his new office in Opebi, Ikeja – Lagos with staff members and select agency friends present and he attributed his success to a lot of hard work, planning, focus and God.

However, he revealed that his reasons for the ‘drastic’ change were to create the right environment for both staff and clients. “There are two main reasons why we had to move and the first reason is being our people. I believe if we create the right ambience for our people to work in the, the level of creativity will rise. The second reason is our clients. If the level of creative increases, it means we can have a greater impact on our clients and help them build better brands”, he said.

Still basking in the euphoria of the new achievement, Babaeko recently got a place on the Grand Jury of the New York advertising festival coming up soon. “The New York Advertising Festival is one of the oldest advertising festivals in the world. I think they started in 1957 or so. I just woke up that day to find the mail in my box asking if I would like to be one of the grand jury because I came highly recommended and of course, I accepted. And we have been doing the judging. I would be judging the mobile category alongside other top global creative people. The final festival will be in New York”, he said exclusively to MARKETING EDGE.

As a judge, he and fellow judges are supposed to look at the advertisers’ idea, the concept, the execution and how it has made impact on the society.
This is probably the first time that a Nigerian is getting an invitation to be one the grand jury hence Babaeko hopes it is going to impact positively on the industry. “I think the impact is going to be hopefully big. If you look at what is happening in the advertising industry, a lot of Nigerian creatives are being solicited to go and do jury duty on the continent or outside the continent. In the last couple of years, Nigerian creatives have done jury duties at other awards so this is just an expansion of that scope. Nigeria is beginning to appear on the global radar where they say there is a company on the continent that they are doing something so they are coming to tap into the resources”, he explained.

On Saturday, April 2nd, Babaeko would also be honoured at the Chivas Regal Taste of Luxury through its ‘Win the Right Way’ campaign. “The Taste of Luxury is something that they do from time to time. Chivas’ main thrust as a brand is being able to celebrate success when you create success the right way so they have this mantra ‘win the right way’. So I feel highly honoured to be part of this”, he added.

X3M opened shop in August 2012 after founder Steve Babaeko quit his agency job to pursue a new dream. Babaeko confessed that he has always been on the creative side. He started writing poetry at the age of 14 and was a member of the creative writers club in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria while studying Theatre Arts.

“Creativity has always been part of my life. Eventually, I found myself in advertising when Mr. Victor Johnson of MC & A gave me my big break, gave me my first job as a copywriter in 1995”, he recalled.

Even the building of the new office had a lot of his creative impact in it. “My team used to laugh at me because I used to come here like five times a day just to come and check whether the tiles are straight. That’s the kind of person I am. If I focus on something, I believe it has to be top-notch”, he concluded.


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