How we won the Wikipedia pitch- Anakle CEO

Over the years, Anakle has consistently been rated as one of the best digital marketing agencies out of Nigeria. The evidence of this is the agency’s track-record for creating campaigns that have delivered excellently both creatively and in terms of Returns of Investment (ROI). The latest addition to that list is the sensational Wikipedia campaign which has gone viral on social media. In this interview Anakle CEO, Editi Effiong, gives insight on how the agency won Wikipedia account.


What was the brief from Wikipedia to you at the point of getting the Wikipedia job?

Wikipedia requested for a campaign that would raise awareness and drive use of its platform in the Nigerian market. Nigerians have heard of Wikipedia but not many know what exactly it’s for. This led to the need for the campaign.

What was the level of awareness and acceptance of the Wikipedia website before the campaign and what is it now?

I believe a near universal awareness of the Wikipedia platform already exists within the key   target audiences. Can our campaign help reinforce that awareness? That certainly was part of our brief. It’s only been a few weeks since the campaign started, but if we’re to go by the positive response received, then we would say yes, we’ve helped move the needle. Of course we’re never satisfied, so a little more overachievement would be welcome.

 What were the major hurdles that you encountered to put the campaigns together and how did you overcome them?

The point that won our pitch to Wikipedia, I believe, was our insistent proposal to tell a truly Nigerian story as part of a global company’s first campaign in the Nigerian market, and there is no greater to African story than Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

Getting Pete Edochie to play the role was obviously the toughest part. We flew to Enugu to meet with him, and it was a great meeting. Chief Edochie is a real Igbo chief, so we spent most of the morning drinking his wine, hearing stories and history from him. When we got around to discussing the script, he insisted we read it right there. Immediately we finished, he told me it was a great story, and he was going to do it. It was a relief, and more importantly, validation for the direction we took. From then on, it was a matter of scheduling.

Our second hurdle was that it became apparent to us that no one could play a character loosely based on Okonkwo, better than Pete Edochie – who played it in the original NTA TV series. We were also caught in the significance of the moment, and tried as much as we could to re-assemble many of the cast members from the original Things Fall Apart production. This is where we have to be very thankful to Chief Edochie, who helped to make this happen. Chief Nduka Eka, for example, who played the role of Mazi Obi-Erika in the Wikipedia production, played Ezeudu in the original production, and we were lucky to have him.

With the Emmanuella Goes to School production, we had put in a lot of work for the shoot in Port Harcourt, but after the first cut, it was obvious to everyone at the production level that the content needed to be better. I’m really grateful that the Mark Angel team agreed with that instinct, and the entire thing was reshot.


What informed your decision to use the Mark Angel outfit and Pete Edochie? Pete Edochie especially seems to me like an unlikely choice?

With the Things Come Together story, it was an easy choice. It’s important to note that Wikipedia wasn’t the first brand we had pitched this storytelling style to, and even at other times when we talked to brands about doing a similar production, Pete Edochie was our first choice. He’s a legend, and it was an honour to work with him. He’s of course a sensational internet meme, even though he is not on social media himself. So he’s definitely a cultural influencer, even though he’s from a different generation.

The Mark Angel skit was written for a slightly different audience from the one we were targeting with the Things Come Together story. Emmanuella and Mark are wildly talented, and are a real internet phenomenon. So working with them was also really easy. The story was written for them, so we didn’t have to go looking for actors. The Mark Angel comedy videos previously released by their team appeal to the right target audience, which is coincidentally the same one Wikipedia needed to share their content with. At the end of the day, it just made sense.

 The campaign is already a sensation on the social media. What were the KPIs you set and to what degree have they been achieved?

I’m not sure I’m allowed to communicate the client’s KPIs publicly. However, I can say we met those in the first week, and met our internal KPIs in the second week.

Is it a one-off campaign or are there other phases to it. If yes please elaborate?

I believe Wikipedia has an ongoing interest in the Nigerian market, and the Wikimedia Nigeria User Group is here to stay. I’ve also been told that the entire Wikipedia group has adjusted it’s marketing strategy based on lessons learned from the Nigerian campaign, so I’m sure there will be a continued interest in Nigeria.

 Some people may argue that Wikipedia may be coming a bit too late seeing a number of other players in that space already have the first-comers advantage and they are already established in this market?

Wikipedia has been consistent as one of the most visited internet properties in Nigeria. This is only likely to go up with the increased investment in the market by Wikimedia and the Wikimedia Nigeria User Group. Our campaign is of course designed to improve this already excellent statistic.

 Who came up with the big idea in this campaign, was it your agency or you worked with any of the creative agencies in Nigeria?

From the pitch stage, we had already decided our approach would be to tell Africa’s strongest stories, on one hand, and use the growing internet comedy genre, on the other, to drive popular adoption. There were very minimal changes to the scripts and strategy we delivered at pitch stage, so it would be fair to say the big idea for the campaign came from the Anakle Team.

There were many editorial inputs along the way from our partners, including Wikipedia, Wikimedia Nigeria User Group and even Pete Edochie.

Are there plans by Wikipedia to launch Nigeria specific products as we are seeing with Google and other social media outfits?

There are Nigeria-focused products in a sense. Wikipedia can be used without internet on Free Basics in Nigeria, so there’s a product. However, I believe that Wikipedia would not be making the depth of investments they are making in Nigeria, without planning for country specific developments. For example, the Wikimedia Nigeria User Group is working to improve the level of local Nigerian content on the platform. This is a very important aspect of the work Wikipedia is doing in Nigeria.

 There seem to be a sudden rush for the Nigerian market by some of the international companies, why is that?

Nigeria is the largest internet market in Africa by many metrics. It makes sense that global companies are taking notice and improving the depth of their footprints in the market. But it’s important to note that ad campaigns do not signal market entry. Most of these global companies had already set up offices or maintained a significant presence in the country.

I’m more interested in whether Nigerians are producing for a global audience. We’re living in what I believe is the golden age of Nigeria-mania internationally in both tech and pop culture. The ‘Afrobeats’ genre is booming, and technology companies are receiving investment from around the world, but I still believe we’re barely scratching the surface. We need to build more, tell our stories better, and take the tent outside our shores. That is the prize to aim for.


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