Loeries Awards: Campaigns that won Noah’s Ark accolades

The Loeries Awards which held in Durban, South Africa, has come and gone, but it has left behind fond memories not only for the participants, but to the entire advertising sector.

And back home, one of Nigeria’s representatives at the event – Noah’s Ark Communication Limited –shone like a million stars by clinching three awards – a Campaign Silver in Print Communication: Newspaper Advertising category for Boko Halal’s Project Shoes – Muhammadu Buhari and two Bronze awards in Outdoor / Out of Home advertising for Hypo and Magazine Advertising for UAC Foods’ Gala – Obama.

The abduction of 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok in Northern Nigeria by the Boko Haram Islamist terror group in April 2014 stirred up an outcry from both local and the international community. In this regard, the American First Lady, Michelle Obama pioneered the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag on social media. This campaign was aimed at re-igniting the cry for the government to increase its efforts in securing the safe return of the girls. Although about 60 girls have since returned to their families, over 200 are still missing.

The campaign which won Noah’s Ark the Campaign Silver in Print Communication: Newspaper Advertising had a picture of President Muhammadu Buhari wearing a Hijab. The creative piece which attempted to break the silence on the ‘disappearance’ of the girls features Buhari’s face with a letter from the kidnapped girls with the summarized message: ‘Put yourself in our shoes’.

The Lanre Adisa-led creative agency also had a brilliant idea for Hypo bleach which earned it a Bronze in the Outdoor / Out of Home advertising category. Since its entry into the market some years ago, this brand of hydrochloride-based cleansing agent has successfully won the hearts of low and middle-income earners.

With its pay-off line ‘For whites only’, the agency, capitalizing on the 88th Academy Awards ceremony (aka Oscars) which held on February 28, 2016 where only white actors, directors and producers were nominated, had the picture of an Oscar award plaque turning white with only a bit of gold showing.

Shortly after the Oscars nominations were announced, many media outlets observed that there was a lack of racial diversity amongst the nominees in major categories. For the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees and four out of the five directors nominated were of Caucasian descent. This led to the starting of the hash tag #OscarsSoWhite. Some African-American celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee announced plans to boycott the ceremony and encouraged others to not watch the telecast in protest of the lack of diversity. Comedian Chris Rock was also pressurized to drop out of his Oscar hosting duties.

Back here in Nigeria, the hypothesis was that because Hypo bleach would turn any colour white, it should be used on only white fabrics. The launch of this campaign reportedly saw a 10 percent increase in the demand for Hypo.

The advert which won Noah’s Ark the Loeries award in Magazine Advertising was, UAC Foods’ Gala – Obama. Most regular hustlers in Lagos will have found themselves travelling in traffic either in a private car or public transport, hence, there is the tendency to get hungry.

According to ancient psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, food is one of the strongest needs of man. For the creative team at Noah’s Ark, the bottom line is that no one is bigger than hunger. Just like Twinkies snack cake sold in North America, Gala snack is eaten by all cadres of individuals. Therefore, in the magazine advert, a caricature of American President Barrack Obama is showing him putting his head out of a moving vehicle to purchase Gala.

Also, for years, the Lagos State government has been clamping down on street hawkers, sometimes arresting them and confiscating their goods. And on July 1, it banned street trading with stricter measures, but despite this ban, Lagosians still go out of their way to find Gala.

Although a number of creative works were entered for the Loeries, Noah’s Ark was the only advertising agency from Nigeria to make the final list. According to Clement Omemu, the MD / CEO, Black Sea who was a judge at the Loeries as well as a member of the Regional Advisory committee, the problem of Nigerian advertising agencies is the system.

“In these parts, we struggle with clients who don’t understand marketing communications very well so we are stifled. I would say foreign clients have knowledge of the advertising business. We can’t give everything – our best. Take for example, in Nigeria, an agency will want to put everything in one single ad. But if you tell a foreign client that you don’t have to say everything at once, they might understand you.”

The aim of the Loeries is to showcase the value that creativity adds to brands, businesses, economies and the quality of lives. It also recognises innovative works in brand communication in Africa and the Middle-East.

All works are judged according to five criteria which are an innovative concept – bringing new and fresh thinking, excellent execution, relevance to the brand, relevance to the target audience and relevance to the chosen medium.


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