Nigerian agencies rebuff Loeries competition

Despite its aggressive marketing efforts to get a sizeable number of creative agencies to enlist in the 2018 creative contest holding in Durban ,South Africa next week, only a few agencies would be taking part as most renowned Creative shops have snubbed the continental competition.

In 2016, three agencies from Nigeria participated in the showpiece, last year the number rose to seven, an encouraging sign for the South African event. This year Andrew Human, Loeries CEO, and his team were hoping for a bigger participating from Nigeria but they have been disappointed by the level of nonchalance and lukewarmness from Nigeria creatives. MARKETING EDGE gathered that less than seven agencies have enlisted for the contest.

And overall, the number of entries from individual agencies have been smaller. One executive close to the event told MARKETING EDGE that most Nigerian agencies are just not interested. He noted that even though Nigerian creatives are competitive in nature and love to take part in creative award shows, the level of their involvement in this year’s Loeries have been abysmal and disappointing, contrary to what many expected. “Perhaps it is because of the dwindling fortunes of the advertising industry in Nigeria. Many of the agencies have been struggling for survival, so they don’t think Loeries is a priority,” he said.

But findings by MARKETING EDGE showed that it is not just about the economy of the agencies, it also has to do with the failure of the organizers to adequately make Nigerian agencies see the worth and value of the award to their craft. They are not persuading by the low profile of Loeries and its weak brand appeal beyond the South African boundaries. Many of them still see Loeries as a South African event, even though there has been concerted effort by the Loeries Organisation to expand the geographical spectrum of Loeries entries through direct engagement with agency executives across the continent and beyond.

Such sentiments have been reinforced by the unimpressive outcomes of Nigerian agencies at Loeries over the years, which does not seem to be a true reflection of the industry’s capability. Last years, out of the seven agencies that sent in entries, there was only one winner- 7Even Interactive, which won a bronze. (Indeed 7Even Interactive was the only winner from the whole West Africa). Interestingly, a few months later, at the African Cristal, which is equally a continental award, Nigerian agencies came out in flying colours; winning loads of awards including a couple of Grand Prixes.

For example Noah’s Ark which won nothing at Loeries, they took home 10 Cristals, including a Grand Prix and the highly coveted African Agency of the Year Award. X3M Ideas also left Loeries 2017 empty handed but few months later at the African Cristal it got 13 medals including a Grand Prix, SO&U also won gold at African Cristal. So while Nigerian agencies dominated the more diverse African Cristal, their outing at Loeries was woeful.

Such contrasting outcomes has helped to deepen insinuation of South African prejudice against the Nigerian agencies, such that many are beginning to wonder if Loeries is worth the trouble. The contrast was further amplified when Noah’s Ark’s “Lost” won gold at the 2017 Epica, a global award, on the same day that South Africa’s best performance was a bronze.

One top creative from Noah’s Ark, gave credence to the concerns of the Nigeria agencies about Loeries when he was recently asked about his agency’s chances at Loeries 2018, he smiled wryly and sad “if the South Africans don’t do their thing we hope to win.” Such sentiment resonates across the length and breadth of the industry and has helped to dampen morale and interest in the award.

For now, it seem like Loeries still has a long way to go before it can win the hearts of Nigerians. Until then, Cannes Lions, Africa Cristals and Epica remain the go to award to measure true quality and performance in the Nigerian creative firmament.



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