Throwback Thursday: Nostalgic TV commercials

By Abimbola Mohammed

It is no doubt that the way and manner in which Nigerian consumers interacted and engaged with brands have changed a lot from how it used to be in the 1980’s and 90’s. However, some old memories still linger in the minds of the older generation of consumers. The memories may be about an occurrence, incident/accident, stories, experience or happenings. Such memories sometimes find a way to bring joy, tears, emotion or even solutions to an immediate situation or challenge.

Using the art of storytelling is one major way of remembering old occurrences and this is the case of some of the campaigns that ruled the airwaves in the 80s and 90s in Nigeria. A good TV commercial or radio jingle usually excited viewers or listeners, and even prompted a sing along just like we have in this digital age where consumers watch ads on social media platforms with their paid data.

Walking down the memory lane, MARKETING EDGE takes a look at campaigns that touched the hearts of Nigerians at the time. Some commercials were not just about advertising a product or service, but carried messages that tugged directly at the heart of consumers/customers.

MTN ‘life is beautiful’ commercial was shot 18 years ago. Could you believe that? How time flies. The TVC was launched in October 2004, and featured a couple who were in different parts of the world and was able to reach out to one another because of MTN connection. The evergreen commercial was put together by one of the leading Advertising agencies in Nigeria SO&U.

You’d forgive me for sharing almost romance-only MTN commercials if you recall this memorable advert, which had the male actor taking advantage of a captivating, orange-glowing and window-piercing sunshine to remind his dialed up lover of her illuminating presence in his life. “Thanks for bringing sunshine into my life.”

Guinness Sky: This timeless ad was created by the intelligent mind in SO&U. The ad was about a boy named Udeme, who lived in a village but had a big dream to fly in the sky.

“My friend Udeme is a great man. When he was a boy, his teacher asked him where he dreamed of working. “There”, he said and he was true to his dream. If there’s one thing we all love, it’s sky, big-blue sky. And at the end of the day, we gather at the bar. “Let the beer see the sky”, he says…”But not for too long.”

Peak Milk: If you are above a certain age in Nigeria, the line “Papilo, one day I know say you go make us proud” won’t be new to you. Especially because it is linked to Nigerian star footballer, Kanu Nwankwo, also called Papilo.

The commercial tells the story of young Papilo who liked to play football, sent on an errand and displayed his football skills to a woman who was proud of him, hence the saying “Papilo, one day I know say you go make us proud.”

Baba Blue ‘Thank You’ commercial: The TV commercial tells the story of a man charged to court whose lawyer happens to have a cough on the day of his hearing. Baba Blue offered him a menthol candy and his throat was cleared, helping him to win the case and get freedom for the client.

Following a serious tone, humor was introduced to the setting when the man acquitted and discharged thanked Baba Blue saying; “Baba Blue, thank you o. I no go do am again.”

Panadol Extra – Oga Na Master: The 50 seconds TVC was about a man who was a diligent worker who did what was right with respect to his fellow workers, then “strong strong headache” started to affect his productivity. The commercial connected with people because it tells the story of how Nigerians are hardworking people and also because it was infused with some elements of entertainment while making the chorus ‘Oga Na Master’ line a memorable one.

Indomie Noodles ‘Mum Like No Other’ advertising campaign in 20210 highlighed the relationship between a mother and her child. The TVC was built around the theme “Mum like No Other, Noodles Like No Other”. The campaign ran throughout 2010 and beyond.

The company said the campaign was an emotional call to all mothers about how special they are to their children and how important it is for them to contribute to their child’s progress with the right mix of love, care and nutrition. It also brought about a new perspective to the attachment that has been developed over the years between Nigerian children and their beloved Indomie noodles.


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