Trophy Stout makes history as first Nigerian brand shortlisted for Cannes Lions Festival

By Zion Rufus

Nigeria has achieved a momentous milestone at the renowned Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, as Trophy Stout becomes the first-ever Nigerian brand to be shortlisted. The iconic “Reclaim Your DNA” campaign spearheaded by AB InBev and Dentsu Creative Africa has garnered international recognition for its compelling message and innovative approach.

The campaign’s primary objective was to seek reparation for the stolen artifacts looted by British colonial troops during the invasion of the ancient Benin Kingdom’s wealthy capital in 1897.

At the heart of the historic campaign was Trophy Stout, the only indigenous stout brewed in Nigeria. Through the “Reclaim Your DNA” campaign, the brand aimed to raise awareness about the ongoing impact and cultural vandalism caused by British colonialism.

Trophy Stout, in collaboration with Dentsu Creative Africa, embarked on this mission to exert pressure on the UK Government to return the famous Benin Bronzes to Nigeria, thereby protecting the nation’s cultural heritage.

To maximize the reach of the campaign, hundreds of thousands of Trophy Stout cans were branded with the “Reclaim Your DNA” message, complemented by out-of-home (OOH) advertisements and engaging social activations.

The campaign’s strategy was to mobilize Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people, urging them to unite and put pressure on the UK Government for the return of the Benin Bronzes.

As a powerful patriotic gesture, Nigerian artists were commissioned to create new artworks inspired by the iconic sculptures. This initiative sought to draw attention to the absence of the Benin Bronzes from their rightful home.

For AB InBev, the campaign provided an opportunity to connect with a vast audience of Nigerian stout drinkers and showcase the brand’s commitment to their needs. Unlike other stout brands, such as Guinness, Trophy Stout is brewed locally in Nigeria, making the campaign not only a commercial imperative but also a moral responsibility.

The “Reclaim Your DNA” campaign became Trophy Stout’s way of championing Nigerian and African culture while working towards its preservation. It aimed to reconnect Nigerians with the elements that define them as a people and foster a sense of Black pride.

Key artworks were created by artists Valentine “Vee” Ondwudinjo, Maxwell Dewunmi, and Godiva Omoruyi, who drew inspiration from the Ife Head, Benin Ivory Mask, and Head of an Oba. The campaign also employed augmented reality (AR) filters, allowing Nigerians to add their faces to the digital designs. This interactive feature aimed to amplify the calls for the return of the Benin Bronzes and engage individuals in the movement.

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity recognition is a testament to the exceptional creativity, innovation, and social impact of the “Reclaim Your DNA” campaign and Trophy Stout’s historic achievement sets a precedent for Nigerian brands as it further  underscores the importance of cultural preservation and advocacy within the advertising industry.

Trophy Stout is an indigenous Nigerian brand known for its exceptional stout beer. Brewed locally in Nigeria, Trophy Stout has established itself as a symbol of Nigerian identity and cultural pride.


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