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Creative advertising receives global nod

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In the last two years, Nigerian agencies have had a healthy competition in the Loeries, an international company administering awards for the brand communications industry in Africa and the Middle East.

Not only have Nigerians agencies competed they have also won awards in different categories.

This year was no exception, as one of the agencies brought home a medal.

Industry insiders are that this would motivate more creative agencies to register more works to compete for the elusive Gold and Silver at the Loeries Creative awards next year. 

 
This year witnessed the highest number of entries as well as participating agencies from Nigeria since the inception of the award event.

According to the organisers, Nigerian agencies have submitted about 90 entries.
 
The Loeries has been rewarding creativity for 40 years, as Africa and the Middle East’s premier award that recognises, rewards, inspires and fosters creative excellence in the advertising and brand communication industry.

It is no wonder that winning a Loeries is the highest accolade for creativity and innovation across the region.

The award promotes and supports creativity by helping marketers, agencies and consumers appreciate the value of fresh thinking, innovative ideas and outstanding execution of advertising briefs.
 
At this year’s ceremony that was held last week in South Africa, a Nigerian agency, Up in the Sky, known for its belief in the power of agency and client collaboration won bronze in the Internet Video category. 

The video that earned the agency the medal is Closed – a short film, which tells the story of a young man, who is struggling to make meaning of his world.

It’s a story of shame, confusion and hope which was crafted for 9mobile (formerly Etisalat) to promote Etisalat (9mobile) Prize for Literature.
 
Also, the creative work has also won awards in Nigeria such as (LAIF awards), West Africa (Pitcher Awards) and Africa/Middle East with the Loeries. 
 
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Up in the Sky, Oje Ojeaga, “For last year’s Prize for Literature campaign, 9Mobile wanted to push the envelop when it came to storytelling like never before.

By opting to create a short film instead of an advert and drawing attention to the widespread problem of illiteracy, we as an agency, were challenged to find a convergence point for literature and film.

It was a challenge we tackled with enthusiasm. Our aim was to tell a story without any dialogue that would still speak to hearts and minds and we are pleased we succeeded in doing that.”

The event saw 287 Loeries awarded across 14 categories including six Grand Prix, 31 Gold, 69 Silver, 113 Bronze, 18 Craft Gold and 50 Craft Certificates.

More than 2,500 entries were received, with 15 per cent of entries from outside South Africa.

A total of 700 brands were represented by 265 agencies from 15 countries across Africa and the Middle East. 
 
Over 170 regional and international industry leaders in their fields, including international jury presidents Fabian Frese, Ian Mackenzie, Nicolas Courant and Sebastian Padilla judged the awards.
 
Culminating in the biggest creative gathering in the region, Loeries Creative Week brings together the best innovative minds from the industry for a festival that offers networking, creative inspiration and the recognition of great works.
 
While commenting about the awards, Chief Operating Officer of Up in the Sky, Idiare Atimomo, said, “This award validates now more than ever that quality wins over quantity.

Good creative work has universal appeal – it transcends language or even culture.

As much as we are happy to have won a bronze medal on our very first submission, we believe we can do much better in the future – and will be working towards it.”

As part of the agency’s future plans, Oje explained, “To be able to compete at the highest level, we need to master excellence in the work we do for clients.

Not just in ideation. Not just in execution. Our entire pipeline must be engineered to deliver a work that holds up to scrutiny from judges around the world.”
 
On the award-winning creative (Closed – a short film), Oje explained how the agency got its inspiration to create the winning work: “All our work is a team effort.

We knew the core idea was to show how a life of illiteracy closed you out from the rest of the world – we just had to find a way to execute that idea that was not obvious and could be done without a single word spoken on screen. 

 
“The director, Tolu Ajayi, was as passionate about the idea as the client was and made invaluable contributions to the script at multiple points in the process.

From the initial idea, we had we built the script further to capture universal human emotions and clearly the cast also delivered in their performance. 
 
“The meaningful impact of this creative can, however, be seen in the comments the agency receives from non-practitioners, the general public – those who felt a strong compassion and understanding for people who are illiterate only after watching Closed, for instance.

That is when we really feel we have made something meaningful and we tend to get such strong emotional responses from the public to all our award-winning work.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, quality awards are a reassurance to the client that you can indeed win new customers and awards at the same time.” 
 
On the impact of the creative, Idiare said, “It has made our existing clientele explore communication options beyond regular advertising.
Films like Closed are the future of advertising; if we don’t make them, someone else will.

Our operational philosophy has not changed – we love to do good work that works.

Our vision for the agency has been to help demystify the practice of advertising by working on our mission which is to deliver simpler, better and faster creative solutions for our clients at all times.”
 
Industry analysts say Up in the Sky has been able to give a good account of itself as a creative agency to look out for on account of its feat at the Loeries.

According to them, ads that speak to shared human experiences tend to perform better on the international scene.

For obvious reasons, if an ad requires a lot of specific cultural references to be understood, it becomes harder for an international jury to appreciate it.

Universal experiences like joy, fear, shame, pain and happiness deployed with skill in an ad, they say, tend to speak to any jury around the world, noting that it is the way to go.
 
About four Nigerian creative agencies have won medals at the Loeries since 2016.

They include Noah’s Ark, 7even Interactive and the latest winners, Up in the Sky, among others.
 
This award could not have come at a better time than now when Nigeria is looking to change the negative image the world has of her.


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