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William Lawson’s Naija Highlandah Challenge: A postscript

By Muhammed Ahmed Nurudeen
04 December 2022   |   4:23 am
October 6, 2022, when William Lawson's announced its unique and disruptive campaign, 'The Naija Highlandah Challenge’, not a few people wondered how it would go.

Akinwale Awatt… with Naija Highlandah trophy

October 6, 2022, when William Lawson’s announced its unique and disruptive campaign, ‘The Naija Highlandah Challenge’, not a few people wondered how it would go.

There was a sense of a friendly atmosphere at the Bamboo Lounge in Ikeja GRA, where details of the challenge were shared with the media after stunts earlier that day. There was plenty to eat and drink while people participated in some games.

The real games would come later, as people competed for a chance to be at the grand finale. Before the media unveiling that evening, William Lawson’s Highlandahs had stormed major streets and bus stations in Lagos. They visited the Oshodi and Ikeja Bus Terminals, where they paid the bus fares of random Nigerians to the delight of beneficiaries and other members of the public.

The organisers later disclosed that the Challenge would run in two main phases from October 13 to November 12, 2022. The first phase will focus on recruiting the participants and having them participate in the challenges.

They explained that the competition was open only to 18-year-olds and above who have the guts to take up the challenge. The star prize? Two million naira and an all-expenses paid trip to Scotland, where the whisky is brewed.

“William Lawson’s is known for defying the norm, making its own rules and being brazenly different, just like our liquid. This is the kind of person we are looking for, someone with a true Highlandah attitude. We know Nigeria is full of Highlandahs, but only one person will have the guts to be William Lawson’s Naija Highlandah. I challenge everyone to participate if they dare – we look forward to bumping fists with the Naija Highlandah!” Lerato Makume, Bacardi Marketing Manager for Nigeria, later said that evening.

What followed the launch event was four amazing weeks of excitement at lounges, bars and supermarkets across Lagos as people jumped on the fun train to compete for a shot at the grand finale and the chance to win the grand prize of N2 million and a trip to Scotland. In the first activation week, 392 people registered and played in some good-humoured, bold and unconventional games.

The good-humoured challenges were spin the bottle, animal imitation and balloon games, while the unconventional were the Kaku Meter and the Pull No Spill.

For Kaku Meter, the contestants attempted to guess the length of the bar counter – measured according to the length of a horizontally laid William Lawson’s bottle. In ‘Pull No Spill’, each contestant was allocated a William Lawson’s branded cup filled to the brim.

Using a tissue from a toilet roll, they pulled the glass toward themselves without wetting the tissue. They were judged on who got the cup closest to themselves in 30 seconds.

The number of game participants increased from 392 to 443 in the second week, affirming the growing popularity of the challenge. Of the 392 that participated in week one, 38 scored 80 points, qualifying them for the grand finale. Only 12 bold people with guts and wits scored the qualification mark (80) for the grand finale in week two.

Impressively, the number further rose to 574 contestants in week three. Of these, 24 people scored 80 points and above. By the last activation week at Fish Farm, Ogudu, Ice Age, Abule-Egba, Busy Body, Ikotun and Jendol, Abule-Egba and Ikorodu and Just Rite happened, the numbers had further increased. The increment was such that organisers had to conduct a screening the Tuesday preceding the grand finale on Saturday, November 12, at The Stable, Union Bank Sports Ground, Bode Thomas, Surulere. Eventually, 15 final contestants, 13 male and two female, emerged to earn their place at the grand finale and a shot at the star prize. In the end, over 4,500 people took part in the campaign’s activation phase, which was held in lounges, bars, and supermarkets.

The grand finale itself was no less dramatic than the activation phase. There was plenty of entertainment from ARB Band, and many more. There were also fun games, including giant board games, snooker board, soccer table board, card games, games from the activations, rodeo bull ride and photo ops.

In the end, Akinwale Awatt, an Economics undergraduate at the National Open University (NOUN), emerged as the winner of the exciting challenge, earning a trip to Scotland and a cash award of N2 million.

“I want to thank William Lawson for allowing me to compete and take home the Naija Highlandah trophy. It has motivated many Nigerians, including myself, to come out in big numbers and be fearless. I am thrilled to be a part of it and looking forward to the trip to Scotland,” Awatt gushed after his victory.

Lerato Makume, Bacardi Marketing Manager in Nigeria, also hailed him. “We are proud of Awatt and are pleased to have him on board as the first Naija Highlandah for William Lawson’s. Awatt embodies the qualities of William Lawson’s of bucking convention, setting your own rules, and being daringly different. Our customers enjoyed The Naija Highlandah Challenge, and we will surely be back,” she said.

At its commencement, no one would have imagined that the Naija Highlandah challenge by William Lawson’s, the classic blend of empowering and daring scotch whisky, would attract such interest. Both males and females participated, with women taking on some male-centred games. The decision to have a giant out-of-home Highlandah balloon at the Maryland junction was a masterstroke that further pushed the envelope of out-of-home activations in Nigeria. Of course, there have been inflatables before, but none of the size of the Highlandah one that turned heads and set tongues wagging.
Though this first edition has gone, according to William Lawson’s, Nigerians should expect the next outing soonest.