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Babaeko again projects Nigeria on advertising global stage


Chief Executive Officer of X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko

• Named in Adweek’s Creative 100
An American author and publisher, Orison Swett Marden, once wrote, “success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.”The above quote sums up the courage of one of Nigeria’s finest advertising creatives, Steve Babaeko, CEO/Chief Creativity Officer at X3M Ideas, who despite harsh economic conditions has sustained a brand that is admired and recognised globally in the last seven years.

Following his recent selection by Adweek, a frontline American media conglomerate and the gatekeeper of the global marketing practice, as one of this year’s top 100 Creative 100, Babaeko described the feat as shocking but exciting.According to him, “I was driving home and somewhere almost 20 minutes away from my house and I just said let me refresh my email because I never joke with clients’ emails.  Then I saw the email. At first, I couldn’t comprehend it. So, I checked further and received other correspondents.

“Then, I realised they were quite serious and they were passionate about getting me to attend the event, which is slated for today, June 18. David Griner, one of the key guys and digital managing editor at Adweek has taken me through all the steps we needed to do. Yes, I feel really excited about it.”


Given yearly, the highly respected Adweek lists deserving practitioner for its Creative 100 are termed as, ‘Most Fascinating People in Marketing, Media and Culture for the year’.Adweek had announced last week in New York office for the 2019 edition, “Defining creativity can be, at once, both obvious and impossibly nuanced. As the lines between marketers and makers continue to blur, creative talents are crossing over into culture in more ways than ever before.”

Adweek further stated, “each year, Adweek celebrates the Creative 100, a roster of gifted professionals who inspire current and future generations not only with their work but also their passion for creativity across advertising, media, art, literature, animation and more.”

It is also worthy to note that Babaeko has consistently championed the cause of the practice beyond the shores of Nigeria onto the global stage, particularly merits the reputable international publication’s listing as one of the most fascinating Creative 100. His company, X3M Ideas, has been able to fuse traditional Advertising, New media, Data, Music, and content generation, and production and more into making sense of marketing the clients’ brands.

How did X3M Ideas get to the multiple vantage points within such a short time frame as seven years?

Steve reacts this way:
“I tell you from the very first day we started this company, we didn’t come here to play second fiddle to nobody. We came here to ‘play’ if you can’t play hard you better go home. From day one, we were determined to take the company to the global stage.  We wanted to be the best of local agencies providing world-class services to our clients. We’ve done that at local fronts. Name all of the awards, we’ve been there either as a jury or as a speaker from Loeries to African Cristal to Cannes to New York Advertising Festival, we’ve done it consistently.”

The X3M Ideas’ CEO continued, “with our African expansion drives to Johannesburg, Lusaka in Zambia to South Central Africa among others, we are already playing in the big league of this profession today, and I’m very proud of myself and my team.”To all intent, this is the coming of a new face of the Nigerian advertising industry to the world. In a couple of days, Babaeko will be speaking to the world at the Cannes Lions Festival in France on the theme: “Telling the Authentic African Story.” 

Revealing part of his case film to be presented at Cannes, he said, “to show the communication materials for Glo and zeroing on how the brand has consistently used local nuances, relevance and local materials to tell the story of this fantastic African brand among others.”

Babaeko feels appreciative being vested with the onerous responsibility of consistently flying the Nigerian flag to the world. “I feel honoured,” he said. “It showed we are closer to the main laurels than we think.”Industry figures across the globe have queued behind international marketing publication to shower encomium on the future-forward practitioner.

Reacting to the development, renowned documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, director and producer, Femi Odugbemi, thrilled by the recognition, said, “great work speaks for itself, louder than you can.”

The internationally acclaimed cinematographer added that the honour is “well deserved and well done.”In the same vein, ex-international football star and accomplished sports administrator, Olusegun Patrick Odegbami, while urging Steve to continue in his winning strides, said, “congrats as I add my humble voice to recognition beyond the unappreciative home front. Go and conquer the world, Steve. We are watching and hailing!”

Also, brand analyst, Ikem Okuhu, described Adweek as the Forbes 500 and Fortune 500 of the world of advertising. “To be named among the top 100 in the world of creativity is something the entire advertising industry should celebrate. Nigeria has not come this close since the history of advertising in Nigeria and with all that has been happening around the industry of late, it’s clear Nigeria is arriving the world stage with strong statements.

“For Steve, this is a reward for his restless spirit that has seen him spearhead the astronomical growth of a young agency within just a few years. It’s also a message to entrepreneurs that the horizon is wide put there for those who conquer their fears and venture to create something new, something different.

‘The world is looking to see the true Nigerian stories through the prism of our Advertising messages. That an agency that is not affiliated to any foreign agency made this cut is much more significant. As a matter of fact, it would have been impossible for Steve to have come this far had his agency been affiliated with some foreign outfit. It’s really something Nigerians should be proud of. It’s a personal trophy for him but it’s also an industry milestone for Nigerians in the creativity business,” he said.The Managing Director/CEO, First Katalyst Marketing Limited, Soji Odedina, declared Steve Adweek’s feat as a “well-deserved honour.”

Olumuyiwa Bamigboye, COO, Brand Align Communications expressing his pleasant surprise on the honour said, “Whao! Steve Babaeko is synonymous to advertising in Nigeria, now worldwide.”

For the United Kingdom-based Wavecrest Head of Marketing, ‘Tope Ayedun, Steve being featured on the Adweek’s Creative 100 makes a piece of “Fantastic news,” he said while urging him not to rest on his oars but “Keep flying.”


Godwin Oriaku, Sales Director, BookWin waxing philosophical on the development said, “creativity yet another Godly attribute that attracts like a magnet.”  He counsels, “the minor in your creative space is the major waiting for explosion somewhere, congratulations.” Similarly, Abelini Richard Oshinibosi, Project Marshal, Abelinis Ltd, described Steve as “Platinum shark heading for Global dominance”.

Also reacting another key industry player and former President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria and Managing Director, TBWA/Concept, Nigeria, Kelechi Nwosu, said, “I am sure you deserve it and that you will represent our industry well. Big congratulations Steve, well done,” just as Don G. Nwaokocha also noted, “you’ve done the industry proud. You deserve all the accolades. God always honours a humble man. Keep going for the stars.”

For Steve, “things have changed and highly optimistic that the only way to go is up for the country creative industry. Five-six years ago nobody would have thought of picking anybody from this part of the world but that’s changed today,” he noted.  “I’m hoping this will open more doors so that young creative people coming up will join this list global renown creatives … We’re really hoping that that happens.”


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