How will you define creativity? And what propelled you to join the creative industry?
Creativity in my opinion is the ingenuity and authenticity carried out while solving problems. It is not only about the outcome it is the entire process leading to the solution.
I did not join the creative industry because I felt I was creative. I have always been restless and curious. I think that, coupled with the fact that I got bored easily. Plus, I needed a place where I did not stand out too much, where I could fit right in.
How do you see the creative and advertising industry in the world? What will you say is the latest development in the creative industry now?
You don't need to be a trend-spotter to see what the creative industry is capable of achieving. It is what it was, what it is and what it will be; without ideas we are dead. That is to say, we need to start using our ideas for ourselves and think beyond advertising and immediate windfalls.
Rather than set up subsidiaries with redundant functions, agencies should invest in companies in other industries with corresponding goal. Like the entertainment industry for instance. Opening the door to entertainment based marketing. These companies have more reach than any agency can ever boast of. Most of all, they create content people want to see. You can see this in the case of Droga5.
Another sure change is that the billing structures will have to be adjusted to fit clientele without a mammoth budget who have products and services worth communicating. Big clients are cutting down budgets. They are taking less risks resulting in less creative works. The smaller clients are our sure bet to getting more risky and creative works done. Mid-size agencies are slowly filling this space.
You won the Miami Ad School Scholarship competition organized by CHINI Productions. Can you tell us your experience at the Miami Ad School and some of the things you learnt?
Yes I did. It was a great opportunity and it has been an eventful journey, one that I am very grateful for. It wasn't always rainbows and butterflies but looking back I would do it all over again. I learnt a lot, from professional skills to life lessons. We were taught how to produce a lot of ideas and sell them. What I got out of it all was that a creative ego is good to have: only when you want to sell a great idea. In the creative process, say a brainstorm or receiving feedback, it is best to check your ego at the door. It does not really help anybody in the room. Nobody cares what you think if you are not solving the problem.
You also won the Cyber Silver Lion in Cannes Lions 2016 making you the first Nigerian with a link to our industry. How was the experience for you?
It felt great to have accomplished something significant and revered amongst people in the industry.
Do you think the creative industry in Nigeria is doing well?
The industry in Nigeria is doing what it can with the cards it's been dealt, namely the Nigerian socio-political landscape. The industry is a reflection of the Zeitgeist of the period it's in.
How can the creative industry in Nigeria rise to global standards?
This question births several thoughts and possible solutions, especially from those within the industry. From an outward view Nigeria has been getting a lot of foreign attention. Very important people are noticing the industry and that is because of the creatives. This only means that the works being done are getting refined to a more universal appeal.
The creatives are thinking outside the geographical space more than ever before. Agencies should invest more in their people getting a concrete worldview rather than buying into international affiliations that don't do much for them. There is a need to trust in the prowess of Nigerian based creatives. If not now, when?
What were your biggest challenges moving into a new country and how did you overcome them?
Surviving the winters. Hahahaha. They have been several challenges from cultural differences to residual racism. You see it from the little things all the way to things that really matter. The only way I know to deal with this is to let character speak for itself. The worst thing one can ever do is succumbing to the blame game and self-pity. Doesn't do anyone any good.
Do you think the Creativity week has helped the various industries which it entails to promote creativity and has supported the creative people over the years?
Absolutely! That's why I am here. It is invaluable. Getting in contact with those who have been ahead of us is highly beneficial. Hearing their stories and learning the ways they solved problems is a big asset. We grow by sharing and that is the essence of the Creativity Week.
We know that the creativity is evolving, various talents and technological innovations have been introduced and are still emerging. What will you say is the future of creativity? How do you think organizations in Africa can rise with their global counterparts?
Technology isn't worth anything without a good idea behind it. Inventions are products of ideas. In the communication industry these innovations are tools and should be treated as such. It is not a gadget's responsibility to come up with a good idea. Yes, they solve problems but I do not believe their primary purpose is to sell products. Using these innovations to creatively advance a brand message is possible and valuable but that is not what is going to get Central and Western Africa global attention.
We are in a different space; we need to take back our narratives, music and art forms. We need to be responsible for telling our own stories and distributing them. That is our international appeal. No one does Africa better than Africans.
What advice will you give to the young creatives emerging in different parts of Africa?
Bet on yourself every time. It does not matter how much you have at risk, always bet on yourself. A bet that isn't on yourself is one against you.