When fate changes its course in your life, there is no way your life would remain the same. For me, fate's journey began in March 2017 when I became a part of the creativity week under the Future Creative Leaders Academy (FCLA). I remember getting mail from my school (Pan-Atlantic University) which stated that I and two others have been selected to represent the school in a creative competition. To be honest, I was scared because I didn't know much about advertising, but the school signed me up and I had no plans to let them or myself down.
The brief came days later, I had to do a lot of research and consult with close friends. I finally came up with my 'big idea' and the rest was history. I remember my hands shaking during the final draft of my campaign, but I submitted my entry. A week later, we got called into the academy. I met top industry players in Advertising. It was a series of learning and fun with 33 others. We were broken down into 3 groups and handed different briefs. I remember my 'fear factor' was awoken but I knew I wouldn't back down.
On the final day at the academy, we presented our campaign to Mrs. Owodunni, MD, STB McCann. She loved it, made a few corrections and by evening, the awards night began. I was announced first runner up in the Future Creative Leaders Academy (FCLA) category with Fowowe Damilola as the winner and my colleague, Oparaku Chinedu as second runner up. I and my colleagues from school had also won the Best School award. It was a night of victory. For me especially. I, who was scared of Advertising briefs and campaigns had won two awards. I was going to the Dubai Lynx Festival in Dubai. It was a game changer.
Now we are in March 2018, I received a call from CHINI Productions reminding me of the trip to Dubai. I was overwhelmed with joy. On the 10th of March 2018, I left Nigeria for Dubai. The festival began the next day, it wasn't difficult locating the venue which was at the Medinat Jumeirah. My first seminar was by Unilever's Marketing Vice President - Home Care, Ageel Angawi, themed “Creativity with a purpose”, the speaker used the Omo “Dirt is good” campaign as an example for landing this point. He talked about how the idea came to fruition, challenges encountered including the backlash from prospective audiences. In the end, the campaign succeeded. His rationale for this success boiled down to 'purpose'. The purpose for the Omo “Dirt is good” campaign was to bring back the fun times for Arabian kids where they could play without restrictions and getting dirty was okay because Omo was there to ensure cleanliness afterwards.
One of my most interesting seminar was by Fernando Machado, Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King, his presentation was filled with a trainload of knowledge. His presentation titled “Brand Purpose with a Side of Fries” was enlightening. He took us through Burger King's awards chart from 1997 to 2016. It was stable but went downhill from 2013 to 2016; with just one or two awards to its name. Afterwards, Burger King thought of a solution – which was connecting the brand to a purpose – the first was World Peace Day. They took advantage of that and sent an open letter to McDonald's (their biggest rival), with a proposal on how they could merge the ingredients of their most popular burger just to promote peace.
Although McDonald refused, four other smaller brands sent an offer to Burger King and they accepted. Reviews from the target audience (TA) was positive. They found a way to merge their brand with social causes like bullying, social inclusion etc. in a way that you see nothing but a perfect synchronization. By 2017, they had carted away a total of 28 awards which was impressive when compared to their previous record. His words – “This is not CSR, this is the brand's lifestyle” are forever etched in my heart.
A seminar by Omar Al Busaidy on “The art of failing gracefully” was impactful. We have all heard the popular story – Try again – but Omar told this story outlining his experiences including health challenges which all contributed to his business failures. Through his journey, I was able to recognize the importance of balancing the cash flow in your business and why choice of location is just as important as your business capital. In his words, getting customers or clients is usually the least of your worries. Lastly, he said “don't underestimate the knowledge of low income earners like waiters, cab drivers – they have got the greatest business ideas.”
The highlight of my experience was the workshop cube with the CEO of CreatorUp, Michael Tringe, who encouraged us to embrace the video revolution using short-form Ads. I wish I could say more but all the experiences garnered from the Dubai Lynx Festival 2018 cannot be detailed in words. At the beginning, I said my fate changed. Yes, it did. How? Marketing Communications is my home. At first, I did not know where life would lead me in terms of a career path. CHINI Productions, through its academy, paved a way and I am entirely grateful.
By Davina Nwawuihe