The Pitcher Festival of creativity kicked off with the See It Be It Africa programme at 10:00 am with a brief talk about See It Be It Africa by Adebola Adebulugbe, Creative Team Lead at Leo Burnett and Cannes Lions See It Be It alumni.
Then we had the first panel session titled “How Can Diversity Improve the Quality of Creativity and Storytelling?” The panelists included Nnenna Onyewuchi, co-founder and Director of Strategy at Yellow Brick Road; Temitope Jemerigbe, Managing Director, DKK Nigeria; Jayne Okoronkwo, Executive Director/COO at Media Integra Concepts Ltd; and Yaa Boateng, Cannes See It Be It Alumni, Ghana. Dara Atewologun served as the moderator for the panel.
With decades worth of experience to draw from, the panelists discussed the advantages of diversity in creative environments, the conflicts that come with differences in gender, age, and personality type, and how to overcome them to achieve more harmony in the midst of diversity .
“The most creative ideas often come from the tension between different points of view,” said Nnenna Onyewuchi. “It only becomes a problem when no one is listening. Sometimes the friction can cause heat, but that heat can purify the idea.”
The discussion also touched on the difficulties women face while working in male-dominated spaces in the creative industry. The panelists warned that for most of them, the journey to the top would not be an easy one.
“The fight will come, and it may look like it will never be resolved, but it is part of the business,” said Jayne Okoronkwo. “Expect it, prepare for it, but don’t lose your head. You will also get over it, and you will tell your own story soon.”
Then, by 11:00 am, we had the second and final See It Be It panel titled “Striking a Balance Between Meritocracy and Gender Inclusiveness.” The members of the panel were Tola Obi, COO CenterspreadGrey and Board Member at Orange Academy; Funmilayo Falola, Head of Brand & Marketing Commmunications, Wema Bank; Biodun Adefila, Chief Operating Officer, SO& U; and Ngozi Nkwoji, Marketing Manager, Communications and Sponsorship, Nigerian Breweries Plc.
To further clarify gender inclusiveness, Biodun Adefila said, “It is not about women looking for favours or handouts, but about giving women with equally valuable skills the opportunity to be relevant in the industry.”
From their own experiences, the panelists agreed that the upper strata of the creative industry is still male-dominated. But they also argued that women who dedicate themselves to honing their skills will definitely make progress, even though they will find it a little tougher than their male counterparts. They agreed that if senior women in the creative industry were more approachable, and did more to mentor younger ones, it would go a long way in helping the young women move up the ranks.
The panelists also urged women not to rely only on their conventional school degrees, but to build merit through internships, online courses, and other skill-boosting opportunities. And that wrapped up the See It Be It Africa 2020 programme.
Then, by 12 noon, the Pitcher Talks began. The first was a keynote presentation titled “Prosperity and African Creativity: In Search of our Wakanda”, by Dr. Tunji Olugbodi, Executive Vice Chairman and Group Chief Executive officer of Verdant Zeal Group. It was centered on how African creativity can contribute more to the continent’s GDP, and be fully developed as a source of prosperity for the African people. Dr. Tunji outlined the major barriers to achieving this, emphasizing the lack of sustainable structure as the biggest challenge. But he stressed that things are getting better, and that we are now more than able to tackle those challenges and make Africa a wealthier continent.
He said, “We have our issues and our challenges, but the truth is, Africa is indeed on the rise…We just need to change our narrative and strengthen the structures that help us tell our stories in the right way, at the right time, and to the right people.”
The next session, by 1:00 pm was a panel discussion moderated by Rufai Oseni titled “How Will the Creative Industry in Africa Fare Under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement?” The panelists included Kelechi Nwosu, Managing Director at TBWA Nigeria; Morayo Afolabi Brown, Director of Programmes at TVC Communications; Kwame Senou, Founder of Opinion & Public, Cote d’ Ivoire; and Tolu Adedeji, Marketing Director at AB In Bev Nigeria & Ghana.
They debated the key components of the AfCFTA as it affects the creative industry, including tariffs, competition policies, and intellectual property. They also voiced their appreciation and reservations towards the Agreement, and the demands it will place on the creative industry of individual countries and Africa as a whole. All panelists agreed that while the AfCFTA is a welcome move, it is only one small step, because we still have a long way to go in uniting the African creative industry. It was suggested that the countries involved in the agreement should take time to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses in order to bring their best to the intra-continental market and make sure their work reflects the best parts of them.
The next session was a panel discussion moderated by Collins Teke, founder of Black Voice Media, titled “Creativity and Governance – What Can Governments Do to Promote the Creative Industry and How Can Creativity Help Endear the People to the Government.” The panelists included Dr .Tendai Mhizha, Chief Executive Officer, Insight Publicis, Lagos, ably represented by Tunde Shobanjo, Business Director, Leo Burnett; Yinka Adebayo, Executive Director Media Investments – OMG WCA; and Steve Babaeko, CEO, X3M Ideas.
The panelists deliberated extensively on the current state of the government’s relationship with the creative industry in the African context. They agreed that the creative industry has so much to offer the government in terms of revenue generation, policy promotion, and reduction of unemployment. However, apart from setting up a few regulatory bodies, the government has more or less ignored the creative sector, and the industry is thriving mainly through individual effort. They urged the government to provide more support for the creative industry in terms of funding and access to credit. They also emphasized the need for younger people in governance, who will better be able to relate with young creatives.
“The creative sector is one sector that is closest to the people which the government is trying to govern,” said Yinka Adebayo. “There is nothing as good as appealing to people with their own passion.”
The last Pitcher Talks session for Day 1 of the Pitcher Festival, titled “Finding Happines” brought together members of the Noah’s Ark Communications team, and Maltina, one of their client brands, to discuss the inspiration behind the “Happiness” theme in their “Share Happiness” campaign. Maltina was represented by Ngozi Nkwoji, Marketing Manager of Maltina’s umbrella company, Nigerian Breweries Plc, while the Noah’s Ark team comprised Lanre Adisa, the agency’s CEO & Chief Creative Officer; Jumoke Akinyele, its Business and Brand Management Lead; and Elizabeth Ughoro, its Copy Group Head.
From 3:00-3:45 pm, they discussed how they arrived at the Happiness theme, and the importance of finding happiness in the little things in life, while waiting for the big things to happen. The topic is especially relevant in a time like this when the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global recession, making both the present and the foreseeable future look rather bleak. The panelists also identified trust, openness and functional competence as the elements that lead to better agency-client relationships.
Then, to round up the day on a lighter note, we had the Karaoke Bar, a delightful one hour live display of songs, comedy and spoken word pieces by young talents.
And by 5:00 pm, the first day of the Pitcher Festival of Creativity came to a close.
To join day 2 of the Pitcher Festival, visit www.pitcherfestival.com sign up as community member, then proceed to programmes page to watch all the seminars. The good part is even if you missed day one events, they still available on demand.