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We Judge Ourselves Brutally

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

ONEWILDCARD stood out as one of the high-achieving young agencies at the 2020 Pitcher Awards with a number of their campaigns gaining recognition. The Platinum Resume won Bronze, the voice of Freedom was shortlisted and the Election Padi also won a Bronze. This is quite impressive considering the stature of agencies that made the shortlist at the awards programme. As part of the series on the 2020 winners, we reached out to the founder and creative director of the agency, Kayode Olowu to share the agency's story with us and it was an exciting and engaging conversation.

Kayode Olowu, Founder and Creative Director ONEWILDCARD

What prompted the name OneWildCard?

Wildcard is a fascinating concept; imagine a card whose value (what it’s worth, colour or any other property) is decided by whoever is holding it. I believe one (wildcard) is enough to make a change.

Onewildcard started in the midst of doubts/fear of what could go wrong and hope/excitement about what’s possible, I literally took my fate in my hands when it all started. Eminem’s opening lines in “loose yourself” sums it up.

"We make things people want, we make people want things". We came across this on your website, please could you elaborate?

There’s this quote from Paul Rand, “Everything is Design. Everything”. If you take a moment to look around you, everything you can see, the buildings, the cloth lines, the cars, the bookshelf, the transformer at your street junction, the pile of sugarcane in the wheelbarrow, the buttons on your jacket, your body, the shaping, the placement… everything is designed. As a multidisciplinary design agency, we understand our role and influence on people, businesses and the environment.

“We make things people want” This addresses our clients’ wishes and business goals.

“Use your expertise to amplify my business” – we make it

“Use your expertise to improve my process” – we make it

“We make people want things” Every marketing communication or communication design effort is ultimately to get people to choose you, your product or service over the available alternative(s). At ONEWILDCARD, we help businesses to amplify their essence and by extension make people (their target audience) want and choose them.

Within just 3 years in the game, you've carved a niche for yourself working with a number of clients including UBA, Leadway Pensure PFA , Sterling Bank Plc, Kilimanjaro Restaurants, Bavent Street Live (The Burna Boy Show & One Night Stand with Adekunle Gold – ONSWAG), MarketSquare, Pizza Jungle, Heckerbella, The NET among others. This is quite impressive, tell us more about the journey so far?

Hmmm, the journey! Rough, tough fun and all. It’s been all shades of what it is to run a business, especially in Nigeria. I‘m grateful for the people I have around me; family and friends, my team and people who took bets on us, clients who believed in this “foolish” thought, these are the people who make things work, they are the ones who give me the kick on days when I don’t feel like leaving my bed.

Onewildcard - “Young” Agency making major moves, gets 6 nominations at 2019 LAIF Awards. This is big ! What is your perception on smaller agencies taking the risk to enter awards looking at their budget side of things compared to big agencies ?

I’ve learnt that doing small things require some energy, you need just a little more of that energy to do big things, so why not do the “little more” for the big things.

It isn’t about entering awards, it’s about doing works that are award-worthy. If you do great works then the risk goes out of the window. For every work we’ve entered for awards, a lot more were not, and that’s because, internally, we judge ourselves brutally and if any work scales that hurdle then it’s in.

A good number of your works got nominated for the 2020 Pitcher Awards. The Platinum Resume won Bronze, the voice of Freedom was shortlisted and the Election Padi also won a Bronze. This is impressive considering the stature of agencies that won in the Pitcher Awards. Tell us how your clients received the news and if this will serve as a motivation for you to do more.

The news was well received and it reassured them of their choice (to have us as their partner agency) as a wise one. Yes, it’s a validation of the team’s effort and an encouragement to do more/greater works.

Do you have immediate ambitions to compete at the Cannes Lions stage?

Ambition feels quite strong. Intention? Yes. Immediate? Maybe not.

What type of training or preparation drills are you offering your team to help sustain this vision?

Our culture code keeps us in check at all times and it’s what drives the vision. You can read more about it on our website. Beyond this, we have our daily habits that help build mental muscle within the team.

With your experience in creativity across the globe, what do you think African agencies should be doing at this time to gain greater international prominence?

“You will never become older than your older sibling” so bring the battle to your turf. Find and own a spot nobody else can fit into, do it like nobody else would have done it.


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