As the President of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Enyi Odigbo did not just shy away from publicity, he ran from the media. He is one man who seems so remote yet very loud with incredible imprints. His words are few and chosen but his actions could be seen, felt and heard across the industry and beyond.
For instance, CASERS Advertising Agency, which he founded 25 years ago, has grown into one of the most formidable advertising agencies in Nigeria. With its affiliation and transmutation into DDB, the agency has grown in leaps and bounds churning out winning creatives.
Other off-shoots clearly testify of a man who is set to rule and dominate his industry. His brain child, Lagos advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) has grown to become the annual industry's most credible event in advertising calendar that benchmarks players by recognising, honouring and celebrating creativity. It is also on record that he rebranded AAAN.
At the last edition of LAIF, his agency once again demonstrated its creative ability by dominating the medals table-winning 24 awards in all, a medal shy of the agency that led the medal table.
So, when Marketing Edge magazine named and honoured this advertising czar with the prestigious title of Brand Personality of the Year 2011 Award, they simply amplified his endorsement by the global community as an innovative, resourceful and dogged man. Odigbo was nominated as one of the world's top agency innovators and breakthrough thinkers at the 2011 Global Innovators summit in New York.
Speaking at the high profile event held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos to honour Odigbo, John Ajayi, publisher and CEO of Marketing Edge, said the choice of the CASERS Group Chairman as Brand Personality Award was informed by his "doggedness, thoroughness and indeed incomparable but admirable entrepreneurial spirit.
This he has painstakingly and passionately demonstrated over the years in championing the cause of advertising and marketing practice over the years." He added that his recent nomination as one of the world's top agency innovators and breakthrough thinkers at the 2011 Global Innovators summit in New York clearly placed him in the elite group and pantheon of advertising agency executives and marketing leaders worldwide.
On the essence of the award Ajayi said "We initiated this award, first as a way of identifying and celebrating personalities and individuals who have impacted and imparted greatly in the business of brand management and the management of brand business as well as attained a high equity in the industry. We thought again about the need to create a social networking platform through which we can celebrate individuals and personalities that have built iconic image for themselves through their activities in the industry."
Who wears the Brand Personality of the Years crown, Ajayi explained, emerges through a thorough and painstaking process conducted by industry experts who are versatile in contemporary issues and developments, especially in the area of business success and volume growth, but also in terms of contributions to the industry.
With an impressive career profile, which started at Beecham as brand manager through Nigeria Breweries Limited, Odigbo was later to move to ad agency (Insight Grey). Having horned his ad skill, Odigbo's creative spirit compelled him to set out on an entrepreneurial adventure by establishing Casers Limited in 1987.
The agency became affiliated with DDB Worldwide Communication Inc the largest global advertising network in January 2000. Encouraged by DDB's success story, Odigbo set up other companies including Capital Media; a media independent company, BBDO West Africa, another advertising agency with international affiliation to the Omnicom Group; Magenta Consulting; a brand management ad design company. He chairs all of them.
Given his tremendous successes in the industry the cap no doubt perfectly fits Enyinnaya Chikezie Odigbo.
In attendance to share in his moment of glory were A-list players in the integrated marketing communication industry. They include his former boss, a doyen of advertising, chairman Troyka Group, Chief Biodun Shobanjo (he was the first recipient of the award); former managing Director of Samsung West Africa, Idy Enang; Managing Director, DDB, Ikechi Odigbo; his long time friend and ad man Willie Nnorom who also doubled as the chairman of the occasion; Nestle Nigeria Executive Director, Mrs. Iquo Ukoh; Noah's Ark CEO, Lanre Adisa among many others. They all paid him glowing tributes.
Shobanjo recalled with nostalgia Odigbos days at Insight Communication having moved from the client side, a move that hardly happened in those days. For Idy Enang, his presence at the event was in recognition of the iconic stature of Odigbo
But the most-touchy tribute was from his long-standing friend and colleague, Mr. Nnorom, who took the audience through their lives journey from secondary school days at Umuahia, in Abia State to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where they both studied zoology before they "found light" and veered off into advertising and how a man they fondly nicknamed "Sha" has transformed to a "Czar".
The high point of the evening was the unveiling of the special edition of Marketing Edge magazine in his honour.