18 August 2017

Africa: As Africa's Creative Community Gears Up for Contest

John Ajayi writes on the forthcoming Loeries Creative Week competition billed to hold in Durban

"As the creative community in Nigeria, we should be bold and ready to showcase our work for the world to see and also attend Loeries Creative Week in Durban, August. Winning may not be automatic, but valuable lessons from the week-long event will be gained. I hope to welcome a bigger Nigerian contingent this year".

Above quoted were the inspirational words of Andrew Human, Chairman Loeries Awards Company (LAC) organisers of the forth-coming continental creative week, when he came on a road-show trip in Nigeria early this year.

The Loeries are Africa and the Middle East's premiere initiative that recognizes, rewards, inspires and fosters creative excellence in the brand communication industry. In line with the admonition of Human, the Nigerian creative community and indeed their counterparts from across the African and Middle East markets are leaving no stone unturned to slug it out amongst themselves in the creative competition billed to hold 17th - 21st August, 2017. If feelers emanating from the organizers are anything to go by, this year's creative contest will surely surpass popular expectation as entries so far received are already in hundreds of thousands from across African and the Middle East countries.

Emerging facts from the Nigerian creative community have revealed that advertising practitioners under the aegis of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, (AAAN) are hopeful that the country will emerge winners of the various categories in the 38th edition of the continental contest. So far, no fewer than nine advertising agencies have put forward some of their best creative works in the different entry categories while no fewer than twenty-five agencies will be part of the Nigerian contingent due to depart this Saturday in readiness for the event.

As the creative competition gathers momentum, Nigerian contingents have expressed optimism on their winning chances, stating that most of the advertising campaigns produced in the country in recent times were of international standards. "We have done international standard work", disclosed, Mr. Taiwo Agboola, Chief Operating Officer 7EVEN INTERACTIVE Limited. Though he expressed reservation about the ways some agencies entered their works for the awards, he nonetheless believes that there has been consistent growth in the advertising industry in Nigeria as most advertising practitioners that handle client's briefs now ensure that they conform to international standards.

His views were corroborated by the immediate past president of AAAN Mr. Kelechi Nwosu who noted that Nigeria advertising practitioners had a great chance of winning at the 2017 this month.

"Our chances are good at Loeries, but I don't think many Nigerian advertising practitioners entered for it", he noted but observed Loeries is beginning to gain ground in the continent.

For Steve Babaeko, Managing Director of X3M Ideas, the Loeries 2017 award win is a sure bet for his 5year old agency which has radically revolutionised the creative landscape in the country since it debuted. Although he hinted that this would be the first time that his agency would be entering its works for the contest, he stated that X3M Ideas will emerge winner in Loeries Awards contest considering the quality of work it had entered for the contest.

Besides, Babaeko, a debonnaire, soft-spoken advertising expert stated that he has no doubt about the standards of his works which continue to make winning creative awards and laurels a key DNA of the creative shop.

His words:

"We are hopeful that we will win at Loeries this year, as you know X3M Ideas is a top advertising agency in Nigeria and we are known in Africa for winning last year's Crystal Awards in Morocco".

A similar view was expressed by the Managing Director of Peacock Media Ltd, Mrs. Adaora Adheke who said she has no fears about Nigerian creative agencies winning at Loeries in South Africa. According to her, "Nigerian advertising agencies have been participating in awards like Cannes Lions and the Loeries, so, I see no reason why our creative agencies won't come tops in their entry categories". The media strategist, who incidentally is a member of Loeries Jurors said her main mission and focus at this year's event was to ensure that media buying agencies also take part in the Loeries awards next year.

As Nigerian creative community looked forward with hope in emerging winners at the contest, other participants from across the continent would be hoping on winning laurels at the award. Besides the creative competition, a series of activities have been lined up for the pleasure and excitement of participants at the awards. To be sure, no fewer than top ten exciting and fun-filled events have been slated for the weeklong event. Outside of the usual master classes, DStv Seminar and Awards Ceremonies, MARKETING EDGE can authoritatively confirm that participants are due to have a swell time with a potpourri of entertainments and fun.

One of such is a DStv Café which offers participants a fantastic networking hub on the Elangeni beachfront. It is a welcoming activity for meals and drinks on Friday to Sunday. This will be followed Saturday with Be Smart - take a ride in a smart forfour. This event is courtesy of Mercedez-Benz-the official car of 2017 Loeries. Smart cars will be offering a hop on-hop off service along the beachfront on Saturday and Sunday.

In between the fun, is a well planned and co-ordinated student Portfolio Day. The event offers delegates the opportunity to pop in to the Durban ICC to view the work from talented students at the education initiative between the Loeries and the best schools in South Africa. Other events that will make this year's Loeries awards talk of the industry across the continent are: Gagasi FM Chairman's Welcome Party, Unilever Brunch, Heart Loeries Market, Joe Ride, Loeries Finge Festival Durban early morning swimming on the beaches and channel O party. The Channel O Party, it was gathered is the ultimate way to round off Loeries Creative Week. With these loaded activities, the 2017 Loeries awards promise to be a great festival and collection of the bests in the continent of Africa.

As a non-profit organisation, the Loeries contribute to development within the industry by investing into programmes such as the creative industry's richest bursary - the Creative Future Scholarship. To maintain the integrity of its accolade, it has kept to its low fees, and the entry criteria strict. Driven primarily by the Creative Circle, the Loeries is powered by industry through its board and committee, making it an organisation by and for the industry.

As the highest accolade for creativity and innovation across the region, the Loeries promote and support creativity by helping marketers, agencies and consumers appreciate the value of ideas and fresh thinking.

Culminating in the biggest creative gathering in Africa Middle East, Loeries Creative Week Durban brings together the best innovative minds from the industry for a festival of networking, inspiring minds and recognising great work.

"Our region's creative economy is world-class and has great potential to grow and to offer employment both to our talented youth. The growth occurring throughout Africa Middle East is very exciting, and a major focus of the Loeries is to increase the standard of brand communication in the region. The Loeries continues to grow each year, remaining the region's primary measure of excellence".

The Loeries were first held in 1978, as a mechanism to support and grow television advertising. Since then, the Loeries have become the most prestigious award in Africa Middle East and have expanded to reward & inspire both innovation and relevance across all spheres of brand communication.

In 2013, it introduced the Effective Creativity Award to recognise great ideas that have delivered business results. Entries into this category must have won a Loeries in the past two years. The Shared Value category, aims to recognise sustainable marketing - by rewarding brands that do good while doing good business. In 2015, Service Design and Music Videos were added as new categories.

- Ajayi, is publisher MARKETING EDGE Magazine, a leading brand focused publication based in Lagos

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