Monday, October 20, 2008

Hate It Or Love It

We hate ads. Whenever they come up on the TV or we hear them on the radio or we catch a glimpse of the gargantuan billboards, our first instinct most of the time commands us to either pick up the remote, change the channel or just look away in exasperation.

Now here’s a Newsflash for you: Ironically, we also sub-consciously love ads too! Statistics show that a large amount of purchases we make or services we subscribe to stem not just from word-of-mouth recommendations of friends and family but are also based on the adverts we see, hear and instinctively like.

To cut the long story short, ADs DO WORK and companies, recognizing this, virtually break the bank and sink large percentages of their revenue into their ad campaigns while the advertising companies jostle for their fat accounts.

Most adverts it seems can be broadly classified into 3 categories: ads to die for, ads to ignore and ads that make you slowly die inside. Here are just a few ads which screen regularly on Nigerian TV that fall into these categories especially the first:

Ads To Die For

The BMW 1 Series: This Coscharis Motors’ driven ad takes the award for being one of the most imaginative ads out there. It features two BMW 1 hatchbacks (one white, the other black) each driven by a guy and a lady as they race each other down a highway which winds its way through several stops marked with beautiful scenery.
Now here comes the imaginative bit. Along the way, the sky changes from daylight when the white vehicle is ahead to nighttime whenever the black one overtakes which happens several time in the course of the ad all this happening while the special inner and outer features and selling points of both cars are discreetly shown to you. By the time they both come to a halt at the end of the race the daytime and night sky fuses to form a breath-taking eclipse of the sun.
Imaginative. Brilliant. Beautiful.

Etisalat’s 0809ja For Life: For once, I’m actually putting my skepticisms aside to like the wrapping paper before I actually peek at the gift wrapped inside. Etisalat is yet to launch (at least in my area) so I have no idea what their services will be like but I just LOVE this advert.
I’m talking of the particular one that features Banky W. strutting along a rapidly morphing backdrop of club-lights-inspired colours, a swimming pool and a basketball court singing the Etisalat theme song in that voice that only a Banky W. can have.
This ad is very youth-oriented and I like the bit where he pauses and shows the 0809 tattoo near his biceps while answering the phone. Of course there are several weak points in the ad like the entire basketball scenes and the wacky dancing at the very ending but, IT’S 080 - 9JA FOR LIFE, BABY!

Emvite Super from Emzor Pharmaceuticals: It does look a bit like an amateurish ad and the chick in it isn’t really so hot but she does somehow manage to get 2 guys to chase after her so I guess she’s OK. The setting is simple. Two guys scope out the chick for a while then when she gets into a taxi both of them break out into the race of their lives to track her down and claim the price. One of them of course tires quickly while the other (buoyed up no doubt by Emvite Super) coolly dashes after the taxi, runs up and down several flights of stairs and still presents the belle with a long-stemmed rose without breaking out in a sweat.
My elder bro actually took just one look at this ad and declared he’d rather save his energy and stop and chat up the other two girls whom the guys run past

Stanbic IBTC’s Guardian Angel-type ad: Check this out: You wake up in the morning and see a blurry image of a guy in a suit who has been watching over you while you slept. You clear your eyes and poof! He’s gone! You try to put your foot down on the floor and mysterious hands put your slippers underneath them. This blurry suited guy not only hangs around as you prepare for work but actually sits on the trunk of your car as you drive there.
Spooky, isn’t it?
Well that’s the new wave of Stanbic IBTC’s ad though the overall theme is meant to be that of reassurance and not fear; reassurance that their staff are always watching over you and your affairs even when you sleep (I wish I could actually feel reassurance instead of the usual skepticism with which I view ALL financial institutions).
The place in the ad were I like is the part where you see a busy highway with the corporate male and female “guardian angels” sitting on the trunks of each and every car in sight. It sort of reminds me of a scene from “City of Angels” and must have taken a whole lot of planning and daring to shoot.
And did I mention that the main “guardian angel” actually looks like Vitalis, a guy I used to know in my university days?

Zain’s TruTalk & TruTxt: Compared to Zain’s other relatively weak, ubiquitous ads and despite their distastefully-coloured premises, the fact that commercial is CGI-animated actually does boost its eye appeal. The rapping 3D animated characters are all dressed in hip Naija-styled Hop-hop gear complete with the bling-bling and clutching their cellular phones while the lyrics of their rhymes scroll underneath your screen karaoke-fashion just so in case you should think the words are phat enough to make you want to lip sync them.
This advert is targeted at the young and fly so if you don’t understand all the lingo in the preceding paragraph, then it’s definitely not aimed at you and you’ll probably never understand it anyway.
As for me, I like it just fine coz it’s TRU!

“It Begins With You”: These series of ads became popular with the advent of the “Imagine Africa” TV reality show and each one in the series compels the viewer to first of all imagine a HIV-free generation of Africans. Some of these ads actually portray how circumstances like peer pressure, the lack of proper sex education alongside the communication gap between parents and children could lead to the spread of the disease. Yet another one shows the relevance of going for HIV testing and how by individually dealing with stigmatization, we can better understand how to get along with PLWHAs (People Living With HIV/AIDS).
Now, it’s no use looking over your shoulder or pointing fingers whenever the ads play. Yes, HIV can be conquered in Africa and yes, we can have a HIV-free generation but just like the ad says, “It Begins With YOU!”

MTN’s “Go Start Something”: Yeah, yeah, I’ve watched it like a million times but I still look up anytime I hear the nursery rhyme soundtrack to see that little girl fly up that staircase and “go start something”. I just wish MTN could give us some other very imaginative adverts like this one and the funny “Share & Sell PIN ad (the advertised code doesn’t work by the way) and scrap the “Go Join The Winning Team” and “XtraCool” ads.
The variety and sheer number of people used to shoot this ad and the perfect editing of the hand-clap choreography must have given the Casting crew and Director sleepless nights but it all turned out good in the end (by the way, did you spot the very fat girl somewhere down the line in the street hand clapping chain? She appears and does a little hop - big skirt and all - just after another runs past to fill a gap in the line). Also, the shaky zooming in and out camera effect gives the viewer the impression as if we are viewing the commercial out of our very own handy-cams.
I might seem biased but in all honesty, the telcos and the banks seem to make the best ads nowadays anyway.

Ads To Ignore

Since we largely ignore them anyway is there any use listing them out? Adverts that fall into this category include the commercials for toothpaste, soaps, air refreshners, sanitary pads, food seasonings, tea, chocolate and milk drinks, detergents and any out of a thousand household items which we’ve been using since we were babies, adverts or no adverts.
Loosely bundled into this category are adverts that bear the mark of a Federal Government Ministry (except from NAFDAC of course) and the House of Assembly.
I also once used to like the “Heart of Africa” ads but nowadays I just choose to ignore them.

Plus An Ad That Makes You Die

Yardie’s 7 Point Agenda: If you are happen to be a frequent viewer of the NTA, you’re most likely aware that they keep a handy stack of ads cued ready to roll once they have transmission hitches. Yardie’s Manifesto ad happens to be sitting at the top of that stack right now.
When the broadcast signals fail, NTA gleefully puts on the 7 Point Agenda ad. When the Lagos Network Centre loses the picture, here comes the good old 7 Point Agenda advert to the rescue. When we can only see Ololade Adeniji-Adele or Bilikisu Liman from the Abuja Centre moving their lips without hearing the audio, the 7 point Agenda comes out of the bag once again sometimes also without the sound too. And when the 7 Point Agenda ad fails to play what next does NTA do? Why, they put on the 7 Point Agenda ad again!
Ironically, the ad is supposed to list out Yardie’s achievements but it actually does the exact opposite. I’m honestly sick and tired of constantly being reminded what exactly his administration promised and hasn’t delivered till now.

Politicians it seems, unlike ads will never change…

PS: This list is by no means exhaustive and before it crosses anyone’s mind, I do not seek to endorse any of the products / services mentioned here. As a matter of fact I’d rather watch “Super Story” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” without the ads, thank you very much!


Buttercup said...

hehehehe..uh, i havent seen any of those ads u mentioned..i think only just the banky w one..

nice n funny review tho!

how u dey??

rayo said...

funny thing, the only one of these ads i kno is d 'go start sumtn' ad. dont watch much tv but when i do i'm a sucker 4 ads, coz it gives me something to insult nd laf abt wit baybee bro or sumtn to marvel at nd argue abt wit him. from wat u wrote sha it seems naija ads r stepping up. cool!

Naughty Eyes said...

@ BC: Thanks for the props babe. I dey Kampe (like OBJ)! He he!

@ Rayo: Hi Rays! Wazzup with your blog? Saw blank pages there... yeah the Naija ads are stepping up but they can definitely be better / more creative.

LG said...

lollllll egbon take it easy wit 'africa's largest network' na :-)

BTW gr8 review

rayo said...

whooo, nutn's up wit ma blog, just upd8d sef. dunno, mayb u shld just try again

Naughty Eyes said...

@ LG: In case you never know (Timaya/2shotz style) NTA bashing is my favourite sport oh!

@ Rayo again: Sorry joo! It was the blasted lim-internet. Saw the new posts. I'm heading off to read.

Naughty Eyes said...

@ LG again: Thanks! I forgot to say: Do visit often...