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Our approach to telling African stories is now a reference point globally — Adisa

By Princewill Ekwujuru

THE Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Noah’s Ark Communications Limited, Mr. Lanre Adisa, has said that his agency’s approach to telling African stories in many of its creative works is already a reference point on the global stage, urging others to develop the art if they hope to compete with their counterparts globally.

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This was part of his submission which was revealed in a cover interview featured in the current edition of Lurzer’s Archive,Vol 1-2019, the world acclaimed and most influential advertising journal. Adisa said the success story and rapid growth of the Nollywood industry in the last two decades is a clear evidence that telling our own authentic stories has a huge chance of achieving outstanding results.

According to him, many of the great achievements recorded by his agency were borne out of the determination not to tread familiar paths but to chart a new course where Nigerians or the general public can easily relate with its works. He therefore called on practitioners to up their game by churning out locally relevant works that would attract global appeal as seen in the case of India.

The team lead for the agency which has won a series of local and global awards also remarked that there is no doubt that the advertising landscape in Nigeria was changing rapidly as there is now stiff competition from people outside the practice who are adept at creating content that captures audience attention, urging practitioners to come to terms with this reality.

Adisa who was the first ever Nigerian creative director to serve as a juror at the Cannes Lions, noted that the crave for competition and global recognition in the advertising industry has become more intense    in this contemporary time as opposed to what obtained in the past when agencies were more concerned about billings. He attributed this change in trend to the fact that participating and winning local and global awards now plays a big role not only in boosting their profiles but earning many the opportunity to take part in pitches or outright client engagements.

Recalling his eleven-year entrepreneurial adventure running the agency which has since grown with the addition of three other specialist communication agencies, Adisa expressed gladness on the quality of works delivered to the clients so far, adding that the decision has opened the door for others to follow suit.

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He noted that though the agency has made some significant landmarks in the last eleven years, it would not rest on its oars as he was committed to growing it to become a positive force to reckon with globally.

“For me, it’s been a ten-year ride of risks and thrills. I’m excited by the brand we’ve built for ourselves in Nigeria and across the continent these past ten years. Most especially, I’m thrilled by the fact that our coming on the scene has inspired a couple of new generation agencies to come up and create a more competitive space. For the future, our task is to build the Noah’s Ark brand into an iconic entity that can travel and truly compete across the globe” he stated.

Adisa who recalled how the Nigerian advertising industry evolved from 1929 till date stated that the absence of ambition in the past on the part of agencies’ owners as well as the establishment of agencies by those who were not grounded in creativity contributed a great deal to the slow growth witnessed in the industry.

He added that “the establishment of agencies was all transactional and driven by a yearning for big billings and opportunities. The other big reason was the fact that most of the agencies were founded and run by suits. Unlike what we have now, only one or two agencies were founded by creatives”.

Adisa who admitted the dearth of talents in the industry disclosed that plan is already underway    by the agency to kickstart a training programme, through which it plans to groom the next generation of creative ‘animals’ , that would evolve to become an advertising school moving forward.

According to him, the agency is fully committed to nurturing talents and building capacities to enhance growth in the industry.

Speaking on other challenge confronting the industry, Adisa explained that the industry was quite aware of the imminent threat posed by consultancies who are now interested in adding creative services to their portfolio but was still optimistic that the future looks bright provided practitioners are ready to have a rethink and widen their imaginations.

Some of the works that have won great and global applause for him in the course of his career    include Peak Milk’s ‘Generation to Generation’ campaign, MTN’s‘Mama Na Boy’ and Indomie Noodles’ ‘Mama You Do Good’ campaign among others.

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