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DDB Lagos’s historic feat as it emerges Nigeria’s most creative agency


The mood was pensive, but festive at the same time, when advertising bigwigs gathered for the 13th edition of Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) 2018, which recognises creative excellence in all areas of advertising and marketing communications. As the evening wore on, it was not clear which agency would take the day as quite a couple of industry top dogs such as Insight and SO&U were making a good showing along with the usual suspects, X3M Ideas and Noah’s Ark. The strong showing made by younger agencies such as Culture, Etuodi, BBDO and UpIntheSky also heightened the intense competition.

However, if there was one agency that clearly demonstrated superior creative breadth and depth in diverse award-winning works, it was DDB Lagos. By the evening ended, DDB had yet again topped the overall list of creative agencies in Nigeria by winning the Grand Prix award for the acclaimed ‘Man in the Box’ creative campaign for MTN Nigeria. DDB Lagos was also awarded six gold plaques for its outstanding campaign ideas for ‘Children’s Day,’ ‘Independence Day,’ ‘My Influence,’ and ‘Man in the Box.’ Other campaigns are for Royco, Baileys, Sunlight, and MTN respectively.

While speaking on the Grand Prix award for MTN’s ‘Man in the Box,’ Regional President, Aegis Dentsu and Chief Juror of the LAIF awards, Michael Zylstra, noted that the concept won the top prize as an integrated and interactive innovation for growing SME businesses. The ad’s exceptional concept of ‘Man in the Box’ won gold plagues in three different categories. Four silver and nine bronze plagues were awarded the agency for campaigns like ‘Reasons to Smile,’ ‘See us 2 Male,’ ‘Corn,’ ‘Waist Line,’ ‘Upper Room,’ and ‘Verve Naira Note (Worker’s Day)’.

The Grand Prix is LAIF’s most prestigious award, which is only given for an outstanding creative concept that has been able to redefine industry standards. ‘Man in the Box’ is Nigeria’s first innovative outdoor campaign, which was conceptualised by DDB Lagos for MTN to showcase a game-changing enterprise solution for SMEs and to make sure their businesses are noticed. The campaign was projected as a win-win for both MTN and the SMEs.

The spotlight of the campaign was to convey an understanding of the painpoints of SMEs while giving them a unique platform to promote their offerings to a bigger audience. The billboard was transformed into an office space, making ‘Man in the Box’ campaign a unique one. The campaign caught everyone’s attention but most especially those of small business owners, who embraced it as their own, as it spoke to their needs and how to address them. These business owners were then given use of the box to work with and to showcase their products or services for an entire day each.

Aside giving the SMEs their own mini marketing boost, increased exposure, and media following for their respective brands, MTN also put their technology in the hands of the people they were trying to reach. Locally, ‘Man in the Box’ received accolades for its effectiveness because it delivered on the promise that MTN knows what keeps SMEs up and is willing to go beyond the norm to provide solutions. DDB Lagos partnered with other agencies like TBWA, another creative agency, PHD for outdoor media plan and Playhouse Communication, a local digital agency to bring the idea to life.

DDB Lagos is one of most awarded agencies in Nigeria at the annual LAIF award ceremony since its inception 13 years ago. DDB Lagos is also the first Nigerian creative agency to receive international recognition when it won an EPICA award for its ‘Speechless’ campaign developed for an advocacy project for the girl-child in Northern, GirlHub, sponsored by Nike Foundation in partnership with USAID/DFID in 2012. Since then, DDB Lagos has also received several other international awards including the acclaimed ‘I Don Port’ campaign for MTN. The agency was awarded the Silver Loeries award for integrated campaign and Silver in Africa Cristal awards in the category ‘Best use of Branded Content.’

In 2014 DDB Lagos got an Emerald in Africa Cristal award for Mouka foam campaign ‘Restful Night, Active Day,’ and in 2013, a Bronze in EPICA awards for the same campaign under the category ‘Best use of Branded Content.’ The agency has and is still being recognised locally as the most awarded Nigerian creative agency since the inception of LAIF awards. DDB Lagos was consistently highly identified in the Young Lions Competition between 2008 and 2011. In 2010, the agency was honoured for the TV campaign of the year, Overall campaign of the year and Marketing Leadership in Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) awards for Marketing Excellence.

DDB Lagos is the Nigerian office and sub-regional hub of DDB Worldwide Communications in West and Central Africa (WECA). DDB Lagos is a subsidiary of the Casers Group, a leading media and marketing holding company. It commenced operations in 1987 and has since offered cutting-edge services to a roaster of leading local and multinational brands in Nigeria over the last three decades.

In 2015, the Casers Group completed its acquisition of the five other agencies previously of the Mawal Group, thus extending its footprints to key Francophone markets across West and Central Africa including Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Benin and Congo. These agencies, along with DDB Lagos, form the core of DDB WECA, which provide extensive regional operation to multinational clients. DDB WECA is driven by the desire to become the biggest and best among builders of brands in every market its serves.

DDB clinched the Grand Prix, six gold, four silver, and nine bronze medals. Other big winners of the night were Insight, which catered home five gold, 10 silver and nine bronze; X3M Ideas received five gold, seven silver and eight bronze. Also, SO&U took home four gold, 11 silver and eight bronze; Noah’s Ark wasn’t left out, as it also took home one gold, eight silver and 11 bronze, out of the 18 advertising agencies that put in entries for the awards.

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