By Azeez Disu
One of Nigeria’s renowned Creative professional, the Executive Creative Director, Noah’s Ark, Bolaji Alausa has made the list of 2018 AdWeek’s Creative 100 for being one of the multitalented masters behind today’s most innovative work in the world. He is the only Nigerian on the list.
Recall, Alausa was recently appointed as one of the preliminary jury of AD STARS international advertising awards in Busan, Korea alongside other Nigerian Creative Directors.
Each year, Adweek identifies today’s advance guard of innovative professionals and honours them in the Creative 100, celebrating those who are energizing fields like advertising, digital innovation, art, literature and cinematography.
Creative 100 by category include 27 Senior Agency Leaders Who Are Charting a New Course for the Creative Industry, 29 Rising Agency Stars Who Are Keeping Advertising Relevant, Fresh and Fascinating, 13 Global Agency Leaders Whose Ideas Go Beyond Borders and Transcend Boundaries, 13 Celebrities Who Are Making Pop Culture More Innovative, Inclusive and Interesting, 15 Ad, Film and TV Directors Who Are Raising the Standard for Storytelling, 11 Branded Content Masterminds Who Are Elevating the Art of Marketing, 11 Visual Artists Who Enlighten, Inspire and Bring the Impossible to Life and 10 Writers and Editors Who Are Changing the National Conversation.
Describing Alausa contribution to Ad industry in Nigeria and Africa, Adweek stated that on the “Our People” section of the Noah’s Ark website, the Nigerian agency’s staff was recently re-imagined as characters from Marvel’s mythical futurist nation of Wakanda, and it’s no surprise who got picked to be Black Panther: Bolaji Alausa.
The executive creative director is, like the character of T’Challa, highly respected in his home nation despite having (for now) a relatively low international profile. In both 2015 and 2017, he received a Grand Prix from the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival, and his team’s “Life Without Data” spot for Airtel won gold at the 2017 Epica Awards judged by international ad journalists.
A key to Noah’s Ark’s success has been its ability to create top-notch advertising that remains true to Nigeria’s modern culture rather than trying to emulate big-budget global ads.
A perfect example is “Prayer Warrior,” another spot for wireless provider Airtel, this time celebrating the way Nigerian mothers pray—sometimes at length—for the health and success of their children. The spot recently won the Grand Cristal at the African Cristal Festival in Morocco, where Noah’s Ark was named Agency of the Year.
“Naturally, people with more airtime talk longer, like our mothers when they get a hold of abundant credit and want to show their gratitude. That insight was then tied to the fact that African mothers love to pray for their wards,” he says. “What was most exciting for us was the reception of the campaign. Nigerians were for once happy that a local truth was being used to reach out to them.”
Alausa says the spot is emblematic of a change being seen across the Nigerian creative community.
“Nigeria’s creative industry has grown in terms of telling better locally relevant stories, case in point is the aforementioned Airtel ‘Prayer Warrior’ spot,” he says. “We are increasingly translating locally relevant, cultural insights into communications. Local stories are being told better these days, as we struggle to refine the craft.”