By Jeremiah Agada
“…I have watched the NaijaAllTheWay commercial like 10 times, and I keep coming back to it. So many things I want to say…the music, putting these A-list stars together, the chest-thump and most importantly, how it evokes the Naija Spirit in me.
“You see, when people ask me what the Naija spirit is, I tell them about Wizkid going from Ojuelegba to the world knowing his story. I tell them about Davido who works like he is upcoming and broke when his father is a billionaire”
“Goosebumps! Pride! Football buzz! Nigeria is not playing with this World Cup! This video captures everything! The Naija salute, the superstars who are leading Naija’s soft power export, the whole Naija pride! Let’s go!!!”
“It’s not only about winning, it’s also about supporting our nation. At least, this is one thing (the World Cup) I have seen that brings Nigerians together. I don’t even watch soccer but I love that we are in the World Cup. (It) doesn’t really matter if we win or lose….”
These are a few samples of the thousands of tweets, retweets, comments and posts that dominated the social media soon after Pepsi, premium cola brand in Nigeria, launched a massive campaign tagged: ‘Naija All The Way’ early in June. The integrated campaign has taken the entire country by storm as a new fever of patriotism reminiscent of Nigeria’s soccer golden era of 1994-2000 has taken full effect. It is arguably the most engaging campaign of the World Cup season so far.
The campaign was rolled out on the second day of June across all media spectrums- digital, television (cable and terrestrial), and radio as well as print and outdoor. The theme and objective of the campaign is as striking as it is simple: reawakening the ‘Naija Spirit’!
Commencing the campaign in June is most strategic, considering it is the period of the most anticipated soccer, sports Mundial in the entire world- the FIFA World Cup. This year’s edition hosted in Russia is most important to brands and organisations especially in Nigeria because of Super Eagles participation in the tournament. Being the number one sports Nigerians are passionate about and the only sports that truly brings them together considering their multi-faceted diversity, brands are jostling to engage their consumers, leveraging the World Cup.
It is also at this time industry experts say ambush marketing will be in full swing as it has become the norm during a season like this. Understandably, The Pepsi Naija All The Way has been confused in some quarters to be a World Cup campaign because of the time of its launch and most probably because of its messages. This assumption will then mean that the brand is ‘ambushing’ its main competition, Coca-Cola which is a sponsor of the Nigerian team at the World Cup.
Brand Communicator took this notion to the court of public opinion to sample analysts’ view on these. The two views below captures the two divides of the argument: to IzuchukwuEwa, a graduate of Mass Communication with a strong interest in marketing communication,”This is a very creative way of saying what you want to say without appearing to do so. Just look at the campaign, it takes a very observant person to see that this is not a World Cup campaign. For me, the way people are talking about Naija All The Way tells me that whoever or whatever agency worked on it did a very brilliant job. This is ambush marketing that you just cannot call ambush marketing.”
Justice Akujobi, marketing communications industry analyst studying at O2 Academy says of the campaign: “If you look critically at this campaign like I have done, you will discover that commercials, print and outdoor ads, jingles as well as all ads used on social media, do not explicitly suggest that the campaign has anything to do with the World Cup. For example, there is no mention of the World Cup, Russia, even soccer or stadium or anything that will point to it. This is just a well-executed campaign launched at the right time,” he said.
Campaigns of this nature can only be put together and executed by creative advertising agencies with pedigree, capacity as well as insight needed to have the kind of result it has so far, agencies like Insight Publicis Nigeria. The duo of Chuka Obi, Creative Director of the agency and Jones Bassey, Business Director and Team Lead for the Pepsi brand at the agency, provided background information to Brand Communicator on the campaign.
Laying to rest the controversy on the campaign, Chuka says the campaign is not a ‘World Cup’ campaign, neither is it a campaign soliciting for more patronage of the brand based on its support for the Super Eagles as many campaigns currently running are doing. In fact, he says, there is no place where any of the ambassadors are talking about the drink.
Jones explained that the strategy was to have a message that spoke to the Nigerian people as individuals. “There is so much talk about the Naija Spirit but no brand was bringing this to focus. What Pepsi had to do was to give this life and wings to fly. In this way, the campaign can actually live beyond the time period in which it has been launched.
The campaign, Chuka says, is to ignite the ‘Naija Passion’, adding that there is no better time to ignite this passion than now. “There is nothing like an idea that its time has come. Never before on this level has there being a new generation mindset in Nigeria as there is right now. This mindset is the ‘Naija spirit’. In that ad, you will notice that Pepsi was not the hero but the Naija Spirit. The campaign was pushing the Naija spirit and people could readily identify with that.
“It is this Naija Spirit that makes us go on the offensive on Twitter once an ‘outsider’ interferes with our matter, though we can call ourselves out. This is a Nigerian mind-set Pepsi set out to push with the Naija All The Way campaign. Unlike most people who are using this World Cup period to promote their products, Pepsi is pushing the ‘unconditional support and love for your own” even when the going is gets tough. That makes us unconditionally and unapologetically Naija all the way.”
Corroborating Chuka, Jones says the campaign was conceived on the need to drive affinity between brand Pepsi and the average Nigerian consumer. “As 2018 is a football year, more brands would be looking to use the season to grow mindshare which would lead to congestion at the media space. Pepsi had to look for a strongly resonating message to be able to break through the clutter and connect. Naija All The Way is that message. It celebrates not only our youths but also Nigerians in general and the belief in our hearts. An affirmation of what we can achieve through the Naija spirit. This, the brand advocates is something we all as Nigerians should be proud of. It is what truly unites us and makes us who we are.”
The campaign featured many celebrities, perhaps, the one with the most celebrities in the series of ongoing campaigns of the season. Interestingly, unlike the use of only football stars for World Cup campaigns, the campaign featured different footballers, artiste and quite surprisingly, Disc Jockeys. For Jones, the celebrities used are the most visible currency for the campaign. “Inarguably, these are people that are representing Naija in their unique way. They are symbols of inspiration for the youths and lend significant credibility to the message. You only need to follow the conversations online to understand the impact this has made.”
Chuka said it didn’t matter whether the celebrities were big or not; rather, it mattered that they represented that Nigerian spirit. “For instance, when DJ Obi decided to break the world record, it wasn’t an easy feat. At that time, he almost broke down. Doctors were even brought around but he kept at it- that is the Naija spirit. DJ Cuppy decided that she was not going to let her ‘family wealth’ define her. She is going to define her. The route she took was not a conventionally‘safe’one. She chose something entirely different. DJ Spinall came from the bottom up, rising steadily. That is the Naija spirit.
“Pepsi is always about the voice and the choice of a new generation. It is not just about using the biggest stars of the time. Let’s be honest; who uses Disk Jockeys, DJs for ambassadors? Nobody. The Pepsi brand decided they were going to use DJs for ambassadors. Why? The stars are usually the musicians but who brings the music to the people? Who is the livewire of the party? No matter how good a party is, if you have a bad DJ on set on the day, everyone is going to remember that the DJ was bad.”
The TVC of the campaign which has gone viral on social media already, and is enjoying quality airplay on cable and terrestrial television is powerful in the way it creatively brought all these different Stars together and delivered its key messages.
The camaraderie peculiar to Nigerians was established at the opening scene of the TVC with Super Eagles Supporting striker and Arsenal FC Star, Alex Iwobi, walking down alone in what looks like a subway. He fist-pounds his chest and hugs DJ Spinall coming to his direction, who also fist-pounds his chest. Spinall is then shown at his workstation (deck) introducing the commercial theme song.
The commercial goes on to show Tiwa Savage on a phone call walking in to view the work of a graffiti artists: a poster of top Nigerian celebrities. At this point, a cooler of Pepsi is opened and everyone is happier. Solidarity and support established by the chest-pound are taken to street kids playing. The ad goes on to show the stars interacting with each other, a habit typical of Nigerians with their diverse cultures, religion and orientations. The commercial comes to an end when all stars do the signature salute and the voice of Victor Moses resounds, “Naija all the way.”
Using the brand’s celebrities, the campaign buttressed the message of supporting “our own” through thick and thin in its strategically run radio jingles. Various ambassadors passed this message to the sound of the campaign theme song. At the beginning of June when the campaign broke out, Music stars like Davido and Wizkid dropped inspiring messages.
Every time I win big awards and I get called to give a speech,
I always wish I could take the whole Naija up on stage with me so the world can see how far their support has taken me.
We rise by lifting others.
Now imagine the same 190 million of us giving that same support to everyone that reps Naija.
We would all be stars winning as one. That is the Naija spirit!
This is Davido, I am with Pepsi. I am Naija all the way!
From Ojuelegba to 02 Arena, my life has been a movie. But the fact is that Starboy is worldwide
Because I have 190 million people supporting me with one spirit and one heart.
Now imagine if all 190 million of us always come out to support those that reps us, that is almost 10,000 02 arenas combined.
That’s real love, that’s the Naija spirit.
This is Wizkid, and I am with Pepsi. I am Naija all the way!
At the start of the World cup, the messages switched gears, using OdionIghalo, Alex Iwobi and legendary ex-international, Jay JayOkocha to further those messages.
Although born in Lagos, I spent most of my years in England
But all through my stay, something was always missing.
It always felt like I wasn’t at home.
So I spoke to my uncle JJ (Okocha) and made a decision to go where my heart really was, to go home.
Because home is bigger than the immediate family
Home is being in the heart of 190 million people, home is being one of Naija.
Home is here.
My name is Alex Iwobi, and I am with Pepsi.
I am Naija all the way!
People often say that to be a Naija legend, you need legendary skills.
But that’s not all; you need Naija behind you
Because when you look behind you and see millions of Naija fans chanting your name,
Achieving the impossible becomes possible.
The Naija spirit has taken me far.
And when we come together as one, the possibilities are endless.
This is Jay JayOkocha
I am with Pepsi
I am Naija all the way
Like the commercial and jingles, the press ads and outdoor materials had the same theme of the campaign. In making it all about the Naija Spirit, none of the ads centred on the Pepsi ads neither did it centre on the array of the celebrities paraded by in the campaign.
On a centrespread ad published by the Punch Newspapers in early June, a full team of celebrities, eleven in all, decked in the brand’s colours and beautiful smiles, the message of patriotism and the undeniable ‘Naija Spirit’ was embodied in the ‘Wakanda-like’ fist-on-chest gesture made popular by the campaign.
All the ads in the campaign end with a strong message: come what may, we are Naija all the way. We are using the sentiment and strong culture to pass a message. The message is, support your own at all times, even if the support is in the form of criticism. Like Chuka puts it, “Being able to criticize constructively is one of the most important types of support anyone can give.”
Just like the ‘Pepsi Longthroat’ campaign the agency had run for the Pepsi brand, this campaign is a major hit that industry analysts say is a study reference for astute students of marketing communications. Jones said the agency’s consistency in coming up with groundbreaking campaigns like this is based on its culture where the target consumer is their CEOs and MDs.”At Insight Publicis Nigeria, we are very particular about using knowledge about consumers to design solutions that can allow brands impact the lives of their audience for the better. We believe that advertising has a big role to play in this sense. To leave a long-lasting effect, the advertising must be seen to be speaking to real human issues,” he concludes.
The huge impact of this campaign on the level of patriotism in the country is quite obvious. Despite a loss in their opening match and the eventually crashing out of the tournament after suffering a 2:1 defeat, Nigerians are still patriotic and supportive of the Super Eagles. Like Jones Bassey and Chuka Obi have explained, the campaign is purely centred on supporting our own. The message in itself is for Nigerians to pull their 190 million worth of support behind every Nigerian individual, behind every Nigerian business and behind every Nigerian talent.