By Tunji Faleye
This year’s African Cristal Festival promises to be interesting as Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) professionals from across Africa converge on Marrakesh, Morocco from today to May 12 to share and exchange ideas on creativity in the advertising industry.
One is not surprised about the calibre of attendees at this year’s festival as it has lived up to expectation over the years, living beyond handing out awards.
As African Cristal Festival rewards the best advertising campaigns created and broadcast on various media on the African continent, many agencies have submitted entries to the international & regional panel of leading creatives in order to win Cristals. This year again, entries submitted will also compete in the Regional Awards, rewarding the best creations in seven regions or countries on the African continent.
Also, for two days, participants will have opportunity of meeting decision-makers who will help to sharpen their knowledge of the African market while participating in the conferences and debates animated by experts of the industry.
This year will focus on the cultural stakes and their implications for brands. The 2017 edition of the African Cristal Festival will help attendees grasp the creative and multi-cultural future in line with this emerging market.
It was as a result of achieving this aim that the organisers extended the entry date to April to enable many agencies across Africa to enter for any award categories of their choices.
The African Cristal Festival had given interested agencies until March 31st to submit their campaigns to the international and regional panel of leading creatives.
The African Culture sub-category aims to celebrate the best African campaigns using cultural specificities to enhance their communication by making it unique and authentic.
The cultural specificities could be related to the language (words games), the gastronomy, the art, the music, the spirituality etc.
The African Culture sub-category is part of the Promo & Direct, Media, Outdoor, Press, Film, Radio, Digital, Mobile and Integrated competitions.
To have a creditable award, the organisers announced jury for the 5th African Cristal Festival. Some members of the jury include Udeme Ufot, Group Managing Director of SO&U, Nigeria; Thiago Fonseca, Chief Creative Director, Agência GOLO, Mozambique; Marc Taback, CEO, Initiative Media, South Africa; Martine Coffi-Studer, CEO, Océan Ogilvy, Ivory Coast and Reda Lahmouid, Creative Director, Groupe Saga Communication, Morocco. Jon Williams, Chief Creative Officer, Grey Europe, UK is the Creative Jury President.
Jon began his career in traditional advertising and then spent 10 years going digitally native before taking the post of Chief Creative Officer at Grey – a career path that makes him unique in the UK.
Jon’s role is as diverse as it is varied. His principal focus, however, is to develop the network in terms of creativity, technology and talent.
He has worked above, below and through the line at Publicis, Wunderman and BMB, on brands as diverse as Honda, Rolls Royce, Ford, Toshiba, Carling, Adidas, Hewlett Packard, X-Box, Microsoft, Land Rover, Renault and The British Heart Foundation and his work has travelled globally, personally winning over 150 International awards both for creativity and effectiveness. He has sat on or chaired juries many times at D&AD, Cannes, and pretty much every local award show in EMEA.
When he is actually in the UK, he mentors at The School of Communication Arts, and Techstars, one of the largest incubators in the world, helping tech start-ups pivot and grow.
Creatively, he developed the first genuinely interactive TV ad ever broadcast, the first MPU in Europe, the first use of near-field mobile enabled posters, and the world’s first pan-European, crowd-sourced, co-created long-form film. And, of course, the iPint, the world’s first native branded application for the iPhone, the most popular FMCG app of all time, has been downloaded more than six million times.
Speaking on the African Cristal Festival, Mr. Lanre Adisa, managing director, Noah’s Ark Communications, Nigeria said African Cristals Award is regarded as a global award, adding that there are different versions of Cristal Awards and the one in Marrakesh, Morocco is for Africans to encourage creativity on the continent.
He said, “What makes Cristal attractive is the good quality jurors from different parts of the world and that assures you of the quality of judging. This means that your work will be subjected to very transparent and objective vetting.”
Nigerian Agencies At Cristal
This year, the numbers of agencies that entered for African Cristal Award has increased compared with previous years. At the last count, no fewer than seven agencies submitted their works for different categories of Cristal Awards. The agencies are Noah’s Ark, X3M Ideas, SO&U, Insight Publicis, 7even Interactive, Leo Burnett Lagos and DDB Lagos.
Why the sudden increase in number of participants from Nigeria? Lanre Adisa, whose agencies also entered for the award has this to say:
“I don’t know the entire number of entries from Nigeria to the African Cristal Awards but I am sure it is going to be more than what they had last year. I think after last year, representatives of African Cristal paid a visit to Nigeria and lot more people took interest in the Cristal awards because of that. So, I expect that there should be more entries.”
It is interesting that the number of Nigerian agencies that entered for Cristal awards this year has raised the hope of many industry followers who have become expectant and believe that Nigerian agencies will come home with something better this time round.
According to Adisa, “my expectation is that Nigeria should perform better than it did last year. Though in the regional award, a couple of Nigerian agencies won some laurels for the country, but I am more concerned on the mainstream because it is more important that Nigeria agencies win more in the mainstream. That is actually where you tell which country or agency is doing very well compared to its peers in other parts of the continent.
“I expect that to happen this year. I expect it to be more than one agency at the mainstream level, and I also hope that they maintain the Nigerian category which I think they will also do – where Nigerian agencies are celebrated for the works coming out of the country. Therefore, my expectations are on the positive side. I am looking forward to some really exciting work.”
In reality, the increase in the number of participating agencies from Nigeria at this year’s Cristal awards has created some kind of reawakening of competitiveness within the industry in terms of who is doing what. Obviously, every agency wants to be celebrated, also clients will definitely like to have their brands celebrated via the kind of works that are being created for those brands.
Analysts are of the opinion that the performance of the country’s representatives at this year’s African Cristal Awards will definitely improve the quality of work and in terms of the drive to be different which has resulted in higher level of competitiveness at least within the circle of agencies.