African Cristal Will Spur Us To Do More – Ralph Idu, Creative Director, Leo Burnett

Ralph Idu
Ralph Idu, Ccreative Director, Leo Burnett Nigeria.


Ralph Idu is the Creative Director of Leo Burnett Lagos. In this interview with the Brand Communicator team, he bares his mind on the African Cristal Awards, the agency’s success at the Cristal and initiatives for 2017.

African Cristal Awards

The African Cristal experience is a good thing for us, especially as it involves winning an award outside the country. The experience is uplifting because it rewards the work and also reminds us that there is a lot more to do to catch up with, if not overtake, the much bigger agencies that have been around, and who have many clients to enter their works for awards. We only entered three works in three categories. We didn’t have the luxury of entering in multiple categories like the bigger agencies, but it is good that we still got something out of it. We tried to be very precise in the works to feature and it is interesting that one in three is not a bad thing.


Significance Of This Award

The award is an opportunity for us to have conversations with the clients that good works not only bring rewards in sales but also bring recognition and put the brand out there on the map. The quality of the product is not the only thing that matters but the quality of the product’s communication and interaction with people is equally important.  So, it’s very important that brands begin to consider the way they formulate their products and also consider the formulation of their conversations.


Motivating Factor

What we do at Leo Burnett is that we simply push the agenda for better creativity. It is also a good thing that we put in three works and we got an award for one compared to some other agencies that put in between 10 and 20 and won quite a few. We regard what we won at African Cristal as a positive thing because it spurs us to do more work. I wouldn’t say we emphasise on doing things differently, but it is the attitude of doing the right thing because doing the right thing is the first agenda and ‘different’ will come when the brand even does right. So, once we get right sorted and it’s recognised around the world every other thing will fall in place.


Expectation From Cannes

We are going to take it one step at a time. When practitioners from Brazil got noticed at Cannes, it was not just one agency, it was almost like a nationwide movement to make the whole world recognise and respect their style of creativity, and that was why I said doing ‘right’ is different from doing ‘different.’ Brazil was really different and it was right because they decided that this was the right thing to do for their market. What will make our market resonate with the brands might not be understood or recognised by the world, but one day it will. So, it is that story of keep doing what you do best and one day it will be recognised.


Advice To Other Agencies

I believe it is a mentality thing. Some people are comfortable with being old champions regurgitating the old scenario. Eventually, agencies with such mentality will fall by the wayside. Look at the agencies that performed well at Cristal, they are leading agencies that are aiming at being better. It is going to be the same in Cannes and in local awards here in Nigeria. If your aim is to be internationally relevant, you must first be locally relevant. You must win the pitches and be relevant in the integrated Marketing Communication industry in the country. It might be a little expensive but there is a need to let the world have a feel of your good works. We should also be encouraged to put in for these awards as it allows for a friendly competitive environment.


Initiatives From Leo Burnett

Creativity itself is innovation. In the weeks leading to this award, we won a very interesting account. I say interesting because the presentation at the pitch was very interesting. We know that we are going to do amazingly well for the brand in terms of the bottom line and we will see the result come out in a few weeks. Also, we have worked for some brands with resounding successes. We have already worked on some brands that are about to be launched into the market and we believe that the works we have done for these brands will not just elevate them but also elevate the people. This is because, at Leo Burnett, we have a human kind philosophy which makes people see things differently. It’s not just about selling your product but also how my product can engage and make you a better person to make the world better.

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