When in 2016, Leo Burnett Lagos, a young vibrant agency best know for its stellar works creating the #foundonkonga and #Yakata campaign, beat out some of Nigeria’s biggest agencies to win the converted Heritage Bank corporate brand account, many already knew they would create something truly memorable. However, little did anyone know that their mission would be to not only give the Heritage Bank brand a voice, but to extend that voice for all of black Africa. This is what the Heritage Bank #IAMPROUDOFMYHERITAGE campaign came to be.
#IAMPROUDOFMYHERITAGE, an epic campaign built around the thinking that a people’s heritage is something of pride handed down to inspire generations born and unborn, challenged the image of Africa constantly portrayed to the world. An image that revolves heavily around slavery, bad governance and corrupt dictatorships. Plus the many negative stereotypes created about the “dark continent”. This often propagated image of our heritage simply chose to ignore an era when African Kings and Queens stood as pillars of innovation and industry. It ignored such kings and queens as Amina, who built cities and forged new rules. And even appropriated Pharoahs like Akhenaten, whose innovative leadership was marvel for the time.
But, why would Leo Burnett, an agency barely a year old take on such a daunting task? The answer can be found in its Humankind philosophy. A philosophy built around the thinking that creativity had the power to transform human behavior… for good. This meant that in whatever Leo Burnett would do, it was bound to apply an approach totally different from that of any agency present or before it.
The result was a well crafted ode to the era of greatness that was and is to come for black Africa. A well shot, paced, and scored visually cinematic story that captures the essence of what it means to be African; what it means to have African pride, flowing through your blood streams. The origin of that pride, ancestral and regal. Your heart beats to the rhythm, and then skips when in the first few seconds a nomadic caucasian king bows to an African king. The images are quite telling while conveying the brand strategy: Heritage bank, although a new bank, was here to stay. The association to our heritage was not lost on anyone.
It wasn’t therefore a surprise that the TVC appeared in the latest edition of Lurzers Archive, the venerated bible of the advertising/creative industry. None less in an issue which also profiled the big winners of Cannes 2017. So while flipping through global ads that represented the best the world had to offer, flip to page 139 and there it is: an ad from Nigeria; based on African pride, and coincidentally making us proud.
While it’s debatable if the era of African kings and queens has indeed begun, one thing is certain, the era of Leo Burnett Lagos has commenced…. Long live the African Kings and Queens.