We Will Inject Fresh Thinking Into LAIF Awards – Steve Babaeko

Following his appointment as the chairman of the LAIF management board, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer of X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko and his board have hit the ground running with new initiatives geared towards making the next Lagos Advertising Festival, LAIF, a memorable one. In this short interview with Brand Communicator team, he bares it all.




Steve Babaeko, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer of X3M Ideas.

Plans towards a better LAIF Award

First of all, I will like to thank the entire members of the LAIF management board both past and present and everyone that has ever worked on LAIF project. It is a fantastic project for the country and for the creative industry specifically. To keep something like this for over 11 years is not a joke in this economy and in all of the challenges that we face here.

LAIF has grown a life of its own and it is flying. The theme of this year’s LAIF Awards is ‘Fresh Thinking’. It won’t be shocking to see a couple of fresh thinking that is being put in place to bring that theme to life.

We would tinker with a few things like the jury composition. We want to bring in more veterans to work with people that are still working in ad agencies. We are also borrowing a lot from global awards to make the judging process a lot easier and with reduced bias so that nobody goes to talk down on any work.

Also for the first time, I wouldn’t be surprised if you find more women on the judging panel because we think they are sensitive to those things. This is the first time we have women taking prominent positions in the judging panel. We are really proud of that.

I suspect there will be a slight difference in the event itself from what we are used to have. The venue will also change. For the first time, we are leaving Civic Centre and going to the Landmark centre this year. We want works to be displayed so that people from O2 and Orange Academy, the University of Lagos who are more interest in advertising creativity, can come and take learning from the work that we will be judging and awarding that night. By the evening, we will convert that place to a dinner setting for the award itself. There are quite a lot of surprise elements coming in.


Digital Submission

We are in the middle of building a digital platform where entries can be submitted. Between the time the LAIF management board was constituted and now, the time is very short. So, for this year, what we will have is a hybrid situation.


Taking LAIF Beyond Nigeria, Africa

The award is here to stay. The main thing now is to keep pushing the bar and taking it to global heights. As far as Nigeria is concerned and as far as the West Coast is concerned, LAIF is the biggest award. I am super psyched on getting the show on the road on this one.

Beyond other things we will be doing this year is that beyond the usual suspect agencies that will be submitting entries, we are much more interested in seeing newer agencies participate. We will be getting on the road with the president of the association; we will be paying courtesy calls to agencies that rarely participate to encourage them to put in entries.

We want to see a much more embracing participation across the length and breadth of AAAN members.


Adjustments to Young LAIFers

I think there will be continuations of raising the bar to encourage new talents to come into this industry. Unless we create the pipeline for new talents to come into this industry, we will be selling ourselves short. This is because the law of nature on which the pillar of creation was erected says the old shall give way for the new. As you find older people fading out and people of our generation taking centre stage, we also have to groom people who are going to take centre stage after we exit the scene. This is why a platform like that is very important. We actually added another dimension to it this year. We are going to be doing a call for the poster competition. The poster for the award is what we can create but we are looking for young people with talents who can come to create it. We can put a price money on it. We shall be revealing all of these in a few days.


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