Carat Nigeria: First Nigerian Media Independent Agency To Win Continental Innovative Use of Media Showcase



By Azeez Disu

Igwe Okeke, General Manager, Carat Nigeria
Igwe Okeke, General Manager, Carat Nigeria


In the words of football legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento popularly known as Pelé “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”

The above quote applies to the jinx broken by Carat Nigeria at the 2018 African Cristal Festivals. Carat Nigeria, a part of the Dentsu Aegis Network, won bronze in the Best Use of Outdoor sub-category of Media for its amplification of the ‘Lagos at 50 Activation’ campaign for Johnnie Walker. For that, it emerged the first Nigerian Media independent agency to clinch an award at the annual African innovation showcase held in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Prior to this time, Media Independent agencies in Nigeria were not often rated as innovation powerhouses as they are often regarded as media planners and buyers. However, the story is fast changing especially with the feat recorded by Carat Nigeria at the African Cristal.

Speaking on the victory, Igwe Okeke, General Manager, Carat Nigeria said, “We are very excited about the award. We are very happy that our contributions in amplifying great ideas are being recognized at such high level and we are equally humbled to be recognized out of many media agencies in Africa.”



The Award Winning Campaign

The stage was set up in flame the night, a Nigerian media independent agency won an award at a creative showcase, The African Cristal. The African Cristal is one of the biggest awards on the continent and rewards the best advertising campaigns created and broadcasted on any media.

The ‘Lagos at 50 Activation Johnnie Walker’ campaign won the accolade of the international community for its originality and for engaging the Nigerian consumers. The activation was meant to commemorate the celebration of Lagos State 50th Anniversary.

Speaking on the campaign, Okeke stated that the activation was launched strategically at the celebration of Lagos State anniversary. “What an occasion to launch such an idea designed to encourage Lagosiansto continue to strive for success” he said. “The role of media is to amplify great ideas in the right place, right time and right weight. That is what we do creatively to reach and engage with brand consumers and we are more than happy to have collaborated with our client as well as other agency partners on this project and excited to be recognized.”

According to him, the campaign had over one million social media engagement within one week.  “Within one week of that campaign, we had over one million social media engagement. That is enough to say media did the work of consumer engagement successfully.”



Setting The Pace For Media Independent Agencies

Carat Nigeria has become a pacesetter for other agencies to follow and their success story aligns with Lisa Haisha’s quote “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role-always about the goal.”

The Carat Nigeria success story, according to industry watchers, will inspire other agencies to strive for excellence and showcase their works on the global stage.

Okeke urged other media independent agencies to partake in international awards, stating that African Cristal is “an eye-opener” for media practitioners in the sense that media agencies in Nigeria seem to be very silent when it comes to showcasing theirinnovation outside the shores of Nigeria. We tend to shy away from such events that help to recognize our works across the continent.”

“My feeling is that sometimes media practitionersthink that the creativity in the advertising space lies squarely with creative agencies. Media should drive the creative message and not the message driving the media; meaning that we need to begin to adopt what we have adopted in Dentsu Aegis Network and Carat globally.

“When advertising is created, they should be created in line with consumer media consumption habits and motivations. Media is very paramount in deciding what kind of insight goes into the messageto connect with consumers because if a big idea is hidden and not shared via media, consumers may not be exposed to it while the brand suffers.”

“As far as I am concerned, it is very pertinent we take bold steps in how we leverage media to amplify ideas for our esteem clients and brands. It is also important for agencies to learn not to work in silos but in collaborative ways because ideas don’t come from one source, they come as joint projects from differentmarketing communication agencies of the client; media being a significant part of making the idea and execution bigger and louder.”



Other Notable Accolades

For its outstanding performance, the Research Company Evaluating the Media Agency Industry (RECMA) rated Carat, as the No. 1 Global Media Network and the fastest growing agency in the world in 2016.

Carat, established in 1968 won the recognition for its consistency in Redefining Media landscape globally but also for creating better client business value through its command of media convergence in close to 50 years of doing business.

The agency has presence in more than 150 countries servicing top-notch clients; the agency currently employs more than 10,000 talented staff members worldwide.

In the Nigerian market and other markets, the agency sets out to redefine the media independent business as its primary mission. The agency does this in four ways by redefining insight, redefining planning, redefining investment and redefining business outcomes. For these reasons and many, more industry watchers believeCarat will achieve more local and international recognition in the days to come.

Speaking of the agency’sfuture, Okeke disclosed, “We will apply for more innovation awards and collaborate with our creative partners and affiliates to ensure that we continue to represent our industry here in Nigeria and outside the country.”



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