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First BBNaija Level-Up Disqualification: Brand Influencer Grooming Strategy Gone Awry?


Some years ago, opportunities to emerge as ambassadors or influencers for high-ranking brands were limited to artists, athletes, actors, and celebrities that made waves as public figures. They were the ones most endearing to people then. Now, with the passion generated by the Big Brother Naija show, brands can readily explore new options. The yearly Big Brother Naija show is fast consolidating its position as the birthplace of superstars and celebrities with little or no strong antecedents.

From the character revelations, in-house games, steamy escapades, and controversies, to evictions and eventual revelation of the winner, Big Brother Naija as a reality TV show has become hugely appealing to millions of viewers and top brands in Nigeria and Africa at large. Not only that; for every party involved, it is a win-win. Viewers get maximum satisfaction as organizers and advertisers get massive proceeds from the show. For brands, it is an avenue to scout for housemates with distinct traits for deals and endorsements after the show.

Over the years, the show has provided a huge platform for the lucky ones to market themselves and their abilities to the world. The prize is glaring, but some don’t care about the win; for them, it is about being in the spotlight for as long as they can.

This is the reason reputation managers and PR consultancies rush to prospective housemates that have been auditioned for the show with proposals and mouth-watering contracts. It has been discovered that these image managers would brainstorm and coach the housemates they are managing so they can emerge from the house as stars that brands would want to sign up promptly as ambassadors and influencers. So, from day one, a hidden strategy is on ground to facilitate a good performance in the Big Brother House.

It has become clear that nothing is left off the table. Asides from winning, disqualification from the show makes headlines for weeks and even months. It was revealed that some managers include a plan for disqualification as they groom the housemates they are managing. From various indications, that is probably what happened to Beauty Tukura, the housemate that was evicted a few weeks ago from the Level-Up House.

The ex-beauty queen became the fastest housemate in the history of Big Brother Naija to leave the house. She was disqualified just after two weeks on the show. Investigations have revealed that her managers felt that due to her prior status, either way, they already have a prospective cash cow in their kitty. So, they planned either a victory or a disqualification that will shake the airwaves and skyrocket her ratings for brands to rush her for deals. Possibly the managers were motivated by the apparent success of Erica Nlewedim evicted some two years ago.

However, it seems as though she misread the script or did not expect a double strike so soon. Maybe she had a complex strategy but deviated from it due to some circumstances. Either way, she was disqualified earlier than expected.

Rattled by the new turn of events, her managers made every effort to pull their goal from fire. To salvage the situation, massive attempts were made on social media to position her in the league of past disqualified but successful housemates like Erica, while staged-managing a protest championing the need for her recall back into the Big Brother House. We can only wait to see how successful the damage control efforts would be.

Pending this, some questions are however begging for answers. Will Beauty emerge as a strong brand influencer/ambassador? Were her managers correct in the way they packaged her? What happens after disqualification? Will she rise or get forgotten?

Past instances would show that disqualification, can be a means to greater glory. Tacha, a former Big Brother housemate was coated in controversies and disqualified, but pulled through life afterward. Endorsements from major brands rushed in after her disqualification, such as Ciroc, House of Lunettes, Patricia NG, Villa Game, GetFit, and Oppo, a Chinese mobile Tech company.

For Erica Nlewedim, some observers thought it was over for her after her disqualification. But she did what they said she couldn’t-amass a strong fandom which made her a target for brands to work with. Nigerian Breweries, Partner Mobile Nigeria, Kuda, Super Komando energy drink, One Africa Global Movement, and many others are among brands that. She featured in several movies and gorgeously presented an award at the 2022 AMVCA awards.

While the strategy for winning BBNaija is deepening, other participants over the years have always had plans. WhiteMoney cooked and cleaned his way to success as a strategy. This earned him endorsements after his stay in the house. Alex and Liquorose were insanely good at dancing. Tricky Tee gave an aura of peace and tranquility. While Ozo’s unique performance in sports tasks and quizzes became a strategy to stand him out.

Whether it comes off as personality trait, strategy, or random happenings, these individuals distinguished themselves enough for brands to come knocking on their doors after the show. Brands target people with either a spectacular personality or a strong social media presence. In a situation where one possesses both, that person is sure to win.

Indeed, celebrity endorsements are fast becoming a more widely used marketing tool globally. More and more brands hope to leverage the popularity of a celebrity to gain product awareness and visibility in the crowded media space, especially online.

For instance, in the US, according to data cited in Zoovu, around 14-19% of advertisements aired in the US featured celebrities that endorsed products and brands. Nike alone is said to spend $475 million annually on getting athletes to endorse their brand. It has been observed that a simple announcement from a brand signing a celebrity or athlete can cause stock prices to rise slightly and even increase sales by 4% on average.

There are countless examples of this. It was reported that after Chanel signed Nicole Kidman in 2003, global sales of the promoted Chanel perfume increased by 30%. Additionally, Tiger Woods’ endorsement deal with Nike reportedly took Nike’s market share from 0.9% to 4% in 6 months.

The prospects of influencer marketing can’t be underestimated. Brands will always “prey” on what is good and outstanding. The use of influencers and ambassadors is here to stay. As Big Brother Naija delivers a new crop of celebrities every year, brands will always be on the lookout for personalities that can promote their products or services, strategies will always be employed and new traits would be revealed. The world of marketing can only relax to relish this cruise with satisfaction.

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