Noah’s Ark Bows Out After Almost A Decade On The Airtel Nigeria Creative Account


After about nine years of proving creative excellence for telecommunications giants, Airtel Nigeria, Nigeria’s globally acclaimed creative powerhouse, Noah’s Ark Communications has officially bowed out of the creative account.

With the Airtel account, Noah’s Ark has placed Nigeria on the global map, winning local, continental, and international acclaims while getting featured on prestigious global platforms like Ads of the World and Lürzer’s Archive, among others.

No sooner had the agency won the account than it began to paint the creative advertising scene with the ‘red’ colours of the brand, giving Nigerians more than what creative advertising is. It is with the Airtel Nigeria brand that the agency reinforced storytelling in creative advertising, a first in this market and arguably on the continent with its ad series on ‘Data Is Life’ featuring top Nollywood actors including Lateef Adedimeji, Idowu Phillips aka Iya Rainbow, Ngozi Nwosu aka Mummy Peace, among others.

Indeed, the ‘marriage’ between Noah’s Ark Communications and Airtel Nigeria was one made in Heaven as the pair would go on to dominate awards arenas across the world. In 2017, the agency’s Airtel’s Lost Television Commercial (TVC) would be adjudged the best advertising campaign in 2017 by the jury of the prestigious Lagos Advertising & Ideas Festival (LAIF).

Airtel’s Lost TVC emerged the winner in five categories, including winning the prestigious Grand Prix category – the highest honour bestowed on any creative endeavour by the jury, to make the agency emerge as Nigeria’s most creative agency for that year. ‘Lost’ is a commercial with a strong allusion to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. It tells the story of a man marooned on an island. It is a metaphor for how digital natives feel when they are out of data (Internet connection) or are connected to an unreliable data service, which is commonplace in the growing Nigerian and West African telecoms space. The TVC served to underscore the importance of reliable mobile Internet and data services by drawing on the use of metaphor and representation to deliver meaning as well as connecting to the audience.

Aside from clinching the grand prix at LAIF, the Lost TVC won a Gold in the Telecom services sub-category under Film; another Gold in Film Craft in the same category; and bronze in Best Use of Music under the Film and Film craft sub-categories.

Within a period of seven months, the Airtel Lost TVC has won a quintuplet at LAIF, a treble at the prestigious African Cristal Festival, and Gold at the Epica Awards, an annual series of communication awards, created in 1987 and based in Paris, France. The Gold is the only international Gold Award won by any Nigerian agency in 2017.

Organizers of the EPICA award had revealed that Noah’s Ark’s entry for EPICA 2017 was adjudged a gold winner because it was a good example of deploying advertising as entertainment. Mark Tungate, who is an editorial director of EPICA, and hosts the EPICA jury meetings, revealed that “Lost,” the commercial that won gold for the Nigerian agency, was an embodiment of warmth, good acting, and a strong brand message.

“The jury gave the ‘Lost’ commercial from Noah’s Ark a prize for its warmth and humour, great acting, and strong brand message. The story builds up to a nice twist at the end, and all in all, it’s a good example of advertising as entertainment. A great win for Nigeria, but also a great spot in its own right which rose to the top in a very strong category.”

At the 2018 African Cristal in Morocco, the agency won the Grand Prix – the highest recognition of creative advertising excellence on the continent – for yet another commercial for the Airtel Nigeria brand, a series in the ‘Data is Life’ campaign called ‘Prayer Warrior (Amin)’.

“…I must say that there is a connection between this work and our African roots. All of us at the jury had this universal connection to it. We recognized ourselves behind this production. The main reason we chose it is because it has the main link between the universal cultures that cuts across Africa (where) we have more than fifty countries with different cultures, different foods, and different footprints…”

These were the words of Souleymane KHOL, VP, Sales Marketing Distribution & Revenue Management for Accor Africa & Indian Ocean while speaking on behalf of the Cristal Festival’s Advertisers’ Grand Jury, explaining the rationale behind its choice of Airtel’s ‘Prayer Warrior ‘(Amin) TVC for the festival’s highest honour – Festival Grand Prix, the Festival Grand Cristal.

At that showcase, Noah’s Ark Communications went on to sweep nine more medals into its kitty. A breakdown shows it got the Festival Grand Prix, another Grand Prix in the African Culture category, 3 Gold, 2 Silver, and 3 bronze medals. Other campaigns that won laurels for the agency include; ‘Ruth,’ a short film, ‘Monitoring spirit (Whatchu doing??)’ also for the Airtel brand.

In the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Noah’s Ark Communications was Named Agency of the Year, with Airtel works constituting part of the biggest wins. To emerge victorious, the multi-award-winning agency carted home a total of 28 laurels, including 1 Grand Prix; 8 Gold, 10 Silver & 9 Bronze medals.

Prominent amongst the agency’s cache of laurels, Airtel clinched seven Gold, six Silver, six Bronze, and the most prestigious Grand Prix through its Data is Life advertising campaign.

The 444 campaign earned it three Gold awards in the Bank, Investment and Other Financial Communication award’s category and also three Gold in the Telecom Product/Services award category. The Airtel’s ‘Data is Life’ (DIL) campaign was also adjudged a Gold.

Airtel’s advertising campaign also won nine awards earlier in 2019 at the Pitcher’s Awards, taking the company’s total awards for advertising campaigns in 2020 to 29, the most it has earned in any year.

In 2020, along with Airtel, the agency also emerged as Agency of the Year and Digital Agency of the Year at the Pitchers Award. This would make it the second time in a row that the agency would be winning the Agency of the Year, having won the same award last year.

The agency, which is reputed for its brilliant works across the continent, showed class once again by winning a total of 33 laurels at the event, including one gold, six silver, and 26 bronze medals. The Agency’s creative campaigns for Nigeria’s Telecommunication giant, Airtel, on Data extension and Smart Talk with titles such as Chores, Conditioning, Stew, Mechanic, Twale, and Boo became the centre of attention as they repeatedly won awards in both Social Media and Film categories. While the ‘Chores and Conditioning’ Airtel campaigns won the agency two Silver medals and two Bronze medals, respectively, in the Social Media and Film Categories.

In 2021, Noah’s Ark’s Airtel’s ‘Rainmaker’ Ad For Airtel Emerged as the only Shortlisted Work Out Of Africa. The “Rainmaker” campaign, which was shortlisted in the Communication and Public services category.

The organizers noted that all the shortlisted entries, including ‘Rainmaker,’ have been carefully appraised and scrutinized by esteemed jurors through an online voting platform to meet the standards of rating required.

Since its launch, the Airtel “Rainmaker” campaign has generated several media reviews, editorials, and word-of-mouth conversation among TV audiences in Nigeria. The campaign recently won Gold at the 2021 edition of the Lagos Advertising Festival (LAIF) Awards. The campaign also won the maiden ‘Authentic Africa story’ category at the awards.

In 2022, Noah’s Ark was yet again named the best Nigerian advertising agency at the 2022 Pitcher Awards. The agency said it garnered 29 laurels in different awards categories, winning one Grand Prix, one Gold, nine Silver, and 18 Bronze medals to emerge as the second most decorated agency in Africa and the agency of the year in Nigeria. Some of the agency’s campaigns that won the laurels include Terrible Teens; a webcomic; Ten Commandments Ad, Rainmaker; Home Broadband Ghost for Airtel, Independence Candle; Airtel Family Plan-Know Your Size; and Detty December for Hypo Bleach, among others.

Sources close to Brand Communicator hint that the creative account of the telco company has now moved to The Hook and Insight Publicis while its media business which was with MediaReach OMD has now found home at Algorithm Media.

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