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Nigeria’s Creative Weaknesses Exposed as Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritius Sweep Cristal Poster Contest

[ad id=”187″]By Lukmon Oloyede.

When it was announced that the third edition of the African Cristal Festival Poster Contest would be held in Lagos,expectations were high that Nigerian creative/designers would have a rare opportunity to dominate the international creative award.As Africa’s biggest economy with a huge annual ad spend, it was expected that the country would show to the rest of the continent her abundance of creative works. But to the surpriseof many observers, no artwork from the country even made it to final stage.

It was even more surprising, apart from one French national, the other members of the 15 jury were Nigerian Creative Directors. The jury converged last week at La Mango, Ikeja in Lagos, to select the finalists from the 103 entries submitted forthe contest. After hours of rigorous analysis,threecristal poster contest creative works from Mauritius, an island nation and one from Cote d’Iviore were selected by the jury for the finals. Mauritius, witha population of just 1.3 million people has always remained a colossus in African creativity. Talents from the country clinched the first and second editionsof the Poster Contest that took place in South Africa (2013) and Kenya (2014) respectively.

This year at the third poster Contest hosted in Lagos, Nigeria,  Ivorian artwork “Pencils: all colors of Africa” by Arnaud Bedel of Drive Dentsu, in collaboration with Eding Labatut, a Copywriter became the first to oust Mauritius as winner of this ardently contested annual battle of creativity.

The other three artworks that  also made it to the finals, all  from Mauritius,  are Sebastien Bayaram’s “Unleashing the African creative genius”; Zuhayr Kinoo’s“Big Ones”; and Romain’s “Gathering Africa’s Brightest Ideas”.

According to the Jury, the Ivorian design won the contest based on its simplicity, insight and strong communication power that reflected the colour and diversity of Africa. As expected of professionals, the jury delivered their selections on the works based exclusively on theirmerits.

The winners will have free pass for each person from the winning team (maximum 2 people) for the 3rd edition of the African Cristal Festival in Morocco from September 30 to October 2, 2015.The package includes transportation (airplane ticket for one person), transfer (from the airports of Casablanca or Marrakech), accommodation and registration (access to the festival venues, official lunches, cocktails & dinners, after parties). Also, the participants will benefit from a 10% discount on the global participation fee for thewinning agency. For the four finalists, a delegate pass for the Festival will be offered to them.

cristalAlthough Nigerian artwork – ‘Steaze’ – by Johnson Folake of Creativexonewas among the four finalists last year, observers expected more dominance this year. Not making the finalists of the African Cristal Festival Poster Festival and winning global creativity awards such as Cannes Lions, The Loeries Award among others, according to analysts, exposed the limitations of Nigerian creative works.

Commenting on Nigeria’s poor performance at the contest, a member of the Jury and Creative Director, Insight Communications¸ChimaOkenimkpesaid the creative industry inNigeria has all it takes to deliver outstanding works that could compete worldwide but it takes more than just having an idea when it is not been executed. “I don’t think there are more creative persons in other regions than here. I think clients here are also a little bit more careful. Clients are not ready to explore the outer boundaries of creativity. If you look at smaller African countries with less diverse cultures, they have more creative content than Nigeria.

“I was a jury at last year’s African Cristal Festival and I can tell you that most of the works from Nigeria were still at the basics. We need to take more chances. We need to understand that the audiences are asking for more”, he declared passionately.

On the way forward, Okenimkpe said“it will take both the clients and the agencies to take Nigeria’s creative to the next level. Quite honestly, some agencies are ready to run because that is what we do for a leaving but sometimes clients will just feel the consumers will not like it. .

READ ALSO Cote d’Ivoire Wins Cristal Festival Poster Contest In Lagos

“Consumers are ready for cutting edge advertising but clients are not. Consumers are ready to be excited. They are tired of ads that do not tell fantastic human –based stories. Consumers want to see more of ads that give insights. They want to see more ads that use humour, drama and trigger actions”, he retorted.

The Regional Executive Creative Director for DDB West, Eastern & Central Africa, Clement Vigne also explained that creativity is not about “how big your economy is but rather it’s about opening your mind. It is about having great ideas.  In fact, sometimes, adversities create the best idea. I have seen lot of creative works coming from the agencies in Nigeria that end up on their shelves or drawers than on TV”.

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