onewild thought

A collection of our views, rants and thoughts on design, branding, communication, and any other thing we find interesting.

The Molue school of thought

I hold on strongly to the belief that Lagos is a miniature representation of the reality of existence.

No, this is not a philosophy lesson but there is a lot that can be learned.

The people of Lagos walk to the rhythm of the city’s heartbeat. The energy and the drive can bring out the worst in people and sometimes the best, other times; it brings out the thoughtful.

Ji! Ma sun’ Awaken! Is painted in white on the inside walls of the modernised Molue I got in on its way from Oshodi to Iyana Ipaja. It’s surrounded by stickers of adverts for herbal remedies, Canadian visa lotteries, libido enhancers and posters of Pasuma and his competitors in various poses, each seeming to say; “Pick me over them

On a journey as long as this and with a flat battery, I couldn’t help but “ma sun” – doze. However, the command continued to resonate in my subconscious.

ji!

Ji, ma sun!

Awaken to the realities of being human. The harsh and the welcoming, we must bear it all and survive. There are different variations to this particular nomenclature, one of which is ‘Shine your eye’.

shine your eye

I struggled to be comfortable in the crush of people and the bump of the road. I had given up on snoozing just as another bus zoomed past. ‘Shope tie’ be thankful for what you have, was cast across its back.

If you look, these short phrases are all over the transport systems in Lagos and even on some interstate buses. On the surface, it is instruction, admonishment and praise for God, others and oneself. However we see them or choose to disregard them, they are introspective.

The language is short, straightforward and often-times in poorly worded English or Yoruba. They present a raw, unclouded perspective to a life that is multi-faceted in its simplicity.

I saw these phrases from the mindset of the bus owners and Molue drivers.

Their motivations:

no food for lazy man

Young shall grow

god's time

j4.jpg

 

 

 

Their struggles:

no pain

after god, fear woman

suru lere

let them say

aiye mojuba

 

 

Their benefactors:

ola mummy

 

Their wishes for a destination:

Kásò Láyò

welcome is the best journey

 

 

Their prayers:

eleda masun

 

 

Their pride:

gallant

layon

ONE MAN MOPOL

ijoba

36

 

 

and sometimes, security simply put as:

keep your load

 

 

The Molue school of thought invites us to consider the future, to be thoughtful and careful on the road but the advice is effortlessly applicable to other life instances.

remember six feet

Many

no one knows tomorrow

 

Eventually, I arrived at my destination and as the conductor called out for the last bus stop; I looked out on the bus park to an ocean of faces, wares and yellow and black and I thought to myself.

Ji, ma sun

 

Footnote: Many thanks to all who gave insight, feedback and corrections to this piece.

Counting The Cost of Nike’s Bended Knee

Nike just did it!

They joined forces with swathes of protesting NFL Players, led by Colin Kaepernick.

The sportswear giant signed Kaepernick on a multi-year deal that makes him a face of the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign. They doubled up on the ‘Kap’ reveal with a video that aims to rile up the outlier in you.

Now, considering the amount of time and resources that Nike has invested into building a gilt-edged brand over the course of its existence; the high perch it commands on the roll call of admirable American brands, the financial indices any company would covet longingly, the ever fierce competition from Mr Adi Dasler’s camp, and the bulk of what it stands to gain versus losing; did it really count the cost of taking a knee?

Or…

Is this road less taken, an all too familiar route where they need no introduction?

Firstly, I believe the brand is playing the loyal friend. Beyond that Kaepernick has been a Nike-sponsored athlete since 2011 and had previously been featured in several campaigns, the brand has a long history of partnering with athletes of colour. This partnership gives them an edge in marketing a certain image as they (continue to) walk on this road less taken.

But then again, that’s just Nike doing Nike things.

Since the Kaepernick tweet that arbitrarily announced the Ni-Kap bromance, ‘the world’ has been divided into two major halves – one half thumbed it up, while the other half not only vowed a massive boycott, but went on to torch anything that has the Nike swoosh on it.

Add the massive boycott threats, gear torching and a plethora of articles, to the creative hashtags across social media, high level op-eds and general word-on-the-streets, you have a great meal of free publicity. Add that to an avante-garde, publicity-conscious brand, you have a banquet.

For a brand that is ever in your face, encouraging creativity, innovation and daring the outlier in you, it is only a matter of formality to even think they need an introduction to this particular stage.

For brand watchers (like me 😉), the division would be evened out into two camps – the conservatives and the outlaws. The former would admit Nike has been doing relatively well in a sports market that is constantly under pressure but would maintain it cannot afford to make (potentially) bad decisions. Anything which has the tendency to damage market share, such as overtly political campaigns, should be treated like a plague.

The outlaws would pitch in the opposite direction – that was Nike just being Nike. While they might admit the move by was risky (which is merely letting off steam of arrogance), they would quickly follow up with the narrative that ‘risky’ moves are necessary to stay relevant and stay ahead. Nike, though an American enterprise, has grown to be a global brand with a far-reaching audience, a lot bigger than those within the borders of where it was birthed. Hence, it would certainly not be affected by alt-right semantics from a portion of people.

Conservatives would retort; that exactly is enough reason to stay away from potentially damaging firecrackers, especially as the brand becomes a global behemoth.

Outlaws would counter that however big a tree grows, it can’t grow too big and completely detach from its roots. Hence, Nike will never shy away from identifying with its roots – what made it what it currently is. It becomes increasingly imperative by the day for brands to take a stand on social issues of global scale, younger consumers want to know what their favorite brands stand for – more of a reason to take a stance.

For all the argument is worth, Nike has since inception, been walking the route of Robert Frost’s traveler in poetic classic; The Road Less Taken:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

While you can choose the camp of the Conservative or Outlaw, understand that it is configured in Nike’s DNA to be the latter – to walk on the road less taken. If anything, we would be worried had they decide to sit back and play safe.

For all they have stood for and for all they are worth, they are pathfinders on this road, and that, for them, has made all the difference.

Caveat: Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.

Trek ’97:The walk for a man who had death in his pouch.

I sat and listened as my colleagues recounted to me what really happened on August 11th 1997. Afterwards, i went on my own journey and found the Abami Eda in his life, his music and his immortality.

I know well of the story of the man that was buried that day; Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. He influenced entire generations from all over the world, He created something genuinely explosive; Afrobeat.

Afrobeat is boisterous and hearty, full of horns, poetry and staggered rhythm. It was born from a rebel in a time of rebellion and cried out anti-establishment ideology that spoke to the people of the hard struggling Nigerian grassroots.

Afrobeat started as a form of outcry, now it is the unofficial anthem of Nigerians and can be heard live in the cafes, bars, clubs and concerts of New York, London, Paris, New Orleans, San Francisco etc.

To everyone he met, Fela was a genius, a composer. Many have compared him to the likes of Beethoven and Mozart. In the early 70s, he built a commune which he named ‘The Kalakuta Republic’. He was an avid believer in the traditional african religions and often performed ceremonies during his shows at the African Shrine. Fela’s spirit ran deep and strong in the hearts of the people.

His funeral was preceded by three days of processions as his family debated where to hold the lying in state. Fela’s family did not expect more than 300 people to attend. It was attended by more than one million people and brought the city of Lagos, a city of more than five million people at the time, to a complete standstill.

The funeral was truly a festival, people cried openly in the streets and Fela’s records could be heard playing as though from everywhere and nowhere.

The lying in state was held at the open arena of Tafawa Balewa Square. Around the Square were giant signs announcing ‘BABA 70’ and a coffin, all of glass, was placed on a raised dais.

Nigerians from all walks of life and all ethnicities filed past in silence, there was no shoving or pushing. The man, even in death, held the world in silent awe.

After the ceremony, the funeral procession began.

Trek 97

 

Close to two million people trekked 28 kilometres in 7.2 hours from Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island to Fela’s home at Gbemisola Street, Ikeja, that’s like driving at 4km/hr on a Lagos road.  Imagine a car on an otherwise busy road moving at an almost snail’s pace. The length of Ikorodu road was jam packed and crawling for the amount of time to get from Lagos to London or leave earth’s atmosphere into space.

All businesses were closed, there was singing and dancing and the air was full of billowing clouds of Marijuana smoke. As Fela was lowered into his grave in accompaniment to a dirge blown on the Saxophone by Femi, his eldest son, a dusty rain started to fall.

The vault was sealed and guarded.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Abami Eda, Omo Eleniyan, the people’s president and the music he created as well as the life he led and principles he believed in represented the spirit of truth. He was the voice of the tired and trampled, a clenched fist and a voice raised in defiance.

I saw with new eyes and a freshly taken breath.

The man with death in his pouch lives on.

The Moonwalker

I reveled in the drama caused by Sterling Bank’s shady jab at other financial institutions. They shot for the moon and promptly issued an apology after landing. I and many other onlookers didn’t expect this as an aftermath to the trending post.

 ‘In shooting for the moon, men become stars’ Sterling bank landed on the moon and proffered an apology.

“Our apologies go out to all the banks -the likeness of whose logos & buildings featured in a post which we have since deleted. We remain committed to building an organisation that enables our youth find expression & we will continue to do this in the most responsible fashion.”

The apology appeared on the Sterling Bank social media pages on Tuesday. According to economic watchers ‘Nairametrics’, Guarantee Trust Bank reported the ad to the Central Bank of Nigeria after declining to address the post directly. 👀

In response to this, the Central Bank of Nigeria sent a letter to Sterling bank to;

“pull down the post from its Twitter handle, write and unreserved apology, through the same medium, to all banks whose logos and buildings you used in the advert and explain within twenty-four hours why regulatory sanctions should not be imposed on your bank”

 

The CBN named the post an attempt by Sterling bank to demarket other banks and alleged that the post was perpetuated in violation of the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act whilst generating negative comments for the entire banking industry.👀

The public however, thought differently of the apology, calling out GTBank’s alleged snitching and applauding the poster #letusseegoodbrandadverts

In ‘Of Rockets, Bombs and Shade’   i explored how the ethics of the initial post were obviously up for debate. Subtle and even sometimes direct jabs through advertisement are commonplace in the international market. The Central bank of Nigeria has decided that this might not be a new direction in the world’s advertising industry but it is definitely not the Nigerian way (of banks at least).

A Onewildcard commentator argues that; while this type of aggressive advertising is not the ‘Nigerian way’, It should be. Ads such as the Sterling Bank poster provide social commentary and start conversations on what brands are doing wrong and how to better improve their services.

Another points out what is echoed by CBN and says that such behaviour is unbecoming of brands in the financial sector.

The implications of such apologies needs to be explored. I fear that the apology will bring about more timidity of expression in Sterling bank and other brands that are looking on. For ads, creativity naturally plays a huge role in effecting a campaign that is relatable and engaging to existing and potential consumers. Having to retract such posts surely has a debilitating effect on creativity and design confidence.

At the same time, even though it was tagged #bankwars, it was not and is not a fight. All brand communications are expected to be respectful and responsible and that must be balanced alongside the natural creativity.

Sterling Bank Plc says they are committed to a brand that enables youth to find expression and i applaud that sentiment. I and the rest of the country will continue to look on as the saga unfolds.

P.S.

“We need a fresh ideas, something out of the box, something out of this world.” 😛

Of Rockets, Bombs and Shade.

I was having a very mundane Saturday morning. It was calm and lazy because of the early morning showers when all of a sudden, notifications from social media started going off. I opened the first one and immediately ran off to get some popcorn because I knew from the first look that this was going to be good. 

Sterling Bank Plc had shaken the proverbial table in what has now been dubbed; The bank wars ( it even has its own hashtags) #bankwar #Thebankwars #bankswar.

This image was posted on the Sterling bank Plc social media accounts

‘In shooting for the moon, men become stars’

And invariably shooting down competition in the same breath. The poster features jabs at four different financial institutions.  The first, I deduce to be Access Bank from the well known arrows. In this case however, the figure shooting the arrows was completely off target. Following is a depiction of a very famous orange square which can only be GTB but to Sterling Bank it presents as a constricting prison. Then comes the mighty elephant of First bank and the stallion of Union bank. Both are presented to be just out of reach of the figure heading to the Sterling Bank moon on a rocket. Over the weekend, responses from Union, Access and First Banks came flooding in, further fueling the Sterling Flame.

Access Bank dropped the microphone with this fiery comeback

Union Bank serves shade with a dash of rationality

First bank addressed the ad curtly and succinctly by throwing it straight into the trash can.

Sterling Bank successfully threw a curve ball which no one expected and gained 4,000 new followers and over 3,000 likes in the process. I am certain that the next few days will largely increase the company’s Top-of-mind awareness. The poster pushed engagement so much that while it did in fact shade these other banks, it also brought the spotlight to them which they promptly utilised to their own advantage.  When all the laughs have died down, this ad will become a call to action and a reason to redress the issues of public perception facing Access, Guarantee Trust, First and Union banks. I am enthused that this ad managed to begin the discussion of what can be seen as the problems of service to all of these organisations, Sterling Bank included.

Take for instance, Sterling Bank’s lack of available branches

Or First Bank’s reportedly crowded and poorly maintained halls

To GTBank’s overwhelming bank charges

At the same time the ethics behind the post needs to be explored. Understandably, such bombs are commonplace in the international market; especially in the USA(Coca-Cola and Pepsi are a prime example). It remains to be seen however, if this is “the Nigerian way”. 

These types of interactions, however you feel about them, are important to humanizing brands. More importantly, it triggers interaction and opens up your audience.

Be Human 🙂

 

 

 

A Shallow Thought on “This is America”.

‘Here’s this thought. I made a thing out of it, and there’s a whole world contained in there.’ I want you to be able to immerse yourself in it.”

 

  • Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino

 

Everyone is looking for the deepness in This is America and it’s like a gold hunt, down to the drag-in-the-mud parts. Cruising through comments street on social media, with Twitter being the pack lead of course, I got increasingly amused at the way many were getting all hot and twitchy. It got me wondering if there’s anyone else who thinks all the excitement is like getting all hot and blue-balled without release (in sight).

Sure, the video is shocking. Bizarre. All in your stricken face but you still can’t see it all. It’s a whammer that leaves feeling like w-w-whut? at the end. And I totally LOVE IT. But maybe I’m not woke enough, maybe I got stuck at the shallow end of all the deepness that abounds now, because all the questions I’ve got about the video are way out of the range of the symbolism and deep meanings that seems to be the majority concern.

I’ve got questions like ‘what was his thought process for the video (concept and execution)? What gave him the ideas? Quite important, how did he communicate it to the team?…’ Considering that he has almost always shown a depth of thought and knowledge in his creative projects, This is America is not out of his perceived capacity. However, I am intrigued by the multitude number of layers that exist in this particular video. How was he able to put it all together and still make it seem so seamless?

From majority reactions, I gathered that Donald has carefully curated his image as a lone-wolf in the forest of rappers that we have. He makes no apologies or explanations for who he is and his shortfalls and this has served to make two clear distinctions of people’s reactions to him and his work; like or dislike. I fell in like with his music when I came across 3005, my best song of his. That song hit me in the right places and got me curious about him. I discovered that whether in like or not, one thing that cannot be denied is his creative depth.

Now, the video has over 110 million views on youtube (14:05:2018) and that’s damn great. How hard is it to get people to stop scrolling, watch, rewatch and THINK in this age? You know the answer to that. With this, Donald has catapulted his brand into multiple spheres all at once; intellectual, entertainment, political, academic…you name it. It’s a stone that takes not just two birds, but a chunk of them. On the not so bright side of this is the benchmark he has raised for himself with this. His next production will be watched and picked apart finer than a whisk whips eggs. Fingers crossed that he’ll not go down low with his coming productions.

On a cheeky note, I wonder if he knows the extent to which he done good to the meme-collectors association. So many meme-worthy shots in the video. Plus, how the hell did he get to be chubby and skinny the same time? Okay, I’ll stop right here.

#OneWildRide

“… and the stars look very different today
For here am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can’t do…”

Space Oddity, David Bowie

If you’ve ever watched this classic animation, Heavy Metal, then you’ll likely feel a bit of a shiver when you learn that a car is cruising in space right now. Elon Musk’s latest dare-deviling elicits a deja vu about the opening scene of that movie.

That picture of Starman in the Roadster with the earth silhouetted behind him is an exciting pictorial representation of what 2018 should be; shoot ad astra, to the stars.

Last year Elon sent it out to us, the world, that the first thing that Space X will be transporting to space on the Falcon Heavy will be a Roadster. And on Tuesday, the car roared off into space on top of the Falcon Heavy, right at the same pad man launched to the moon in 1969. This is one of OneWildCard’s prediction for 2018 which you can watch HERE

Elon Musk himself and Space X have established themselves as clever deviants and all aspects concerning the Falcon X’s launch mirror this; the car especially.    The car, Elon’s Tesla Roadster, was used in replacement for what would have traditionally been a slab of concrete (the purpose of putting anything on a rocket is to check the weight transporting capacity) but nah, that would have been boring. The feelers of your interest won’t be excited if it had been a concrete right? The idea itself is depressing and not so stimulating for those who have crazy sense of imagination.

With well placed words and design, Elon turned the launch into a classic case of cross promotional marketing. People are talking about this. Why? It’s unusual, it’s daring and let’s even throw a nod to the dissenting party and say it’s outrageous, nonsensical, even a thousand times eye-roll worthy. Yeah, all that. But people are talking about it.  Now, people are reminded that a car can cruise in the space, with music of choice on blare volume. If you’re wondering why I used the word “reminded”, know that Elon’s car is not the first to be in space. The Apollo Lunar Rovers already took that medal. But hey, when we’re talking about a car that’s going to be cruising in space for a while, the Roadster is it. Plus, it’s carrying the names of 6000 Space X employees’ names on a plaque which is awesome.

This is not the first time Space X is doing something so badass and non-conforming. A wheel of Le Brouvere cheese was launched along with its Dragon spacecraft’s first flight. Always, Elon seeks to raise the bar, to do “something unusual, something that made us feel” (Elon Musk). Can we agree that this is the spirit of real branding and marketing)? So when next you’re designing or marketing a brand, look to open a damn of feelings (good ones!) at best or a burst of opinions at least.

Hey, do you know you can get a ride on Falcon Heavy for as low as 90 million dollars? Before you protest, compare it to the price of the SLS which is 1billion. Start dreaming about that one wild ride.

#OneWildSeries: One Wild Jump

 

Death-defying. Stunning. Incredible. Terrifying. Bombastic…

These were some of the words used to describe the Red Bull Stratos Jump by Felix Baumgartner. And truth be told, that jump was all of these words combined and more. How else do you want to describe a jump from the edge of space?

Red Bull is one energy drink that is known across the whole world.  As a child, I remember listening with awe as an older boy talked about how muscles will pop out of our arms immediately we drink the contents of the can. The only thing that kept me from daring to go ahead was my mother’s painful thorough whipping that rendered butts useless for days and his little caveat; we might become so filled with energy that we will run mad. Although this was an extreme view of what the drink can do, a lot of people will agree that it is a true energy drink that ‘works’.

It’s not for nothing that Red Bull spends boggling amounts of money on marketing and branding. Worldwide, the drink has come to be associated with daring, with pushing the envelope.

The Stratos Jump was a very daring (and expensive) marketing move for Red Bull. How can millions (over 52million) watch a human can of Red Bull charging through spheres and not be converted into  Red Bull fans? The exposure that the jump gave the brand across all platforms is stunning in its entirety and would have taken tens of millions of dollars to get that same amount of exposure using normal adverts.

Felix jumped from the stratosphere for a total of 9.09 minutes, free-falling at supersonic speed for 4.22 minutes of that time. That’s scary, especially for someone like me who is height-unfriendly (that’s a cute way of saying I’m scared of heights).

Of course it wasn’t a top of the hat decision and stunt. Preparation and training were going on for 5 years after the idea was conceived and approved in 2005. Felix himself has been skydiving for Red Bull since 1988 but this was a major.

The jump went ahead to break 5 Guinness Book of records feats, one of which is the Highest Freefall record. Owner,  Dietrich Mateschitz claimed it wasn’t a marketing stunt, “if this were just a marketing gimmick it would never work”. But hey, a few percent jump in profits doesn’t hurt right?

Click right here to read more on the Red Bull Stratos jump. What daring stunt have you pulled before? Comment in the box below.