The African Cristal Awards held in Marrakech, Morocco last weekend with agencies from Nigeria, it became a very humbling experience for participants as this nudges Nigeria and Nigerian agencies forward on the African and global creative arena.
Speaking with our correspondent on the continental awards, Steve Babaeko whose agency records the feet of being the only Nigerian shop invited to the Cristal Awards podium to receive its Cristal “gold” award plaque as the only mainstream winner from Nigeria, explains explained the propelling fire power, “when we set up X3M Ideas, we didn’t setup to be second best to any other agency, we thought we could be the best. Today, the fact that we win at that pan-African level underscores all the dreams, all the aspirations we had at the inception of X3M Ideas.
According to him, most agencies are wary of participating in such awards, because of the huge cost, the award is not cheap, it’s quite expensive to feature entries in this award just like the Cannelions, few agencies can afford it. “So when you consider the economy of the country where most agencies are struggling to keep their heads above the water, you will understand why only a handful of agencies submitted entries”, he asserts.
However, if one considers the financial outlay against the exposure for staff and learning arising from it, you will realize it’s a good decision afterall. “Again, it needs be pointed out that some agencies are still bugged down by this old school mentality, they just think, “okay, the world stops in Nigeria”, no its doesn’t work like that, the world goes further than Nigeria. When you have activities at the continental level like this, if you want to be a player to be reckoned with in the world, then we have to be at such events. It is not about showing off, it is in line of our duty and growing our brand”, Steve rationalizes.
X3M Ideas led other Nigerian agencies with 1 Cristal and an Emerald. The agency won a Cristal with it’s work, Oando O-Gas Switch which it submitted for Promo & Direct category. It also won Emerald under the same category with it’s Etisalat Super Recharge1.0. The agency also won an Emerald at the main events, making up its three medals.
Dwelling on what it takes to excel at the Cristal awards, “this is not a minute award”, pointed out Babaeko, it is a continental award. “It takes guts and creativity. Creativity is the currency of the business. Creative fire power is the in thing, if not you will just be donating money to charity. So most importantly, beyond everything else, the level of creativity you have in your agency and the kind of works you develop will determine your stand and qualification to contest for laurels at that continental level”.
According to Babaeko, awards like this matters to the client, it is not just some exercise in frivolities. “The clients are not fools neither are they deceived. They look out for all those brand health indicators – are you able to show up where your mates are showing up at the continental and global levels? If you are not there, then the client will probably be thinking why should we work with this agency? And if they don’t do that, they will be making a mental note of how agencies are fairing may be, just may be for future decisions. It has far reaching implications”, he pointed out.
Steve is excited by the fact that X3M Ideas is the only agency that won a real cristal. “The rest of it I leave up to people to go and find out who won what? To be honest, I do not bother about position, we have always thought we are the best”. According to him, the agency’s outing at the Cristal awards is a testament. “It underscores the seismic shift that is happening in the industry. There is a shift of power, there is a generational shift as the younger agencies are taking exerting their creative fire power and influence. X3M Ideas is just four years, not yet five but believe in the power of possibility and a greater future for this industry.