The Battle Of The Unveiling By Guinness Nigeria & Schweppes Nigeria
As 2020 draws to an end, the world is playing catch up on the time lost in lockdown, isolation, or the heat of a protest. For brands, marketing calendars felt the long press of the pause button. So, how do they make the most of the little time left? They unveil and reveal, to drive top of mind awareness to their audience.
In November, every brand was excited to show their play of cards. Yet, I’d focus on two distinct unveilings that stood out, one for its authenticity and the other for the lack of it.
On the 20th of November, Guinness Nigeria unveiled Nelson ‘Prince’ of Enwerem of Big Brother Naija 2020 as the brand ambassador. The theme Nwa Ka Ibe Ya (you are the child that is greater than his peers) stood true to the Guinness brand story of greatness.
This selection of a brand ambassador is one of the best we’ve seen in recent times. The affinity between the brand reflects the perfect pairing of Guinness and Prince. This is a clear departure from the signature use of numbers of followers and popularity as the yardstick for an ambassadorship.
The storytelling takes us on a journey to eastern Nigeria, reflecting as the voice of a father praises and reminds his son of the greatness he has within, using the language of adages unique to the Igbo people. This message resonates beautifully as you listen to the epic soundtrack created and performed by The Cavemen. Every frame is familiar and reflects the essence of the Igbo people.
This unveiling wasn’t just about the brand ambassador, but culture, roots, and the people who he (Prince) represents.
This story resonated with the audience, as the reactions focused more on the personality and the quality of storytelling.
This unveiling came to my timeline through people genuinely connecting with it, either by tweets or posting on their Instagram stories. It is important to note because I encountered the next brand unveiling as a sponsored post on Twitter that week. However, it was released on the 8th of November.
Schweppes Nigeria unveiled three ambassadors — Mike Edwards of Big Brother Naija 2019, veteran actor Richard Mofe Damijo, and actress Sharon Ooja. The choice of these personalities as brand ambassadors begs the question of what brand story and archetype Schweppes Nigeria falls under?
All the characters have in common is popularity in their various fields, but nothing stuck to how their personalities reflect the brand story of Schweppes.
While we contemplate on this question, the storytelling was anything but original. Every action in the frame is akin to the style we’ve all come to expect from the Heineken/James Bond partnership. This unveiling also had to rely heavily on paid promotions to reach its target audience.
If popularity was still a measure, the Guinness ad of one should pale compared to the trio power of Schweppes, yet it not outshone it, it truly reflected what true brand ambassadorship and storytelling look like.
We are in an age where the audience yearns for the community, a reason to connect, and a sense of belonging. The old tricks of popular faces and overplayed storylines do not deliver any of these.
There’s a school of thought in the world of advertising that believes the “if it’s not broken, then there’s no need for fixing” strategy. Well, this track is overplayed, broken, and in need of dire fixing, and the Schweppes unveiling reflects why that trifecta needs to be fixed.