Associating a popular face with brand appears set to become the easiest way to sell a product and build brand affinity.
The telecommunications companies seem to be leading the way of brands offering endorsement deals grabbing a handful of celebrities and offering them mouth-watering, lucrative deals (we’re talking double figures in the millions here) as brand ambassadors.
In 2010 Psquare broke bank when Nigerian telco Globacom scooped them up as brand ambassadors with an endorsement deal reportedly worth N240m. Psquare who charge an average of N15m as performance fee for a show would have to perform 16 times to get that much.
Three years earlier GLO made a full swoop when they signed on as ambassadors a host of actors from Nollywood including Chioma Akpotha, Desmond Elliot, Uche Jumbo, Mike Ezuruonye, Ini Edo, Ramsey Nouah, Monalisa Chinda, Rita Dominic and later Funke Akindele, Kunle Afolayan, Van Vicker and Odunlade Adekola. Each deal, NET gathered, was worth from N10m to N25m.
In May 2013, Glo made another swoop; this time signing a handful of prominent B list musicians –Omawumi, Waje, Flavour, Bez, M.I, Burna Boy, Naeto C and Lynxxx, and Efya, who all joined Lagbaja. Their deals varying but scoring an average of N20m each.
MTN who have been investing in other aspects of entertainment (Project Fame music show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire TV game show, International Polo Tournament etc) shocked the industry in 2012 when they picked up Davido as an ambassador for their MTN Pulse campaign, a deal reportedly worth N30m.
A few weeks after Glo unveiled the new signings this year, MTN also felt the need to add more ambassadors to their roaster – within days, in what pundits say is a major policy change, MTN signed up Project Fame alumni Iyanya, (about N40m), Praiz (about N20m) Chidinma (about N20m) and Mike Ayesodo.
They also made a huge signing with Wizkid, a deal worth about N45m. And add Hafeez Oyetoro-Saka who made the famous move from telecom company Etisalat for a whooping N25m and ‘Mr Limpopo’ KCEE also to MTN.
There’s a lot of money going around but it’s no big news anymore; it’s the new age and things are way different in the entertainment industry today – artistes are better educated, their minders better oriented, there are more entertainment lawyers, record labels and entertainment companies and most importantly in the context of this article, managers who can bargain on behalf of the entertainers who at any time can be approached to be ambassador.
Armed with enough celebrity ambassadors to influence Nigerians, these companies can now build their campaigns around these celebs and hope to make sales with stats shattering the roof. And trust other companies to jump on the endorsement bandwagon – from online companies like Jobberman (which signed Funke Akindele as ambassador), Konga signing Omawumi to the most queer of them all – Benita Nzeribe becoming the face of Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.
CEOs are now breathing down the necks of the PR companies and ad agencies to find them a rep that can sell their brand or in this instance, compete with the celeb from a rival brand. Or what would better explain telecom company Etisalat (who since setting up shop in Nigeria have stayed away from endorsement deals) are reportedly currently in talks with D’banj’s management to sign the African Pop star as an ambassador for a deal worth close to N100m (D’banj’s management tells us both parties are still in talks). Etisalat, we learn might also poach Ice Prince and Sasha.
In 2012, beverage company Pepsi signed pop singers Tiwa Savage and Wizkid as the company’s ambassadors, an endorsement deal jointly worth N45m, reports says. Little wonder Tiwa can take a break and cool off in Dubai or Wizzy cop a brand new Porsche.
While ambassadors are those we get to see splashed on billboards, in TV commercials and so on, advocates are a different breed all together. Advocates rather are consumers, (highly satisfied) customers who go out of their way to promote a product or service they love and care about. In modern times, they’ll ‘tweet’ profusely about, like the brand’s Facebook page.
In Nigeria however, advocacy has been added to the many roles of ambassadors; once again social media comes to play – with these ambassadors boasting of hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook likes and a lesser count of Instagram followers, it’ll only make sense for a Don Jazzy to talk (tweet) about Loya Milk or Wizkid instagram a photo of him drinking a bottle Pepsi.
Celebs Are Right Now Laughing To The Bank
Since it’s never been about album sales for Nigerian artistes (thanks to the monster Alaba), these artistes have always depended on show money and goodwill for high societal persons. With the endorsement fever gripping almost every artiste out there why would a Waje care if her album goes platinum or not? Wizkid’s reported N45m deal with MTN would cover about 10 shows, Jim Iyke‘s Virgin Atlantic deal reportedly worth N23m would bank roll a number of movies…
The smallest of each of these endorsement deals total into the millions and if you’re lucky, you could get more than one deal! Wizkid is linked with MTN and Pepsi, Don Jazzy with Samsung and Loya Milk, Omawumi with Konga, Globacom and Mortein, and the biggest of all Funke Akindele with Globacom, Lagos State Government, Jobberman, Klin, Vita Foam and most recently, online business networking platform, Qlichy.com And believe it or not, more deals are coming – whether the brands are picking new faces or recycling the old.
At the end of it all, it’s a win-win situation for the celebs – they get the big bucks, while getting all the publicity that comes with the big budgets the brands put behind the campaigns.
Is it money well spent by the companies though? And are celebs really being paid what they’re worth? Will this trend continue, or fade off in a matter of time? Fingers crossed…