Growing up as a child in Nigeria, the assimilation of a certain set of survival skills are carefully woven into the fabric of those experiences with repercussions for laws broken by children in most homes.
For Mother’s Day, 2018, Chris Ogunlowo, creative director of SO&U and his team including Abraham Cole (Art Director) and Adebayo Arisilejoye (Copywriter), came up with creative images that gave common household items their weaponry status as weapons of ‘factory reset’ used by Nigerian mothers to ‘correct’ a misbehaving child.
Tools like ‘The Dunlop slippers’,‘The Broom’ and ‘The Spatula’ are regular household items which were highlighted and which, asides from their original purpose of protecting the feet, keeping the house clean and making the common Nigerian dish, eba, continue to alternate as tools for discipline.
For the majority, this curated list of designed manuals showing directions in detail, of how to use various household items as tools of ‘discipline’ brought a nostalgic smile to the corners of the lips with memories filled with the sound of your mother’s voice followed by a carefully chosen multipurpose tool.
For others, especially those who didn’t experience this form of discipline but mostly got non-contact punishments for bad behaviour such as kneeling down and having toys or play time taken away, these set of ads may not sit well and would probably bring into question the mode of parenting being employed by previous generations and whether this constitutes for the physical and mental abuse of generations past.
For most though, it was seen as a comic relief which strikes a comparison between both stages of life for the children who have now grown up, most, contributing additional items to the set of the images which went viral when shared on social media on Sunday.
In a conversation with Chris Ogunlowo, the creative director said the ads resonated because “we humorously profile the common tools used during a mother and child squabble, and use them to remind ourselves about the love that came in form of discipline.” “People like humour and nostalgia he continued, and it’s beautifully designed.
On being questioned on the reason Nigerian ads are not winning international awards, Ogunlowo replied that “we do win actually, but not at a level commensurate with the size of our market and the number of creative agencies.”
“I believe a lot goes into winning international awards. We’re still scratching the surface. It’s like running a business; you hope to master the value chain of your business, including those outside your immediate control. I relate that to the stages that an idea must go through to ensure it is up to a standard. The value chain of an idea, at least in an ad agency setting, includes having brilliant creative thinkers who can conceptualize in a brilliant creative agency working for a creativity-acknowledging client for a creativity-demanding brand, alongside, perhaps, tastefully creative suppliers, to a creativity-appreciating audience, and to be entered into an award show that potentially recognizes cultural nuances behind a creative idea etc.”
The quality of the environment and demands/expectations of the clientele native to Nigeria were among challenges brought up, however, Ogunlowo argues that “in every aspect of our society, the creative industry and audience are still growing, and when storytellers elevate taste, the audience will adjust.”
The Mother’s Day ads continue to resonate among audiences across different parts of the country.