I’ve been a fan of good adverts. Growing up in a typical Nigerian home, there were more to the normal adverts seen on our television boxes. I learnt a lot about companies from just listening to their adverts. From the ‘Papilo’ themed advert by Peak milk, to MTNs ‘Everywhere You Go’, down to ‘Panadol extra’ and present day adverts done by the same brands.
I often made reference to the adverts done by both Peak and Durex in present day time. The safe sex campaign of 2021 by Durex featuring the Winter Olympics and the present day advert given by Peak in regards to the celebrations surrounding Easter. Every copy is intentional, direct, friendly and personal to its audience.
Despite the novelty ideas in creating/curating these contents, oftentimes, a lot of mistakes are made by companies when writing an advert, leading to loss of interest, profits and customers. Oftentimes, companies depend on the saying, “There’s nothing like a bad press” but any bad press that is associated with a company can create room for stigmatisation, distrust and build of wrong personae in the eyes of its customers.
On the 18th of April, 2022, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), sanctioned financial institution Sterling Bank over its Easter celebratory message and quote, “Like Agege Bread, He Arose”.
According to the body, the use of the above statement was insensitive and provocative to its customers.Its press statement read, “The Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria (APCON) has observed with displeasure the insensitive and provocative Easter celebration advertisement by Sterling Bank Plc which compared the resurrection of Christ with Agege Bread.
“The distasteful advertising was neither submitted nor approved for exposure by the advertising standard panel (ASP), the statutory Panel charged with the responsibility of ensuring that advertisement conforms with the prevailing laws of the federation as well as the code of ethics of advertising in Nigeria.
“APCON will take necessary actions to ensure that sterling bank is sanctioned for the exposure of such offensive advertisement according to law and that no religious belief or faith is ridiculed or any blasphemous advertisement exposed in any guise.”
The fate of Sterling Bank after this sanction is however unknown but here are some of its notable mistakes that would have been avoided:
1. Uncertainty of the Intentions of your Content. A lot of energy is said to be vested in creating contents, which is why certain critical questions needs to be examined. Such questions such as: what you’re creating? Why are you creating it? To whom is the content for? And what channels of distribution would be used in putting it out? all need to be answered first before getting into the euphoria of creating an advert copy.
Most times, we’re quick to create without proper understanding of what it is we are creating. We often want to make the headlines and without proper planning we lose our “heads”. Don’t be in a hurry to create, think out what you wish to create first.
2. Lack of Audience Knowledge and Reception to Content How best do you know your audience? Are they people who’d react to certain things positively or negatively? Will they willingly key into your work, beliefs and also, publicise who you are? Your audience is your market and you understanding who they are is key to bringing out whatever advert copy you desire.
The statement by APCON did read that, “APCON will take necessary actions to ensure that sterling bank is sanctioned for the exposure of such offensive advertisement according to law and that no religious belief or faith is ridiculed or any blasphemous advertisement exposed in any guise”. All these would have been avoided if the knowledge of their audience and receptivity is noted.
3. Using Another Brand to Sell Yours. Using another brand without proper authorisation may create unwanted scenes to you and your company.
For instance, Agege Bread is a brand to its name and it being used in Sterling Bank’s advert could attract a sue from the company. Always avoid either defacing or promoting another brand while running your own advert copy.