#Loeries2019: "The most audacious campaign will not convert if your target audience can't relate" - Oje Ojeaga
A lawyer by training, Oje Ojeaga has more than a decade’s experience as a creative professional. His gift for words and the ideas they inspire is clear to see, as he’s won over 50 advertising awards in Nigeria, Africa and the United States for work done for clients across a distinguished professional career as a copywriter.
Now serving as both CEO and chief creative officer for Up in The Sky Nigeria, the young agency that’s been listed 11th on the Loeries 2018 ranking of agencies in the Middle East and Africa region excluding South Africa, Ojeaga has twice been on the jury for the Pitcher Awards, West Africa and will serve on the 2019 jury panel for Ad Stars in Busan, Korea.
So who better to judge on the 2019 Loeries’ Digital Communication work, under Google Digital Communication Category jury president Tara McKenty?
I chatted to Ojeaga about regional differences in creative work, his judging expectations, and more…
Let’s start off with an overview of your professional achievements thus far.
A key achievement for me has been leading a small team of starry-eyed professionals to launch Up in The Sky in 2016. Starting the agency during Nigeria’s first recession in 25 years was a struggle indeed.
I would also say, being the only Nigerian agency to win at the Loeries in 2018 – in what was essentially our second year – was quite fulfilling for the entire agency.
Our industry is in a season of flux that can make even the brave worry. However, massive change is usually a harbinger of opportunities.
The takeover of traditional media platforms by all things digital will require us to think and create with a digital-first consumer in mind. I find this quite exciting. Being comfortable with technology should be the default response for a true creative.
Let’s drill down a little further: What is unique about brand communications in Africa and the Middle East?
We’re becoming more confident in our own voice, telling human stories within commercial messaging in ways that call back to our roots as storytellers.
It’s an exciting time to be a brand communications professional from Africa and the Middle East!
How does work from your region differ to what you’ve seen from SA?
I’d say the work is quite similar. Nigerian creatives continue to evolve and discover new ways to include cultural nuance in campaigns for brands.
That’s for sure. What kind of innovation and creative work will you be then looking for as a judge of the Loeries 2019?
I’m looking out for work that shows a team went beyond the obvious in solving a communication challenge.
Creativity that serves a purpose. Creativity that tackles big, bold themes or shows brilliant simplicity. I want to see work that not only challenges me to be a better creative, but work that sets a new standard for any festival, anywhere in the world.I think that is every judge’s dream.
Do you think the tenets of a successful media campaign are universal? What makes a campaign work in your country?
I believe the most important core element of a successful media campaign is relatability. The most audacious campaign will not convert if your target audience can’t relate.
This is just as true in Nigeria, where messaging is often analysed and dissected, both online and off.
What are you most looking forward to from Loeries Creative Week 2019?
The unexpected! The beauty of the Loeries is you never quite know what you’ll see, and it’s that spark of the unknown that is often the most memorable part of the festival.
Here’s looking forward to the unknown! Excellent insights on the power of telling better regional stories. If you can’t wait for Loeries Creative Week Durban, taking place from 22 to 24 August 2019, keep an eye on the Loeries’ Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds and stay tuned for my interviews with more of the regional jurors and all the latest updates in our Loeries’ special section. You can also follow Ojeaga on Instagram and Up in the Sky on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube