Uncle Ted, Passionate Ad Man, First Village Headmaster Dies; Industry Players Pay Homage
One of the foremost and respected Advertising practitioner, Uncle Ted Mukoro a.k.a Shine-Shine Bobo, passed on yesterday at the ripe age of 89.
From Radio Background to Advertising
Born in Warri, Delta State, in 1928, Uncle Ted as he was fondly called, also of the “Vono- weke, weke” fame, was a pioneer staff of the first television station in Africa, the WNTV/WNBS and a great creative iconoclastic advertising practitioner who moved in from the radio to carve a niche for himself in advertising through his many celebrated award winning campaigns.
His famous copy for Star come-back taken from Tony Agenmonmen’s book, “Excellence is not by Luck” attests to his great creative prowess with the infusion of local languages and dialects to make strong and winning ad copies.
Star, Shine Shine Bobo – One of his Classics
“Ahh, STAR. Na so, person when don open eye for this world know say sense pass money. Na em make bobo sabi chop life. Shine-shine Bobo, na STAR! E taste now na helele, original beer na em be STAR. E come bitter tenrenren, one kind when all your mouth go wake up. And STAR foam na waya. When you open am, e go just dey foam gudugudugudu everywhere. Oyokoto! Then pour STAR put for glass make you see how million upon million shine shine when be like gold for the beer dey shack inside. Drink am, ahh, STAR, make man talk true en, beer pass beer, na em be STAR… STAR e taste na waya… STAR, dey follow jollificate life”. This is Uncle Ted’s vintage radio copy for Star. Many others dot iconic brand portfolios across the industry.
Multi-Talented, Seeking Responsibilities
As an actor worth his onions, Uncle TED revealed in an interview, “I am the 1st Village Headmaster. I was the 1st when we started in 1968…”
Talking about the series, he revealed “we finished these ideas, we were told that there was no money. So the idea was kept in a cooler. Few years later a young man arrived from the United Kingdom, who later became an Oba, the Olowu of Owu in Abeokuta, Sanya Dosunmu, came across the ideas in the archives of the NTS.
He was excited when he was told that there was no money to do it, so he decided that he was going to try it. So he called us and we had a meeting with him.
He decided to get me in as one of the writers and I said I have never written any line of play. The amateur writers then also included Alex Akinyele. At the end of it all we called for a casting session. When WNTV and WNBS was moved from lbadan to Lagos, I went to Lintas. Mr. Segun Olusola went to Nigerian Television Service (NTS) now NTA.
Before the Village Headmaster, Uncle Ted and friends (Segun Olusola, Segun Sofowote, Rosemary Anieze and others) started radio drama on Western Nigerian Broadcasting Service (WNBS and WNTV) entitled Broke Time Bar written by Wole Soyinka.
“When we found ourselves in Lagos, we wondered if we could continue what we did at WNBS, on Television. So we came together and began to think of something different to do. Village Headmaster was like paying homage to the school master who taught all the new civil servants that took over from the colonial rulers” he reminiscences in an interview.
Industry needs to specially recognize his contributions – Owoborode
Reacting to Uncle Ted’s demise, Ayo Owoborode, Chairman, AAAN Board of Trustees, believes that he was a fulfilled man. “He dedicated most of his working life to Advertising. According to Mr. Owoborode, Uncle Ted started as a teacher, then became a Broadcaster before he became an ad man. He tutored Chris Doghudje of Zus Bureau among many others as his students.
For The BoT Chairman, the industry would miss him seriously for his depth of knowledge, professionalism and dedication to the profession, he adds that the industry needs to specially recognize his contribution to the industry.
A Titan, creative genius of no comparison – Emokpae
His advertising career saw him rising through the ranks in Lintas and retired as Creative Director. Erhabor Emokpae, Chiarman, Lowe Lintas also reacts: “The story of Lintas cannot be told with Uncle Ted and vice versa. He worked the longest with us and rose to the pinnacle. He was a part of the Lintas brand and also contributed immensely to building some of the brands we handled.
His passing on is a great loss to the industry, the creative community and the entire country. He was a creative genius of no comparison. He still has an office at Lintas where he used for his writings, he never stopped writing. Mr. Erhabor who revealed he is still trying to absolve the shock of Uncle Ted’s demise said he saw him at the office last week. For him, “A Titan is gone, we are the poorer for it.
Uncle Ted, The Legendary copy writer – Omoyele
Lampe Omoyele, Managing Director, 141-Worldwide summed the late Uncle in the following words: “Uncle Ted. The Original Village Headmaster. Legendary copy writer. Advertising icon. A life well-lived”
Uncle TED was absolutely brilliant – Akinwunmi
Lolu Akinwunmi, Group CEO, Prima Garnet Africa and former APCON Chairman, probably one of Uncle Ted’s students Mr. Owoborode referred to, paints a picture:
“I met Uncle TED in 1982 when I joined LINTAS. He was the deputy creative director to Ted Gough the white creative director.
Uncle TED was absolutely brilliant given his colorful background. He was a music teacher and choir master. He understood Latin and was a deeply religious catholic, said Mr. Akinwunmi
“Given his radio broadcasting background and being an urhobo, he brought Colour and vibrancy to pidgin English and radio production. Also being an actor and the first headmaster in Village Headmaster, he brought drama into his commercials”.
He was the professional of professionals and produced many campaigns for Guinness stout, Harp, Star, Maltina, Vono, Treetop, VW, Bournvita, UAC, Boncafe, Omo etc. Too many to mention. He was very humorous too.
Nigeria and the adworld have lost possibly the most creative writer of his generation. He will be missed, Lolu Akinwunmi told BrandCrunch.
Not adequately Documented for Posterity – Babaeko
Similarly, Steve Babaeko, CEO/Chief creativity Officer, X3M Ideas said: Uncle was held in very high esteem in the industry adding that he has been a big inspiration to his generation. “My only regret is that we (the industry) has not documented his uncommon know-how properly in such a way that those coming behind can benefit from his huge wealth of knowledge”. He sees his death as a great loss to the entire creative industry.
Uncle Ted was a most inspirational figure – Udeme
Some also held him in “awe”, Udeme Ufot, Group CEO, SO&U reveals why, “Uncle Ted was a most inspirational figure for many Practitioners of my generation. We grew up as teenagers in awe of his personality as the Village Headmaster, his eloquence as Newscaster, and the force (I suspect sometimes the voice) behind some of Nigeria’s most iconic advertising campaigns”.
“I will remember him most for his passion for creative excellence in the industry, his commitment to development of young talent, and his generosity of spirit in sharing knowledge and mentoring up and coming creatives”, said Mr. Ufot.
In the early days of SO&U in Apapa, according to Udeme, the agency invited Uncle Ted once to facilitate one of our creative training sessions. It was a most engaging, hilarious, rewarding and marathon experience. Uncle Ted “released” us at almost 3am! We clearly got more than we bargained for, he noted about the character of the deceased.
“His death is a great loss to the advertising industry. We will miss his candour, generosity of spirit and great sense of humour. May his soul rest in peace. Amen”, Udeme prayed.
He was a Legend, A legend is Gone – Adisa
The passing of any legend is always a big loss and as far as legends go, they don’t come bigger than Uncle Ted, these are the words of Lanre Adisa, CEO/Chief Creativity Officer, Noah’s Ark. “He was genuinely passionate and committed to the craft to the end. I remember him in the early days of LAIF Awards. He offered to serve on the jury for as long as we allowed him. He was able to relate with the younger generation with ease. We will definitely miss him”, Adisa concluded.