Casers: 30 Years of Influence, the Stakes and the Creative Challenge
Casers group, otherwise known as Complete Advertising Services, one of the foremost Nigerian Advertising holding companies with operations beyond the shores of the country came of age recently as it celebrates its three decades of operation with landmark achievements and influence across its spheres of operation.
And the three decades of “influence” is considered a big deal by the team’s management led by its Executive Chairman and founder, Enyi Odigbo who disclosed in a media interactive session in Lagos that the anniversary is a significant one when one considers the mortality rate of agencies and businesses in general in this clime.
It was a journey by Enyi from the secured and “known” client’s side – having worked in Beecham and Nigerian Breweries and later as Insight Communications to start Casers in the “uncertainties”. It took great courage explained Ikechi Odigbo, Vice Chairman, Casers in his presentation on the journey so far.
Over time, the courage has evidently paid off. The agency took off on the note of a creative business solution partner to clients, deploying the flat co-creative culture which was innovative then as the enemy of the ordinary. It altered the known work process translating to enduring client relationships.
‘’Through the years, the quest to always do things better has enabled the premium positioning of Casers Group as a thought leader, change agent and builder of enduring client relationships” said the Vice Chairman, adding that the group’s success is tied to commitment, dedication, and collective genius brought to the fore by a co-creative relationship with clients starting with its first set of clients.
These include First Aluminium, African Continental Bank, Mililo Rough Rider Condoms, Carnco and Globe Motors to a current array of enviable client partners that include MTN, Google, Visa, SC Johnson, Axa Mansard, Interswitch, Unilever and Sterling Bank among others.
While an anniversary dinner is on the table as part of activities to celebrate the landmark, the management considers giving back to the system or industry in a bid to make it better, a higher priority. Hence, the group is taking a bold step with its new Creative Youth Challenge (CYC). It aims at identifying and nurturing young creative talents that will shape the future of the country’s creative industry.
The CYC, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative was preceded by a creative online contest which ran in November, 2017 inviting participants to creatively express Influence as the subject theme using Audio, Visual Arts, Creative Writing and Others Art Forms. The contest has a total cash prize of $12,000.
12 winners, three for each category, selected carefully by the contest’s judges- Babatunde Sule, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Michael Epacka and Osa Okunkpolor, will be unveiled and presented with cash prizes at the group’s 30th anniversary dinner and grand exhibition on December 13th, 2017 in Lagos.
Pushing forward its sphere of influence, the 30 youth finalists selected from the Influence Contest will participate in a Creative Boot camp to hold early next year during which there would be a selection process for recipients of the scholarship awards under the Creative Youth Challenge Scheme.
Mr. Enyi Odigbo is optimistic about the efficacy of the group’s youth-driven creative platforms which will help nurture talent and address the dearth of creative minds in Nigeria’s creative industry.
With these empowering initiatives, we’re setting a new agenda for the next 30 years as a group and by extension, Nigeria’s creative industry’’, the Chairman said.
Giving a hint on the staying power of the famed most awarded agency in the country, Ikechi revealed that perseverance, commitment and high premium on telling compelling brand stories as key components of the brand’s philosophy.
Casers which was initially affiliated with the Publicis Groupe switched allegiance at the turn of the millennium, opting for DDB, one of the biggest global advertising networks. The choice became easy according to Ikechi because DDB virtual University, a knowledge proprietary tool, offers better opportunity to build the people and the agency to grow organically. “DDB offered better competitive advantage and the opportunity to develop people”.
In 2015, Casers Group in a bid to expand its “influence” beyond Nigeria, it acquired MAWAL Group, owner of MW Marketing Services. The acquisition expanded the Group’s footprints to Cameroun, Cote D’Voire, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea Conakry, Benin and also Ghana where it has a significant minority stake to emerge a leading force in West and Central Africa
The group’s core advantages according the Vice Chairman include a recruitment philosophy of engaging the services of brand managers whose vista goes beyond client servicing to providing business solutions and thought leadership. “The philosophy is still very much alive”, he said.
In a bid to adequately position for the future and the “next 30 years of adding value to brands and businesses with creative solutions”, the group is focused on harnessing and exploiting aspects of it business that are currently outsourced by exploring commercial opportunities beyond client businesses (campaigns) through new strategic relationships.
From a one company organisation, the Casers group has grown to include Magenta, a brand management and design company, Capital Media Limited, a media independent company, Activ8, a leading events and activation company, Nexus, an out of home company, DDB a leading Global Agency network and BBDO, another global creative force.
It has not been all Eldorado! Casers like other players in the economy has had its fair share of the challenges which is partly inflicted by the country’s unpredictable business climate, the paucity of creative talents, training and data, and tax administration challenges among others but for the group’s inventiveness and innovation. Despite these challenges, “We’ll continue to tell evoking stories for our clients and improve on what we have created in the past”, Ikechi promised said.