Steve Babaeko, AAAN President Reacts to Nigeria@60 Logo Brouhaha
With the unveiling of the country’s independent anniversary logo last week, the Federal government led by President Mohammadu Buhari is leaving no one in doubt on the importance of the forth-coming 60th anniversary of the nation, as a landmark event deserving of worthy celebrations.
The anticipated celebrations, public ownership of the brand, and engagement by citizens, all contributed to most of the skepticism and may be, rightly so as their ‘beloved’ nation is set to mark an unprecedented landmark anniversary. In view of the expected citizens’ ownership of the project, there has been a barrage of comments with most tilting towards the negative since the event logo and plan were officially unveiled.
However, in place of the anticipated positive response and general acceptance, there have been a bedlam, an enormous discerning opinions and voices. This however, is not totally foreign to a creative exercise. Creative is subjective.
The loudest antagonistic voices, most of whom are outside mainstream creative (advertising) industry, took to their various social media handles alleging that the unveiled logo is a plagiarized work!
Shocking and disingenuous as this may be, parties to the creation of the work outrightly opposed what they described as baseless and unfounded allegations describing such as a calculated attempt by fifth columnists to rubbish the good works by the government and the consortium of agencies responsible for the work.
According to the spokesman for the Consortium and CEO Chain Reactions, Jaiye Opayemi, the the allegation on plagiarism is “unfortunate and unfounded”.
The alleged plagiarized logo which is their basic concern, “is registered and we have a valid patent for it. You can’t be committed to a work like this on behalf of a nation without ensuring that the reputation of the country is secured by doing the best in deploying global best practice every step of the way. That is exactly what we have done.
“We have patent certificate for all our creative materials” said Opayemi who is incidentally also the Chairman of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN).
Reacting to BrandCrunch inquiries about the huge noise that greeted the launch of the materials, President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) Steve Babaeko, sees beyond the issue of plagiarism being peddled.
“First and foremost, I am not going to join in the whole noise making that is going on whether it was plagiarized or not”. Be that as it may, as a notable creative industry leader, Babaeko who is also the Chief Creativity Officer/CEO of X3M Ideas, noted with all emphasis, “Plagiarism itself is definitely not a good thing”.
Rather than join the bandwagon, the AAAN President prefers to Marshall his thoughts about the Nigeria@60 works, the motives behind it and probably some of the missteps by the sponsors just for the purpose of a next time.
First the decision to celebrate the landmark anniversary, “I think it’s a good thought, a welcome initiative by the government that a giant country in Africa like Nigeria (giant of Africa) is celebrating 60th anniversary.
It is worthy to have a logo that will commemorate that occasion and give a flip to the image of the country and the people, Babaeko submits and his reasons are not far-fetched.
“This is how self worth evolves. To start, this country deserves something really good, its landmark year of self rule and we need to mark it and draw a line in the sand, that is a good thought by the honorable minister and he should be commended.
Secondly, focusing on what he describes as the process through which they went about getting the logo out, is what he fundamentally has a problem with. He explained this on two levels.
“One, if you really want to do something this huge, I think, it only makes sense to approach the appropriate quarters, I means the association which serves as a rallying point for the industry. In this case, the AAAN should be the go-to body to put the proper structures in place. The logic is simple, if you want to get a haircut, go to a barber, if you want to do surgery, go to a surgeon, if you want to win a case in the supreme court, go to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria .
“I don’t think the ministry in charge of this project thought it through that let’s call an association like AAAN. If You want to deliver a baby and you want to safe your neck, go to a midwife, that is what they do.”
Speaking further on how working with the association can deliver on hitch free creative process, Babaeko emphasis, “We have credible agencies within the association that with their eyes closed; they will come out with something fantastic that would probably be greeted with applauds and not the kind of noise this one is greeted with”.
In fairness to the guys who created the logo, Babaeko thought “the time frame for the job was too short”
“What you don’t know is, no great creativity will come out within a short time. The timing was too stringent. They announced today that they want to do a logo and a week later the logo is out”. What do we expect? He queries.
According to him, such exercise should be thoroughly planned and very well thought through. “It requires a lot of proper planning, advance planning for us to get a meaningful and very creative designs for the country to be proud of.
“So many times we see agencies do campaigns for a company and you see the entire country celebrating that campaign. That is because people are not stupid, they know something that is great when they see one. Even if some agencies co-created those materials as being touted, if they hadn’t been given enough time to do a thorough job, the fault might not be totally theirs.”
According to the AAAN President, it is about planning; you have to pre-plan some of these things.”We didn’t just wake up one day and realized we are going to be 60. Five years ago we knew we are going to be 60 this year. If we know we want to get this thing done, and done well, we needed to contact the right agencies and start preparing so that the output can be topnotch.
Driving home his standpoint on the essence of preparation and giving enough time for a proper job, while also proffering a way out of the “national malaise”, the AAAN President discloses, “Honestly, as I speak to you now, the AAAN is going to be 50 in about three years time, we put up a committee now to start work on the logo, we don’t want to get to three days before we are 50 and we start running from pillar to post. Such a situation can never produce stunning creative expected of a serious corporate entity either a nation or company, he declared.
The country’s usual fire brigade approach according to the creative huncho, “is part of the whole national tragedy where we don’t really plan long time in this country and we have to start learning to do things the right way”, Babaeko concluded with a tone of warning.