In the highly competitive and highly creative world of TV commercials, one ad suddenly emerges that eclipses all and becomes the gold standard in the industry. You cannot define it, but when you see a great ad, you know it. You know it by the wow factor it creates inside you, giving you a sense of pride and applause.
Take the case of the early days of the Nigerian Telecoms Revolution when this rare, newsworthy TV commercial came on air showing our Nobel Literature laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka advertising a Nigerian telecoms brand, an underdog and a late starter coming into the market and the laureate embracing it literally and metaphorically, indirectly asking Nigerians to buy it and “glo with pride.”
The story behind Soyinka agreeing to do that ad which became a world-beater shown globally is told in my yet-to-be-released book on “The Guru Mike Adenuga” with the hoary-head old man of letters saying: “He is a young entrepreneur I have come to admire. I like his drive. He sought me out when he was about to begin his Globacom business. I thereafter made enquiries about him. I was actually told by somebody whose judgement I respect that Mike Adenuga is somebody with enormous drive and ideas and he said that I should give him as much help as I could.”
Soyinka continues: “I checked him out and I discovered that he likes challenges, he has the drive to deliver. I have tried to support him by appearing in a couple of his TV commercials. The first commercial which aired on CNN was about an imaginative theme or creative ideas in business. The question to me was: What is it that makes you glo(w)? Adenuga was targeting important people and the idea was that he was trying to use people with high profile to launch a challenge against the monopolists in the GSM business. The monopoly being enjoyed in the business then by some operators who are from outside the country was scandalous. And Globacom being a Nigerian brand owned by a Nigerian who loves challenge, I decided to support him.”
Many years after and the seemingly disappearance of the catchphrase “glo with pride” which became household words in Nigeria, a new ad has emerged which is another game-changer and a world-beater. It features another high profile Nigerian: Anthony Joshua, the Nigerian-born world heavyweight champion with the physique and handsomeness of the legendary Mohammed Ali plus the ring savvy, plus the ruggedness and the hitting power of Mike Tyson. The Anthony Joshua who Mike Tyson rates as the best heavyweight in the world, ahead of Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, saying: “Right now, Anthony Joshua seems to be the best of the whole lot of them. He is the stronger guy, bigger guy, more put together as far as boxing skills are concerned. I think he is the best fighter out of the lot.”
Who can forget the epic night of April 28, 2017 at Wembley Stadium when Anthony Joshua ferociously knocked out the Ukrainian former World Heavyweight Champion, Wladimir Klitschko, to add the WBA and IBO Heavyweight titles to the IBF belt he already had?
In his biography, ANTHONY JOSHUA, KING OF THE RING—From the Streets To Heavyweight Champion, Frank Worrall, the bestselling sports writer captures the full story of the heavyweight champion who is the pride of Britain and his native country Nigeria. Worrall describes the defeat of Klitschko as “one of the finest heavyweight contests of all time, in which a brilliant but relatively inexperienced fighter took on, and eventually defeated, one of the finest boxers of his or any other age. It was a twelve-round fight before a record post-War crowd, and for eleven of those rounds it could have gone either way; indeed in Round 6 it looked as though Joshua was finished when a massive right hand from Klitschko sent him to the canvas. But the fight also harked back to an earlier era of true sportsmen, far outshining the hype and posturing of lesser fighters, with Joshua as graceful and generous in victory as Klitschko was in defeat. For once, boxing lived up to its description as ‘the Noble Art’, and is all the richer for it.”
Just like the Soyinka-Glo ad, Nigerians, particularly sports lovers had that aha-moment with the showing last week of the spanking new and what looks like an award-winning Anthony Joshua-Glo commercial. In the new ad, the celebrated boxer, who often enters the ring proudly holding a Nigerian flag, shares the secrets of his winning mentality which he attributes to the “Nigerian fighting spirit.” He says in the one-minute commercial:
“Inner strength? Yeah that comes from the heart…And we Nigerians, we know all about that. We don’t stay down. We get up and fight. It’s sure about speed, technique, quality of the punches, reach. But the real fight? It’s myself. But I can’t carry this heavyweight title by myself. It’s always got to be someone in my corner. And that’s why I believe in Glo. We have that same tenacity, that Nigerian fighting spirit that makes us game changers. You have to dig deep to be a world champion. Yeah, we Nigerians, yeah we know all about that. Glo, I hail oooo!!!”
Like the Soyinka-Glo commercial, you could see the invisible hands of Mike Adenuga and his passion for perfection in the making of this world-class ad. From the conceptualization stage to the actualization, you could see him driving it at every stage. Like Anthony Joshua, Globacom, an underdog, and a late-starter entered the ring many years ago to fight and defeat his own Klitschkos who had a grip on the Nigerian telecoms market, using his ingenious per-second billing strategy which proved a masterstroke and a game-changer.
You could see the correlation, the synergy between AJ and Glo. Both are Nigerian and global brands, self-made and born to win. Both are agile, strong, youthful, energetic, tenacious, never-say-die mentality, hardworking, focused, persevering, enduring and have the courage to pick one’s self up when down on the canvas. We remember when AJ got up from the canvas after Klitschko knocked him down. And we remember when Glo had its licence cancelled at the beginning but it rallied round and came back stronger to be a winner eventually.
Both are genial, people-friendly and patriotic. Both have this spirit of giving back and rewarding those who helped them to become who they are today. In a BBC documentary on YouTube, you will find a grateful Anthony Joshua driving to the Finchley boxing gym where he learnt the fistic trade that saved him from drugs, gangs and prison. And there, he surprised his amateur boxing coach Sean Murphy with a brand-new 58,000 pounds BMW 6 series. Astonished by Joshua’s generosity, the coach went on memory lane: “I met Anthony Joshua a long time ago (in 2008). Him winning the world heavyweight championship is enough for me.” Like AJ, Glo has given out cars to its customers most of whom are left dazed.
The tale of AJ and Glo is the fairy tale of two brands that fits each other like a glove. Like a boxing glove! In the words of Pastor Tope Kayode-Ojo of Foursquare Church, Abuja, The Anthony Joshua-Glo commercial “is so inspiring and goes even beyond the glo brand to reinvent the never-say-die Nigerian spirit. It is good enough to sell the country positively to the entire world. Mike Adenuga and Anthony Joshua are great ambassadors of our nation, especially in these trying times.”