WeTalkSessions – Chuka Obi on how musicians & other creatives can leverage the Advertising industry.

WeTalkSessions – Chuka Obi on how musicians & other creatives can leverage the Advertising industry.

Friday, July 24, 2020

by  WeTalkSound  WeTalkSound

Chuka Obi is the brain behind some of the most impactful advertising campaigns in Nigeria.

Chuka Obi is the Executive Creative Director at Publicis Nigeria. He has over two decades of experience in various creative roles ranging from copy-writing to leading some of the biggest advertising campaigns in Nigeria. He has worked extensively on building brands like Pepsi, Johnnie Walker, MTN, VISA, Interswitch and many more.

Welcome, Chuka. We are super excited & honored to chat with you on a subject that’s so pivotal to the development of creatives. We hope you’re doing very well tonight?

Hi guys. Good to be here. Yes, I’m well thanks. Let’s jump right into it.

What is the importance of music – and how integral is it – in helping brands communicate their messages during advertising campaigns? 

There’s a well-known wisdom in advertising -“Culture eats Strategy for breakfast every time.” Music is a major part of culture, so if you can win with music – if you can use music to make your brand part of culture, you’ve won. That’s why there’s so much product placement in songs.

Furthermore, music is the most powerful way to communicate and sell emotions – making it a killer tool for the one industry that solely devotes itself to marketing – selling – communications to sell whatever message they want their target audience to buy into – be it a product or an idea.

Really interesting. Given how important music is, how do brands and agencies determine the right songs that align with the messages they’re communicating? Also, how do they source for/find these songs?

Ideally, it’s a matter of communication objective, collaboration & conviction. Based on what you want to achieve – your objective, decide what mood of music – from lyrics to production – best expresses it. From the agency to the writer to the producer to the client – collaboration. There should be an agreed feel you’re trying to achieve. References help too.

Based on these and on budget, you decide who will produce the music, and if you can even contract an external songwriter. Conviction is that ‘knowing’ when you’ve got the right one – even when others disagree.

For emerging artists, songwriters & producers, how do they reach out to brands and agencies to pitch their music/ideas? For example, if an artist has a song they feel is well aligned with a specific brand, what’s the best way to pitch this to the brand?

They need to do their homework first before recording the song – it’s always easier than to re-engineer backwards. They should first find the agency that handles the brand, find an inroad into that agency and ensure the song embodies the values the brand wants to be known for.

When negotiations are being done on using an artist’s music in a brand campaign, what are some tips for artists during negotiation? Many emerging artists aren’t exactly sure how to properly price their music & services in these situations. How would you advise them?

I can’t specify because brands differ. Some pay as low as 50 thousand Naira for music while some pay as much as 20 million Naira if it’s a big artist. My advice would be to play it by heart and by research – and make a side hustle of it. Know which clients are famed for paying well and regularly create for them by establishing a lasting relationship with the agency in charge.

I know people who have made a living as well as a killing off making music for ads. One of them drives a G-Wagon from making this his main hustle. It’s especially rewarding for those would rather keep low profiles

On another hand, while pitching works and ideas to brands and agencies, creatives run the risk of having their works used, or ideas replicated without their permission or compensation. Is there a way creatives can protect themselves in this situation?

That is a risk every creative who put themselves out there must fess up to. There are 2 ways to play this:

1. Always mail your music clearly stating copyright ownership of the music & any likeness of it. This may not work—as they can always say they already had something similar.

2. Be prolific. Send out music to various possible inroads knowing full well it can be plagiarized – but counting on the integrity of the ones that want to do good work consistently. When they reach out it’ll be worth it.

If those who jacked your music later reach out, bill them three times over.

Really insightful. What do brands look out for in choosing ambassadors/influencers? How much does social media following matter? Also, how can emerging artists prepare themselves for these roles given they can be a major revenue source?

Unfortunately in Nigeria, not many brands have any solid criteria for choosing brand ambassadors. “He’s popular” seems to be all many of them care about – hence so many disastrous misfits.

Ideally, a brand should humanize itself – then choose the person who mirrors that personality. Social media following – not followers – should be a major factor. You can buy followers but you can’t buy organic engagements.

The engagements the celeb’s following elicits is another pointer – it should be the target audience that the brand wants to reach that this celeb is engaging. My suggestion to young artists coming up is to invest in brands. Don’t go for the big brands.

Find promising brands and become their face. Bring to the table what the big celebs are too big to bring – an unending flurry of ideas and fun engagement. A mutual growth of both brands.

Could you please share some quick tips, based on your wealth of experience, on how emerging artists can tie effective music promo campaigns together, on lean budgets?

1. Do your research: Find an insight, problem or factor that resonates with your key target audience & build a campaign around it. That makes them more naturally inclined to carry the matter on their heads.

2. Ideas beget ideas: Find out how emerging artists in other markets did itand adapt.

Do you think brands should lean towards riding on existing societal narratives, or crafting new narratives with their adverts? 

It all depends on what the brand chooses to stand for. Existing societal narratives are easily relatable. New narratives are more imaginative and open up doors to new worlds.

There’s also a way to create a hybrid of both. Let your desired destination determine your route.

On a near-final note, what paths and opportunities are available for creatives who want to forge a career in the Ads industry? How should they prepare themselves for agency jobs? 

A massive number of Ad people are musicians – up to Creative Director level. Advertising is the one place where your creative & tech skills count all at once. You can be so many things all at once – all your added talents make you even more valuable & push your career up.

You can be a creative strategist, audio producer, video producer, editor, animator, graphic art/art director, voice over artist, writer, content creator, UX/UI person, design specialist, in-house illustrator and more. The list is in-exhaustive.

A big chunk of ad agency guys make or made music. I can make available a world of materials you can delve into and use to choose which part of the ad world you want to rule.

You’ll need an empty Google Drive though, because, it’s a lot – but I guarantee you none of it is boring.

Find the link to the creativity folder supplied by Chuka below. You can also connect with him on Twitter: @ChukaObi.

About The Author


WeTalkSound curates community conversations and content. The embodiment of the wisdom of the crowd, it is powered by the creative energy of its members.

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